I chose my paternal great-grandparents, Archie and Jane Rowley, as the subjects for this map. Glasgow is the place of my childhood, and so I chose to draw with children’s crayons.
Archie worked in the shipyards, and the shipyards dominated Glasgow. Family lore painted him as a drinker and they moved twelve times in seventeen years. I represented these things with whisky spilling into and further polluting the Clyde, and an oversized passenger liner ensnaring the city and polluting the air.
Jane had twelve children, I marked each birth and joined them chronologically. A pattern emerged correlating with the Glasgow Underground which was open in their life time. I represented the nearby stations as mouths swallowing and spitting out lives.
Two births did not fit the pattern, fifth child Allan, born in Perthshire and ninth child Alice, born outside the underground network and away from the Clyde Shipyards. Allan died of Tuberculosis in the nearby Royal Infirmary at this time. Contemporary maps (1914) show a “Poorhouse” at this address. I had a strong emotional reaction to these discoveries and it changed the mood of the map. I broke the line at each of these places and drew tears and broken hearts spilling onto the ground and increased the darkness of the sky. I left the gardens brightly coloured and incongruous with the rest, but signifying that all was not doom and gloom.
I would enjoy expanding this piece to a three dimensional work, giving each of the elements a deeper more significant treatment.