Forty-five years ago in Cape Town, my work colleague Eddie suffered a stroke and I visited him at home. I was deeply moved by the love and tenderness I sensed between him and his wife (whose name I forget). In this painting I have tried to capture the start of the difficult new journey the couple were embarking on together, fueled by love.
Unbeknown to me, at about the same time, my estranged biological father Harry suffered a devastating stroke in England. He had been unable to control my stepmother's rampant adultery. His blood pressure peaked, triggering a stroke that coincided with her becoming pregnant from an affair. He spent the rest of his life partially paralysed, unable to speak coherently and had to give up his work as a university lecturer. He was moved into a downstairs room and her lover was present in his house during his illness.
This painting is the opposite of my perception of my father's experience. It shows the love between a couple as they jointly face the tragedy of a stroke. It’s a tribute to those who battle the ravages of illness together. In a different painting, I attempted to depict the existential catastrophe and emotional trauma that I believe Harry endured.
Oil on canvas 36 X 48 inches.