Gazing out of the window at the Derry skyline from the Old Schoolhouse, I glanced down and was surprised to see an apple tree.

This is fortuitous as apples play a part in the work I am making – ‘The Past Runs Very Close’. One of the starting points was a photograph of my mother peering through the branches of an apple tree – full of glee, all of 16 years.

My grandfather planted the tree in the early 1940s. The government of the time had initiated a ‘dig for victory’ campaign encouraging people to grow their own food as part of the war effort. Taking this to heart, my grandfather decided to plant an orchard in what was a small, London, suburban garden. Several years later my grandmother had the trees dug up, except for one cooking apple tree. It remained throughout my childhood and adulthood – a source of pies, crumbles, baked, stewed and eaten raw with a sprinkling of sugar. It is still there, now a lifeless tree trunk, from which my mother hangs her washing line.









In the Old Schoolhouse, I intend to present the photograph of my mother opposite a photograph of myself, leaning against a tree, taken a few years ago. This was planted in my garden in Sligo – a sapling when I moved in, a fully-fledged tree by the time I left. The garden I created in Sligo, on a vast, neglected wasteland, began on a whim and turned into a 20 year project!

The photographs I have mentioned will form a visual point of reference across the years.

I will also use apples to allude to Isaac Newton, 17thCentury, mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist. It is believed that a young Newton was sitting under a tree when he was struck by a falling apple leading to his formulation of the laws of motion and universal gravitation.

The apples in the schoolhouse lie on a sheet of newspaper on the floor, awaiting artistic intervention…