Interview by Rebecca Nicholson
I’m the one lying down with my head on the pillow. It’s not often that I have such a comfy position. This was painted at a very particular time and under very particular circumstances. It was a memorial, after our father died in the summer of 1983. My sister Celia sketched out the painting in December of that year, then worked on it over the next two years. It was a long, long process.
It felt like an important thing for us to come together in that time. You’ve got my mother in the centre and then the five sisters grouped very tightly around her. Celia doesn’t show herself. I feel she’s represented by the slant of the canvas that’s reflected in the mirror behind, and of course she’s there in every brush stroke.
We were all very young. I’m struck looking at the painting now; I’m the youngest and I was 21. Celia was only 24 when she started it, and our mother was only 56.
Image: Celia Paul, Family Group, 1985-86