The ideas had been gestating over a number of years and came about through the Australian journalist John Pilger’s writings and television documentaries on the subject of the Cambodian holocaust. I felt anger that the world stood by and let that happen – I wanted to express what I felt.
From the start of this series I was faced with problems. The difficulty was that for the first time I was dealing with a ‘real’ subject. It was no longer a matter of the abstraction of music inspiring abstract paintings, as most of my previous series – I was now making a statement about a historical event in one country.
I had planned to do a large series but the conflict between ‘figurative’ and ‘non-figurative’ became so intense in my mind that I decided to leave this series as two paintings. I was eager to get back to some ‘pure painting’ where I didn’t have to consider the overwhelming importance of the subject matter.