April 30, 2020

Does a girl need a father?

Claire Davenport, 36

This painting explores adoption and fatherhood. I was adopted as a baby to a loving family yet adoptees like myself can still carry chronic wounds. One day I began painting and like many who paint, an image emerged from my subconscious, that of my biological father looking on over my faded and worn face. This image emerged from my story. My records contained the right mother but the wrong father. I traced the right one through my biological mother and their story is all too common. In the Ireland this man grew up in, men were taught they had urges and women, that they were the moral gatekeepers of these urges. My biological father declined any responsibility for my adoption. Psychology posits that mothers teach girls how to be girls and fathers, that they are valuable. A painful period of existential angst ensued. My adoptive family rallied while I fled. Psychologists doom adoption as trauma: adoptees malfunction accordingly with a higher instance of personality disorders, criminality, institutionalisation and suicide. I believe the state, and its former religiosity, promoted male impunity in adoption. Even today adoptees do not have a statutory right to their information, tearing their wounds wider.

Dad?, 2019Acrylic Paint on Canvas72cm X 115cm