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‘Partially Buried’ makes reference to the Aberfan coalmining disaster of 1966 in which 144 people were killed. James Rielly, who was 10 years old at the time of the disaster, has dealt with a subject of great tragedy in a simple and yet seemingly peaceful way. The background is painted in pale, muted pastel colours as is the plain simple building, which is being engulfed by the black impenetrable mass. The simplicity conveys that of a child’s drawing and also the silence described by survivors after the slag heap stopped moving. As a schoolchild in Wales, Rielly was deeply affected by the disaster and as with many of his contemporaries the memory is still with him. Rielly often uses childhood memories to form the basis of his paintings.
oil on canvas
H 198.1 x W 259.1 cm
NMW A 27903
gift from the artist, 2006