'Odysseus and Nausicaa' #2. acrylic on white linen apron, 120 x 130 cm
Odysseus and Nausicaa #2 (2011) acrylic on white linen apron, 120 x 130 cm


Work continued on the Odyssey in the form of several works on fabric artefacts including 2 linen aprons both painted with versions of the Nausicaa episode. My sub-title for this chapter is ‘Odysseus saved by laundry’. The hero of the story is at his lowest point just prior to his redemption and reinstatement. He is naked and hungry, his ships are wrecked and his men lost. Athena appears to Nausicaa in a dream telling her to go to the shore to do her laundry, knowing that she will find the shipwrecked Odysseus there. One of my versions, on an unbleached linen kitchen apron, shows Odysseus and Nausicaa on opposite sides of a tree on which clothes are drying. On the other, a white linen hospital apron, Odysseus is plunging down from the bib into the laundry procession with handmaidens and mule cart. These works are informed by many sources from Mughal ‘composite’ paintings to English ‘painted cloths’, but the compositions are all based on the principles of Greek pottery design, where diverse shapes are deftly filled with the figurative elements.

Earlier Nausicaa work on unbleached linen:

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