The paintings and prints which were inspired by my father's FEPOW experiences and my visit to Thailand in August 2004 were first exhibited at a solo exhibition at Trackside Gallery in West London. The show opened on 11th May 2006, which would have been my father's 100th birthday and, coincidentally, closed on the anniversary of his death at the end of May.
The exhibition was well received and well attended. In addition to gallery regulars, my own clients, friends and family, the exhibition attracted many members of the general public and also many people who had family members who had also been FEPOWs or civilian internees during the war. I had sent invitations to as many COFEPOW members (Children (and Families) of the Far East Prisoners of War) based in the south east and was amazed and touched by the number of people who came and the distances some had travelled.
I heard from one former FEPOW who said he had wanted to come but was unable to make the journey. On the final day of the exhibition, however, I was thrilled when a charming gentleman, who had been in several of the same camps as my father visited the gallery. He entertained the other visitors that Sunday with tales of his experiences and even described the day the Allies bombed the POW camp at Nong Pladuk (the inspiration of one of my paintings, which was based on an aerial map of the camp), pointing out on the canvas, where he had been when the bombs were dropped.
"A Chiswick artist is infusing the beauty and power of her paintings with the darkess of wartime Thailand to bring a painful history to life." "But for Mrs Grumbridge it is not about opening old wounds but bringing a message of hope and survival out of the chaotic, horrific reality the FEPOWs endured."