January 31, 2020

Can apples grow on orange trees?

Christopher Adam, 20

The first time I heard her voice. On the album ‘What A Voice’ (1983) by Aberdonian balladeer Lizzie Higgins (1929-93) is a song of the same name. The song laments the singer’s pain of mishearing her lost lover’s voice long after his death. I’ve drawn how Higgins’ voice in this song makes me feel. The traditional Scots ballad makes me see myself as an androgynous figure of Scottish ancientry; a tragic lyric of the song is emblazoned on a twisting banner, forbidding the growing of apples on orange trees. I’m sat contemplative in a flowery realm of imagination, and my own problems are nowhere to be found. However, this short moment of yearning and tradition is contradictory because the lyrics did not permit the growing of apples in impossible places. Yet, the tune’s own beauty overrode this. The first time I heard her voice, I realised that the creation and sharing of beautiful things from distressing experiences can alleviate suffering, be restorative and, crucially, magical. This drawing is to commemorate our imaginations, and thank Higgins for making me realise that apples, or indeed anything, can grow on orange trees, no matter if a voice has long since stopped singing.

The Orange Tree, 2020Coloured pencil and graphite on watercolour paper42 x 59 cm