The Oval is the stadium of one of Belfast’s football teams, Glentoran and is situated near where i grew up in East Belfast. My Dada and Grandpa both supported the team, I went to a few games my self. One thing I always remembered was a large sign over the east side of the stadium that simply stated ‘Jesus’. It was jokingly suggested that Jesus was always watching and supporting the team. The sign although very recently moved was a reminder of the deep rooted relationship between the church and the people of East Belfast. The fire and brimstone teachings of Rev Ian Paisley and his cohorts where infamous for their support for Unionism and their hatred of Nationalism and Republicanism, these sympathies were stronger within those who visited the Oval stadium in the working class area the stadium resided in.
I thought the sign perfectly encapsulated Belfast, east in particular because of these sentiments, it was decision made in order to move towards creating something more personal, actually more to do with my dad, grandpa and great grandpa, three generations who visited the stadium to support Glentoran, my dad started to break the tradition going less and less as the quality of the league in general dissipated.
I started this painting as I felt I hadn’t done anything ‘big’ in a while. The painting is actually pretty different than the one I set out to make but Im unusually pleased with it. Whilst I’m still not 100% convinced of the style I think I can take away some aspects I think the decision to blend the clothes with the bending background was a successful one, the background was directly based on the floor of the s-21 prison. The figure was from one of the few photos I found that had the subject taken from two different angles, I took the decision to step away from the more somber images I had been making and try out something that was somewhat removed from the event.