Artist’s statement about The Child Who Heard Too Much

In February ‘23 we learnt that our application for Creative Scotland’s Open Fund, to research and develop an artist’s book, had been successful. Our proposal was to research and develop a visual artwork in book format, based on a story called The Child Who Heard Too Much.

The story itself was written during the pandemic and is loosely based on Matilda’s childhood, growing up in a large city with two profoundly deaf younger siblings. We wanted to explore the ideas and imagery relating to a child growing up in the sixties, in an era where there was much less awareness of deafness, pollution and environmental harm, rare genetic disorders, autoimmune diseases and of neuro-diversity.

Having been in the Scottish Shielding group throughout the Covid19 pandemic due to Matilda’s compromised immune system, we saw the Fife Contemporary opportunity to become part of a Scottish Covid Recovery Group, culminating in an online exhibition, as a way of easing ourselves back into the visual arts community. We are exhibiting our artist’s book, The Child Who Heard Too Much, as a work-in-progress.

The pen name of the book’s author is a tribute to Matilda’s late grandmother, Renee Davis, who trained as an artist in the 1920s, but died age 38 of sepsis at start of the second World War, having pricked herself with a tapestry needle a few years prior to the release of Penicillin.