‘Legacy Outlives Tragedy’
Mixed Media on Canvas
(Acrylic, Newsprint, gold leaf)
102cm x 77cm
Framed in natural Tasmanian Oak
This piece was made for the Pat Cronin Foundation Exhibition in 2021.
Billie Holiday’s life was a tragedy. She faced senseless racism and violence, drug addiction, legal trouble, and poverty. If you ask people today, they simply remember her for the music. Ms Holiday is known for her enormous influence on Jazz and for having one of the most soulful voices of all time. Unfortunately, all of her Grammy’s and entrance into the Grammy Hall of Fame happened posthumously.
Some people live lives that are cut short, they are unable to bear witness to how their life, actions and memory positively influence others; some of the greatest artists and musicians died broke and alone. It’s our obligation to recognize these special people, to carry forward their enduring legacies, just as the Cronin Foundation honours Pat’s life and memory by making the world a safer place.
This portrait is painted in a modern style, using colours that ‘sing’ in the background. The Gardenias in her hair, which Holiday popularised, are made from a 1900s edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. The petals are cut from Columbia Records and Piano ads, to invoke a sense of nostalgia, music and hope. I wanted to draw parallels between Pat’s and Holiday’s untimely exits yet show how their lives had enormous importance and how they both have an enduring effect on the world.