‘Grace (Bendith): The Suffering of Women in a Time of War’ (2003)
Oil and acrylic 112x91cm
Annie Bielecka Jones’ painting ‘Grace (Bendith)’ is currently on display in the WCIA exhibition ‘Women, War and Peace’ at the Senedd (Welsh National Assembly) in Cardiff from the 8th of August until the end of September (more details).
The following explanatory note was written by the artist when giving permission for the use of this image to San Antonio University, Texas. “Women and War” Literature Brochure 2004. Image as poster deign for ‘War Music’ adaptation of Homer’s ‘Ilyad’ by Christopher Logue [London 2005].
“My painting ‘The Suffering of Women at a time of war’ ‘was started in Warsaw, Poland, on the day of the big anti-war rally in London in February 2003. 1 was unable to be there but my daughter went. It is my personal response to the situation of helplessness faced by women at such a time.
The painting has been in exhibitions and responses have described it as powerful and intense – some people find it too disturbing to look at for long.
It is based on my own life, my mother’s experiences and my grandmothers. I have tried to represent women of all races, creeds, and ages. Daughters waiting for their fathers return, wives and lovers waiting for their men, mothers for their sons. It is also a self-portrait. My father was killed in WW2. I am Welsh, my father was in the British Royal Navy. My husband’s mother was in Auschwitz and his father was imprisoned in Siberia by the Russians. They both survived, he then became a pilot with the Polish RAF in Britain. We have, as a family, been deeply affected by wars.”