Childhood memories inspire Emily’s art

editorial image

A Ballymena art student has used childhood memories of growing up in Northern Ireland’s divided society to create a series of paintings.

Emily Hill (23), who is in her final year at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, will unveil her work as part of the art school’s annual degree show and has spoken about the inspiration behind the pieces she has produced.

The former Cambridge House Grammar School pupil, who has won a number of prizes for her paintings, said: “My inspiration for this work has developed from my personal memories of my up-bringing back home in Northern Ireland.

“Growing up I have strong memories of happy moments on the run up to and during the summer holidays as a child. At my granny’s house, this is where family and cousins would come to meet up and as children on a farm there is plenty to explore and discover.

“Around the summer holidays, this is when the ‘marching season’ would begin in July with the Orange Order parades - and with this an increase of signs and symbols would be more evident, various flags, colours and motifs from both cultures would start to show, imposing this feeling of ownership on an area. However as a child, I noticed these things but maybe didn’t fully understand what they meant as my interests lay elsewhere, like when could I play outside again or when could I play with my toys creating my own wee worlds through this window of imagination.”

Emily uses oil paints in her work, employing layering marks and bold colours to resemble the forms she is painting.

“Colour is used to exaggerate the heightened view a child may have on their surroundings, what a child’s innocent eye may notice first before the reality that surrounds them,” she said.

“My aims for these pieces were to bring back to life the reality I had of growing up in a country which was divided - I am attempting through my practice to examine the cultural identity of the place I call home.”

Emily is pleased with the way that her final show at Gray’s has come together and has fond memories of her time at art school in Aberdeen.

“I plan to keep painting as much as I can after graduation and to keep developing my practice.

“I hope to travel for a month but my long term aim is to complete a Masters course in painting at some point.”

Emily’s work will be on display as part of the Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, sponsored by BP for the twelfth year, which runs from June 20 to 27.