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Sunday 24 September 2023

"The background's too strong, it needs to be whiter"

Benjamin Zephaniah has very kindly given me permission to use some of his poetry in this next piece of work. I have been reading his autobiography and poems and making notes of wonderful words I could use. In the end I thought his portrait which is one of the Windrush series, should feature his poem about Windrush, "The Men from Jamaica Are Settling Down".

I felt it was important that these words were readable, and not knocked back to become part of the piece so was wondering how I could do this. My background which is a collection of sketches/painting I'd made of Brum were too strong and the words wouldn't show, so wondered what I could do about that. I decided on a layer of gesso with the words then written on top.  I said to G, "the background's too strong, it needs to be whiter" and the title was born. My innards fizzed; it felt right. Thank you Benjamin!

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