I was in the studio at Art School just stuffing around, fiddling with some paddle-pop sticks I had there for glueing, and I remembered how in school we used to make these little boomerangs to chuck across the playground. It’s the weaving I connected with – the elegance of the way the sticks hold together to form a new object, with its own integrity.

Heraclitus talks of the tension in the bow, and draws a connection between its Greek name ‘bios’ – also meaning ‘life’ – and its role in bringing death. A similar thing happens with the boomerang.

There is an additional tension here, in the way the cotton tape is fixed to the stretcher, just enough to make it straight. Painting itself is also like the bow – the image and the making in constant tension.

For me, a boomerang in flight is a thing of joy, and I well recall the times we flew real boomerangs as kids – the wonder of their self-generated lift! If we could ever get them to return, it was an exceptional throw.

This work won the National Art School Painting Prize.

Dimensions 4 × 137 × 213 cm

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The original Boomerang has been adapted for Boomerang ii (update coming), but it is a recurring motif in these works.

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