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Transparency · Materials · Mat Collishaw

Children of a Lesser God

Many of the children who lived near his studio in Bethnal Green came from broken homes and wander the streets aimlessly, looking for opportunities to relieve their boredom and poverty.

To exaggerate their feral nature, Collishaw constructed a quasi-mythological scene, resembling the story of Romulus and Remus, using modern props to re-enact an ancient fable.

Two babies lie on an abandoned sofa with a pair of wild dogs lolling beside them. The shredded carcasses and the ferocity of the nearest dog give the impression that the babies’ lives are in peril. Yet one baby is suckling the teat of the furthest dog, sucking at the nipples of wild dogs that nurture and protect them, but who seem quite at odds with generally established views of parenting.