Linda Graham – Resilience

Linda Graham “Graceful Giving”, 2014, cm 30 x 30
Linda Graham “Graceful Giving”, 2014, cm 30 x 30

At The Origin Gallery, 14th December 2014 – 31st January 2015

Linda’s very energetic paintings of the Kerry coastline are symbolic of her own special life story. Born in 1955 of Irish parents in Lancashire, who returned to Dublin when she was very young, Linda had a ‘troubled’ childhood. After 4 year of age she rarely spoke again till she was 12 years of age. Today she would be described as an elective mute.

She ran away from home and school at 14 years of age and went to Holland where she lied about her age and worked illegally. Her Dad had painted pictures, and during her solitary and withdrawn childhood she had simply drawn pictures as an alternative to speaking. Whilst she was working in the kitchens of Countess Van Heel she continued to draw and paint and slipped away on her half days to the various art museums in The Hague. Her employer’s brother happened to see her artwork and took her to the free Academy of Art in The Hague. She was immediately offered a scholarship, continuing to lie about her age, living sometimes on the streets and working night jobs to eat!

It finally all got me I decided to come home and try and reconcile with the mother I hadn’t seen for four years“. The homecoming was not easy… Her mother simply wouldn’t forgive her for running away so she got a bed sit and went to night school to continue her art studies; working at  printing to fund her needs.

She met and married David in the early eighties and returned for a trip to Kerry – she’d remembered her happiest times on the Dingle Peninsula with distant Fitzgerald relations. She stayed, and there she brought up her son Robert and found peace but developed MS. Still solitary in nature, working out of her studio near Listowel, “going to the sea when the weather cuts up rough, but missing the mountains I used to climb“.

Linda is one of the 3,500 artists who have now been accommodated free of charge at the Cill Rialaig Artist’s Retreat in Kerry, founded by Noelle Campbell Sharp.

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