In response to a theme suggested by Where’s my backpack?
I’m fascinated by walls. I like brick, stone, glass and wooden walls, and I especially like tiled walls. I like walls with wallpaper from the 1960s and 1970s, and from Victorian times. I like crumbling ancient temple walls and glittering Thai palace walls. I’ve taken lots of photos of walls, and I’ve begun to feature walls in my artwork inspired by these photos.
This one is of an ancient wall at the temple ruins of the old capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya (1350-1767). It’s a miniature, the size of a business card, and is part of a set of four I did of temple walls and windows in Thailand.
In November last year, I visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok for the first time in 11 years. This is a pastel painting I did depicting part of a tiled wall at a temple within the palace grounds.
The physicality of walls as man-made structures pervades most cultures—so much so, that when there are no walls, or when walls are knocked down or fall down, it is something to be remarked upon. Walls can keep enemies out, imprison those within, or conceal secrets. Walls are the key to privacy in the modern era, in which access to personal privacy has become paramount.
In pondering the significance of the wall across various cultures, I came up with these lists:
Great Wall, China
Berlin Wall, Germany
City walls to keep out invaders, eg Chiang Mai, York
Wall St, US
Hadrian’s Wall, UK
Maginot Line, France
Western Wall (Wailing Wall), Israel
Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
The Virtual Wall of Fame to celebrate Manny’s music shop in New York, the “original music superstore”, 1935-2009.
Remembering Our Fallen: The Virtual Wall of Remembrance for US service people in all conflicts
English usage of the word “wall”
Interestingly, many languages differentiate between exterior walls and interior walls, but English does not.
“If these walls could talk…”
“The walls have ears”
Wall of fire
Wall of water
To drive someone up the wall
To hit the wall
Wall of sorrow
Wall of shame
Wall of fame
Wall of honour
To put up (psychological) walls
Wall-to-wall, as in carpet, but also TV coverage
Off the wall
To bang one’s head against the wall
To have one’s back to the wall
To take something (such as a business) to the wall
Climbing the walls