The Art of Jem Ham

The silence of pain, for the record


Oil on canvas

61 x 46 x 2 cm
24 x 18 x 0.75 in

No. 3/14 from the series Thoughts from Afar

Sometimes, on the inside, I screamed in silence, into the space between thoughts and feelings, for the record, hoping the clouds would carry my cries to the outside world.


This series tells the story of my journey as an artist living through a global pandemic. The resultant ‘giant pause’ was an almost surreal event that spurred in me a catalytic stream of creative energy and inward reflection. Dictated by thought and feeling, the ideas streamed through from afar, plucked from the unconscious realms in the process of trying to make sense of a world in which the perceived norm was suddenly thrown out the window. Replaced by a world of mass media hysteria, conspiracy theorists and panicked humans in survival mode, I pondered over what the flipside of normal would be.

As the situation evolves over the coming months and years, it is my hope that these paintings will cause a little pause in each of us. One that will make space for us to stop, reflect and process how this event has shaped and continues to shape our lives as we face our own mortality.

Exhibited at Ootong and Lincoln Gallery in Fremantle, Western Australia (2020).

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