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Reclaiming Childhood

This is a show of fantastic paintings by Claire Phillips of children saved from the brutality of forced labour in India. For several years Claire has worked with the charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) and she was able to interview, sketch and photograph some of the children rescued from factories, mines and domestic service, where they had suffered cruelty, violence and sexual abuse. It’s a disturbing subject, and commendable that an artist should dedicate a whole exhibition to it.The paintings are superb: most are large scale; some are studies of sadness and suspicion; others reveal the joy and resilience of childhood.

Claire is an extremely accomplished artist with the kind of painterly style I relish, and the highly-coloured figures of her subjects stand out powerfully against simple backgrounds. The portrait of Jubil, the brave BBA activist, is painted with a much greater variety of strokes and textures than the rest of the pieces, creating an animated image of a heroic figure.

Exhibition at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery 2015

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