Monday, 12 September 2011


A decade ago on September 11th. I arrived at my office in AUT and learnt of the news of the Twin Tower tragedy.

Its imagery remains with me still as does other seminal events such as the assassination of then President Kennedy and man walking on the moon for the first time.

Earlier generations had their own memory imprints; the declaration of war, Pearl Harbour, the airship Hindenburg disaster and the Holocaust amongst them.

In 1985, the wife of one of my best friends suffered a terrible accident when the mini car her husband slipped off a jack as she was underneath, holding a brake lining. Two things I remember vividly from this episode which left her facially disfigured but thankfully alive.

The first was my friend telling me how he somehow was imbued with 'supernatural' strength at the time and lifted the car from her unaided, in one movement. The second is that I painted a small shroud-like study in which I portrayed a devastated space, as my emotional response to what had happened.

Study - 1985
Roger Smith - mixed media on board
It was not a great painting - rough and deliberately crude in its intensity and muslin drapery. What I could never understand is the intuition that led me to include two towers as the central motif, viewed across an expanse of water?
On the afternoon of September 11th, 2001 I looked again at the image stored on my hard disk drive and wondered whether it was pure coincidence that I had produced this work featuring a city I had never visited, with its dark twin towers featured and a fiery sky? Or was it a premonition of events to come?
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