Helen Savage
Art Works

from 1990 - 2003




12 Goes, 15 years

Helen Savage, 1998


"The repeated text in the work is the reproduction of a small piece of paper found tucked in my Grandmother's belongings after her death, aged 64. It was written by her, recalling all of the twelve children she conceived, from the year of her marriage in 1926, to 15 years later. Eight of these twelve children died. Edward died of pneumonia aged 3, Theo of whooping cough at 8 weeks, Vincent at 10 days (cause unknown) and the other five, their ages and causes of death are unrecorded. The four who grew up are my two uncles, Steve and Colin, my Aunty Mary, and my mother Edith.  

My knowledge of this earlier time comes from my mother's stories, phototgraphs and some recent library research. Life during this time was very hard. For my Grandmother on the farm, whole years were swallowed up with matters of flesh and fluid, of blood and mud and seasons; hard work and longing for life, like I can only imagine.

This is my attempt to honour these 12 lives and my Grandmother's courage."


The left hand panel represents the 12 children. The text in each square has initials for each child with the date and place of birth. Each square represents a child shown by a coloured line.

The last line reads "12 goes, 15 years".



The right hand panel signifies the 15 years. The pumpkins and apples symbolise the children that survived. The textured fabric represents a child that was born and died.

Helen's mother is the apple in the centre of the 15 year time span.



Link to The Linen Cupboard

© Helen Savage 2003


Creative Kids   © Helen Savage 2008
Christchurch, NZ