On Their Own - Ted O'Brien

Inspiration details:

Own Their Own; Britain's Child Migrants.An exhibition telling the heart-breaking true stories of Britain’s child migrants who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries between 1869 and 1970.

V&A collection reference number(s):
NA

Artist Statement

Ted O'Brien

On a visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood I was deeply moved by the heartbreaking story of British Child Migrants told in the 'On Their Own' exhibition. Children were still being sent to Australia in the 60's and 70's. They were my contemporaries. The tragic and painful stories of lost childhood were also captured in a collection of ballads commissioned to accompany the exhibition.
The work I created is my response to the exhibition and, in particular, the haunting chorus of one song amongst the ballad collection.

My aim was to tell the story without words and in the style of a children's book with moving images. The book is made of just four pages with a front and back cover. Each page represents a stage of the child migrant story: separation from family and home; separation from brothers and sisters; transportation to overseas institutions; physical, emotional and sexual abuse by those meant to care for them.

Each page features a central 'window' within which the image changes as a 'slider' is pulled from the right. All of the images were hand cut in lino and hand printed on an Albion press. Each individual page was then constructed to enable the sliding mechanism to operate. Once complete the pages and covers were formed into an album and bound with book posts. The front cover incorporates the name of the exhibition and the inside back cover has the words of the chorus. For these words I used a dip pen and ink and wrote in the style I was taught in school in the 1960's.






On Their Own - Ted O'Brien

No Image

Inspiration details:

Own Their Own; Britain's Child Migrants.An exhibition telling the heart-breaking true stories of Britain’s child migrants who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries between 1869 and 1970.

V&A collection reference number(s):
NA

2015 Exhibition Guide

Please wait