Just before midnight on December 3rd 1984 a storage tank in the grounds of a Union Carbide (now owned by Dow Chemicals) factory, leaked 35 tons of deadly gas over the sleeping town of Bhopal in central India. About 25,000 people have died as a result of exposure to this gas and a further 120,000 are chronically ill. No meaningful compensation has been received by the victims. Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals have refused to answer for their actions in court or even to give details of the composition of the gas that could aid in the treatment of the victims, claiming that this is a “trade secret”. For more information about the gas disaster, and the charitable work of the Bhopal Medical Appeal click here.
My friend, the writer Indra Sinha , suggested that I should paint in Bhopal and sell the paintings at an exhibition in London to raise money for the running expenses of the Sambathna clinic, a completely free clinic for gas victims. I went twice for five weeks at the end of December 2005 and in the autumn of the same year. Here, without additional commentary, are some of the resulting pastels.