Ian Henderson, Where is your heart and other works
Ian Henderson: the artist
Ian Henderson lives and works in New South Wales. He was trained as a fine artist/painter in the United Kingdom and came to Australia with his family in 1972.
As a a professional artist, he has won many awards and held significant positions in the UK, Canada and in Australia. He was the first artist to be employed by a K new-town development corporation, and was the fifth Gulbenkian Fellow in painting at Keele University. In Canada he took up the position of first artist in residence at Brock University in Ontario. In Australia he became Chief Graphic Designer for CSIRO and later held a consultancy position in visual arts for Brisbane's South Bank redevelopment scheme. For a brief period Ian worked at the historic Port Arthur site in Tasmania as their artist and subsequently showed major paintings of that period at Hobart's Slamanca Collection.
Ian has lectured at a number of art schools in both the UK and Australia. He has worked in interior, graphic design and architecture in addition to his fine art activities. He holds a doctorate in Creative Arts fro the University of Wollongong and was in charge of all Visual Arts and Design within the Faculty of Arts at the University of New England for nine years.
Ian's paintings are hold in many public collections across the world. He has been described as a figure and landscape painter in all media, and major Australian exhibitions of his paintings have taken place in Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart. His paintings are held in a number of regional galleries including, Burnie Cowra, Muswellbrook, Stanhope, Murray Bridge and Taree. He is also represented in the History Trust of South Australia and the National film and sound Archive, and in the UK within the UK's public catalogue Foundation as well as within several UK universities and public collections.
The works of art
The set of art-works here represented formed part of the Chanteuses de Charme' exhibition; paintings based on the popular French songs of the 1940s.. The concept for this exhibition started with the artist's own interest in wartime Paris. The process of building a body of work responding to a theme required an artist to immerse deeply into their subject matter and practice.Very often the knowledge gained expands beyond the task of visually representing a subject, luring the artist to traverse deeply into the area of their research. As Ian's investigations have progressed his interest has expanded to embrace the popular music of the era and the way it expressed the mood of the city under German occupation. This music has played such an important part in the making of his art that it has become an integral part of the exhibition itself.
Through this body of work Ian has demonstrated how this passion for a subject can expand and capture and expand the imagination of the artist. I fully expect that this passion will be contagious and will equally captivate and enrich the viewers.
During the German occupation of France music played a very important role. It became a covert form of resistance. Victor Hugo was clear when he said, "Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."That is not to say of course that the chansons of the Second World War were political or martial. In the main they were not. The power they possessed was the power to elicit love and loyalty within the listener. Many of the chansons were love songs which on a superficial level that could be interpreted as love between two people, however on a deeper level that love could be thought of as the love of a way of life which had been changed by the Occupation. The fat that French people could listen to their music in French was a lifeline. Most typical were the songs of the cafe chanteuses about love, family life and love of country. Maurice Chevalier's 1941 song "Prenez le Temps d'Aimer' (Take time to love) is a good example. the chanteuses Rina Ketty and Lucienne Delyle sang J'attendrai (I'll Wait) a song from before the war, but which took on a special significance during the occupation as the song was adopted as a tribute to Frances 1.4 million prisoners of war.
J'attendrai le jour et la nuit
J'attendrai toujours ton retour
J'attendrai car I'oiseau qui s'enfuit
Vient chercherI'oubli dans son nid
Le temps passait court en battant tristement
dans mon coeur si lourd
I will wait day and night
I always wait for your return
I will wait for the bird who has flown away
comes to search for what forgotten in its next
time passes by echoing sadly
in my heavy heart.
France suffered thousands of ills during the German occupation, including harsh winters, lack of food, arrests, and struggles between collaborators and the resistance. However the music continued. Dances were forbidden but love songs bloomed, for instance the 'Moon lit Chapel' by Leo Marjane, 'Paradise Lost' by Maie-Jose and of course Edith Piaf with 'One Evening, One Night'. All of these and many others were heard through Vichy radio stations and became the staple fare of French Radio.
After the liberation in 1945, Les Chanteuses enjoyed increased popularity with singers like Monique Serf with one particular song 'Ma Plus Belle Histoire d'Amour'. Other singers carried the art into the second half of the 20th Century. One such was Juliette Greco. She was a friend of Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. She became a celebrity on the Paris Left Bank and well known in the cafe society. Her life became a whirl of jazz and cabaret clubs. However it was not until the 1960s that she became an international star with Mireille Mathieu and Francoise Hardy who are possibly the most well known recent chanteuses. Now in the 21st Century, there are singers who are arguably in the chanteur cafe mode, one such being Gilbert Becaut, but that art too is withering under the influence of modern French music. Whereas a cafe would once have had an accordion player, there is now a video jukebox.
The University of Canberra also has two other works by Ian Henderson in the Art Collection. These works are more abstract in nature and show Ian Henderson's range of techniques and styles. The first is titled 'enclosed forms' and the second is titled, the Australian tribute to the Moon's last phase.