Just Married and the Value of Rice At A Wedding

'Rice at wedding'

Just Married

Des painted as a form of art therapy. As he told those close to him ‘I had to paint to keep sane’. By doing so he was able to transport himself away from the cruel reality that he and so many others found themselves in, and was able to bring some light into an extremely dark situation by sharing his work with others, often given paintings away.

In this painting he not only recalls the ‘old country’ and past traditions, but frames them in a way that dictates how his current situation of severe malnutrition, could affect and change old traditions in the future.

Even at his own wedding, the ex-POW cannot stand to see even one grain of rice wasted.

“Our doctors urged us, with good humour and resignation, to do as little as possible each day because the calorific content of our full ration was – they had discovered – only sufficient to enable one to breathe. If one moved or worked then, if pre – war medical standards were to be believed, we must all surely die.
The amount of work done by the men who now weighed about eight stone instead of their usual eleven or twelve (and who sank to as low as five or six) was remarkable. The heat had no effect on them. They worked without headwear, they wore only G stings, they ate less each day than international pre war scientists had declared to be the amount on which a man could continue to live, and yet they contrive to plug along for ten or twelve hours on end, shifting tons of obstinate tailings in that time.”.
Source: The Naked Island by Russell Braddon; 1955 edition Pan Books Ltd, Pg181, 252