Acrylic on wood.
The painting's full title is VIII Mediterranean Games Split 1979. It was proudly part of the Mission to Seafarers Art Prize in 2016.
Here's the story behind it:
The Mediterranean Games are much like the Commonwealth Games. In 1979 they were held in the city of Split, a coastal city in the then Yugoslavia, where my family happened to be spending the entire summer. I was a kid then, and prone to the grandeur of international sporting events, fireworks and the prospect of the odd souvenir. I still have a tin mug which has "Split 1979" and the 'S' shaped seal mascot printed on it. I coveted visors and t-shirts, but I especially wanted the striped blue beach towel.
I have been back to Split many times since. In 2015, the Split 1979 beach towel was featured in an exhibition at the city's Ethnographic Museum, about fishing traditions in Dalmatia. I was a few months late for that exhibition, but I got the souvenir catalogue. It is extensively researched, lovingly written (though shoddily translated), and beautifully illustrated with various photographs, many from local archives. I looked at the resigned expressions of women carrying giant boxes of fish on their backs, and pondered the rather prescribed culture of my forebears. Even now, men got to fish and drink and get up to all sorts of things. The women got to stay at home and cook and wash and clean. I started thinking about these women, and getting a little angry. Then I looked again at the Split 1979 towel and reconsidered the meaning of the word "Split". 1979 or not, I thought I'd give one woman a chance to escape.