In The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald, Jewish parents send their 12 year old son to England during WWII. The young boy starts a new life. He does not comprehend the gravity of the situation his parents face as Jews in Nazi Germany and begins to find it a “chore” to write home every fortnight. Eventually letters from his parents stop coming. At first he is “relieved.” It dawns on him gradually, as does the heartbreaking knowledge that his parents have been captured and killed, that he “would never again be able to write home.”
I was deeply touched by the weight of this story and went out for a walk. While contemplating the gravity of life I noticed a string flung over a wall with a rock tied to the end of it. I understood it to be a simple counterweight to something mysterious hanging on the other side, but the symbolism catalyzed my feelings in such a way that I felt inspired to do a series of drawings titled "The Weight of Things." The drawings speak to the human condition—to our freedom on the one hand, and to the gravity of what we carry on the other. For the small boy in Sebald’s story, temporary relief from the burden of corresponding with his parents became tethered to the weighted stone of grief that he would carry for the rest of his life.
Each drawing is 8.5"x8.5". The rectangular ones are slightly larger.