In the minds of people, the river Ganges is God... not that it symbolises or is a product of God but that it is, in itself, sacred. The water purifies the body and soul of those who enter, dead or alive. Clothes are washed, the water drunk, hair is shaved and children dunked. Everyday, thousands of offerings are made directly into the river. I've seen it. My unending eyes and hands. I don’t know. I am struck by the life going on right now, and the worlds that have entered my world. Worlds go in, worlds go out. I've studied at the The Royal Drawing School and when I hold that and the river Ganges in my mind, I understand the phrase 'a world away' but it is not a world away... it is this world, just entirely other. The Hindus set their flowers and prayers off to be taken under or swept downstream. At the Drawing School we were in the life drawing room 4 times a week: soaking, responding, finding our bodies in the middle of our lives doing this one, specific thing and we all said a big thank you to Prince Charles in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace at the end of the year. Harps, thrones, gold.
One morning in Haridwar, I saw the tide was out. It was November. I looked down at the mess - a mucky mélange from every century - devotional detritus; Bodily, domestic, preserved and rotting. The sight had a huge impact on me in ways I cannot explain. I didn't take any pics.
The exhibition at Luna Elaine takes this riverbed in India as inspiration. It is an attempt to recreate something of it, from memory, and to exhibit a selection of my drawings and paintings from the last 10 years that may be seen, in their own way, as a kind of offering or detritus - preserved somehow, (framed on walls, stuffed in drawers, held in portfolios) under the ever flowing current of my life...

Mathew Cunningham

24th - 29th April 2018