New English Annual Exhibition 2019 Catalogue No. 133
Size: 74 x 119 cm
A Statement on ‘Pushing’ by Paul Gildea NEAC:
This painting shows a boy shitting on his sister’s hair.
What I'm depicting is the struggle between siblings (literally shitting on each other), a constant competition where one will push the other’s button and the other will retaliate, something I was constantly subject to whilst my “depressed anorexic” mother watched on from afar (her words). This links in with the inherent ties to the Caganer (a figurine depicted in the act of defecation, a surprisingly common European nativity symbol) at Christmas, a time where family comes together and are reminded of old and new abuse. However the symbolism behind the Caganer is so much more than a vulgar boy, it is also a reminder of the replenishing properties of manure and how necessary it is for health and growth of the natural world. This is all the more relevant for me as I grew up with four siblings and have four children myself and the constant abuse and torture in the house is what creates character - it is what allows them to develop and grow into such a wide variety of beautiful things.
Nowadays, the stigma of poo has tied down the funding and research of colon cancer and talking openly about shit is the only way we can remove the stigma and help raise awareness for diseases that we are currently too coy to discuss; whilst other cancers are more agreeable for charity, this very common problem has less support.
Both subjects in this painting are happy for it to be displayed publicly, and are happy with the process and outcome.
by Paul Gildea (the artist), co-authored with Milo and Jamie Gildea (the sitters)