In autumn 2017, Sula Rubens began a series of paintings which had been on her mind a while. The working title for this series is Kin. The paintings and drawings are about the current displacement of many people and the sadness of being away from one’s country and former security. The struggle to survive and protect one’s kin is universal.
Children still play wherever they find themselves, in a camp or in their own street.
In 2018 Mandell’s Gallery in Norwich mounted an exhibition of new work by artist Sula Rubens.
Sula Rubens made a series of paintings and drawings entitled “Kin”.
The primary focus of “Kin” is people. Although there is no direct reference in these works to current issues of the displacement and suffering of refugees, some of the people Sula paints are displaced, struggling to survive and protect their kin. Some are also making music, tending animals, sleeping, laughing or playing as people do wherever they happen to be. Children play football whether they are in a refugee camp or in their own street.
In Sula’s paintings and drawings the people are transient figures moving through spaces she creates for them on canvas, maps or book pages. In some pieces, sky, land, sea, maps or buildings show through their painted and drawn forms. They are portrayed outside and always relating to one another by talking, laughing or hand gestures. In each picture, there is one figure, even if it is a goat, who looks directly at the viewer.
The drawing is strong. The paint is laid lightly, just enough to convey their presence. The viewer can see just enough. There is no directly explained or implied back story. We view these people as they are at this moment. Their dignified presence in these paintings and drawings is at once moving and life-affirming.