The Sorry business of Harold (Wheelchair) Ross


1993,  110 x 277 cms   NFS


During April, May and June 1993, unseasonal rain, vehicle unavailability and the death of Harold and Eileen's daughter kept the families in town. Until the funeral is done it is imprudent to move around. This painting tries to recreate the morning when I went to pick up Aranye with the intention of taping some of his stories. But the lugubrious business of escorting Harold and his swag took precedence.


People come and go, touch hands and express condolences. The haircutting and body lacerations (deeper and more extensive for close relatives) occur a little later.


The adults were congregating within Aranye's wind-break. The kids along the wall from them were eating icecreams brought from the Mr Nippy van that visited each week. Its theme jingle, the Greensleeves lament, which seemed so ludicrously miscast in the suburban streets, now complemented the wailing and sobbing.


I placed Aranye midpoint before the opening in the windbreak and Harold's head against the darkness of the shed. I set the kids up with icecreams and Eileen and Gregory touching hands, a crucial flavour in such proceedings. I was after a subdued sadness, a kind of hard but consoling feel.