Pictured here is my latest submission to the ever more competitive annual BP Portrait Contest in London England. The subject of my focus this season is the talented Ana Cvorovic who I was fortunate enough to meet when she came this summer to the residency program I manage in upstate New York. Ana immigrated to London England at the tender age of eight- she could not speak the language of her newly adopted country and left all she knew of her early life behind in the former Yugoslavia. Ana's story is a compelling one, and her heroism shines through. After years of intensive psychoanalysis Ana has now settled into a life as artist and teacher. She is a brilliant and excelling member of a society she did not choose to move to and she actively works to separate the horrors and displacement of war in her past and move her life forward.
I had fun painting this and experimented quite a bit. There is a large Bosnian refugee population in Utica New York where Ana and I met and these immigrants are known locally as master craftsmen and especially excelling in stucco finishes and masonry - Ana noticed the many houses in the area that were stuccoed reminding her of her home. In this painting and to reference this connection, I used some a new under-paint product from my friends at Golden Paints in New Berlin NY - this paint was used as a substrate to the final painting and transformed the canvas from a soft fabric weave to the appearance of actual stucco. On the “stucco” I wanted to represent the struggle of war and displacement represented in graffiti “when injustice becomes law, resistance is our duty.” This wall is further masked and separated by frivolous polka dot pattern referencing the silly safety googles Ana wore for this pose and further, the separation she had to create.
Even though she has been displaced and was forced to grow up away from her childhood roots. A wall of separation from this past, now exists.
See the full portrait HERE.