The Storyteller’s Cabinet

#1 2019 oil on gesso on board 40 x 30 cms

The Storyteller’s Cabinet stems from an encounter in 2016 with the octogenarian writer Jeanne Thwaites at her ancestral home in Sri Lanka. Her partner Faisal is restoring the natural biodiversity of the former teak and coconut plantation. Jeanne’s cabinet of curiosities stood on her verandah – and on approach looking through its glass, the objects were obscured by my shadow and bright reflections of the garden and the ever encroaching jungle beyond. This visual layering suggested complicated histories; tamed nature, pioneering settlers, hostility, conflict and the deeply troubled legacy of Imperialism. In an ongoing correspondence with Jeanne I sent her images of these paintings which she printed and displayed in her home. Jeanne died in December 2019.


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