This body of work is my personal response to the incomprehensible and tragic humanitarian crisis taking place in the Middle East.
My paintings investigate the cultural and human element of war and displacement. In using the unique designs and patterns found in the art and architecture of the region,I examine the destruction of a culture and civilization due to civil war, extremism and global politics. The inspiration for this series is based on my travels in the Middle East as well as my work helping a Syrian family relocate to Victoria.
The wood surfaces of my paintings withstand destructive practices such as hacking, sanding, chemicals and burning. Each of my paintings goes through a process whereby I carefully and reverently paint an image, which once completed, is then destroyed or damaged in some way.
These paintings are a meditation on human resilience in the face of horrific violence and resulting destitution. The image of a small girl appears in a number of my paintings. She stands bare footed, faceless, upright, a survivor. These paintings are an expression of deep sadness at the loss of the sacred, the ancient and the human. As homes, holy mosques and sacred shrines burn, so does the very fabric of the world’s oldest civilization.
Nicola Rendell grew up in a small village in the southwest of England, an area where ancient history remains part of the lived landscape. Her early education at a catholic convent school, where she was immersed in tradition and ritual along with her passion for art, travel, museums and archeology have all informed her ongoing interest in how memory and myth relate to culture.
After meeting her future husband while solo backpacking through the Middle East, Nicola settled in Victoria, Canada and raised two boys. Throughout her career as a nurse and mother she never lost her love of art and history, completing her Diploma of Fine Arts at the Vancouver Island School of Art in 2016. These studies cultivated her interest in the diversity of expression through design, in particular the way designs and patterns are eroded by time or violence, then reborn or transformed as they move over centuries and continents.