Oil on canvas 80 x 80 Cms
Its called Hellfire Pass because the sight of emaciated prisoners labouring at night by firelight was said to resemble a scene from Hell. Until then I didn't understand the horrors of war, I do now.
I painted Hellfire Pass from memory, a couple of years ago I went on a trip to Kanchanaburi to see the 'Bridge over the River Kwai' and 'hellfire pass'. I didn't want to look at photos of the place I wanted to try and capture how I felt when I was there, feeling it, touching it, a feeling I will never forget.
Hellfire pass if you've never been there is cut through a mountain for the Death Railway, it’s littered with memorials and poppies for the people who died there, poppies everywhere, it's a striking place and I don't think anyone could walk through it without shedding a tear or two.
There is also a museum but I couldn’t cope in there and had to get some fresh air, I then walked down the pass, in the middle of the cutting there is a tree which has been allowed to grow and it struck me as a great memorial. It is the most haunting place I have ever been to, you almost feel the pain of the men who died there.
I’m also very proud that many Thais risked beatings and their life to help where possible those poor souls working on the Death Railway.