Vol 1, No 1 (2004)

Cover Page
Ashley Halpé, Pasan
oil and fragments of straw on canvas
board; 60 cm x 50 cm

Statement from the Artist:
"The painting is a threnody for Lanka as is my long poem of the same name. 'Pasan' means Passiontide lamentations; these are still sung by the Catholic people of the West Coast. My lamentations are for the horrors enacted in this country during the last half-century. I first became conscious of underprivilege when working with slum children as an undergraduate in the early 'fifties- the white figure at centre right is a slum child in a typical environment. The country and its writers and artists were deeply shaken by the youth insurrection of 1971 and the ruthless backlash: the skull in the centre memorializes this. The flames at the top and reflected elsewhere are in memory of the carnage of 1983. The almost faceless figure with a sub-machine gun is both terrorist and vigilante."