Ken has currently has an exhibition at the Francis Iles Gallery in Rochester, Kent - paintings that draw from his memories of childhood in north Kent.


Of the theme of the exhibition he say:

"I was born in 1937 and knew little of the war, until 1940 when I started to notice that my mother and aunts were worried about things that were happening, and that I wasn’t allowed to play outside very much.  This change in 1945, everyone was happy.  Dad came home, and my uncles, and there was no need to be afraid any more.  No planes, save our own (how we loved them!).  No buzz bombs and my mother opened the back door and shoo-ed my brother and myself out to play.  We had rotten old bikes that we thought were great and started to explore on them.  From about 1947 I felt truly safe.  I knew my neighbourhood, I knew the kids in the street and we could travel up to 25 miles with a jam sandwich and a bottle of pop.

Now I’m at the other end of my life, but the images of those days still run through my mind.  If you add up what we had, children today might think that we were under-privileged, but we weren’t.  We had time to think, time to get bored and time to exert ourselves with mindless exercise.  I was able to bury myself in nature, to raise small birds and animals, and to start painting wildlife, which eventually became my later career.

These images still remain, but they also seem to be of interest to this generation.  Indeed, my eldest grandson, not known for sitting still for long, once sat for two hours after asking me about my childhood, not stirring.  My generation is probably the last to remember this period and, whilst I’m not claiming historian status, I do feel it would be a pity to let these images fade.  So, I’ve placed a dozen experimental pieces with Francis Iles to see if there’s any interest in these pictorial memories.  I hope there is.

I’m also asking if anybody has any photos of kids with adults or on their own, between 1935 to 1947, that I could copy to enable me to remember styles of dress and haircuts.  I have a small collection of scruffy kids playing in my own photos but I need more.  Also, if anyone has any photos of Twydall Lane School in Gillingham I would be delighted to have copies if you could forward them to the gallery I would be very grateful."

 

Ken is also painting new works and can be contacted for commissions.