Text in the image reads: ‘Marchwood Military Port ships equipment & munitions to wars. March he won’t now. Alverhurst the penguin refuses to march to war.’
Alverhurst, so named by some college students when my partner Les was working with them around bullying issues, is an inflatable penguin. Alverhurst became a character representing disaffection, deciding for oneself and refusing to participate in the war machine; being a conscientious objector.
We would seek to understand and investigate Alverhurst’s stance and that of those around him, through a Theatre of the Oppressed-style dialogue in a local park and through zines.
Alverhurst had in mind the song by Phil Oakes: ‘I Ain’t Marching Anymore’. After Alverhurst visited Marchwood military port via bicycle trailer, he became very deflated.… He was later to be encouraged by, and joined by, a whistleblower, a cardboard penguin.
And so the tales continue, inspired by courageous war refusers and conscientious objectors.
At the time of making this painting, I was investigating home-made paint that was more ecological and not plastic like acrylic. Milk curds were separated from whey, and lime and pigment were added to the curds to make the chalky-looking washes. Acrylics also ended up getting used, too.