"Famine", Lyn's powerful bronze sculpture, is included in the British Red Cross Museum's archive.
To hear an audio description about this piece, from the Red Cross's Museum and Archives, please click here>>>
For information about visiting the museum, please click here>>>

Transcript of the Museum audio recording by Antonia Dalivalle:

An emaciated figure stretches out her arm. She tilts her head in a plea of mercy. A baby lies curled up at her feet. This bronze sculpture, titled ‘Famine’, depicts a starving mother and child. Produced from 1985 to 1994 by the British sculptor Lyn Constable Maxwell, ‘Famine’ was inspired by the 1985 BBC documentary ‘African Calvary’. Filmed by the Kenyan photojournalist Mohamed Amin, this documentary covered the subject of drought in various African countries. Amin wanted the “visuals to speak for themselves”.

‘Famine’ is not based on a particular mother and child from the documentary. The suffering of women and children, as the innocent victims of war since time immemorial, has been a subject close to Lyn Constable Maxwell’s heart throughout her career as a sculptor. ‘Famine’ is a synthesis of the suffering felt by them all. After watching the BBC programme, Lyn Constable Maxwell was so moved that she sat up all night in her studio, making the sculpture. She formed it out of plaster and resin paste on an aluminum and iron armature support. It was one of the most spontaneous works she had ever made. A few months later, the sculpture was seen by Lord Pearson of Rannoch and his wife Mary. Their generous support enabled it to be cast to bronze.

As a result of ‘African Calvary’, the situation in Ethiopia was no longer an abstraction, but a reality that touched people everywhere. In ‘Famine’, the depiction of mother and child becomes a universal, visual expression of suffering, like sculptures of the pietà. The sculptor wrote that; “The trauma continues, and we see newsreel evidence of terribly unjust situations from all around the world, almost every night on our television screens. When will it stop? When will the perpetrators of these wars ever learn?”

Audio recording by Antonia Dalivalle (Volunteer), London.
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