Washing Hands

About twenty years ago I met an Irish girl. She had grown up in the countryside on a farm and, when she told me about her childhood, it sounded like something out of Ryan’s Daughter. Quite the contrast to my own city childhood, growing up in London.

These photographs are inspired by a story she told me about her favourite memory of her father. After working in the fields, he would return to the kitchen and wash his hands and forearms before a meal. She said that he took great care in ensuring that all the mud was washed from his hands before sitting to eat.

I liked the idea of this ritualistic act, and often think about it when I am washing my own hands. Sometimes taking a little more time over a daily routine can make the ordinary extraordinary.











Part of The Learned Pig’s Clean Unclean editorial season, March-May 2015.


The Learned Pig

Henry Ward

Henry Ward is an artist, writer and educator living in Peckham, London. He has spent most of his life being interested in a great many things and wondering which of them was going to be “the one”, and has now accepted that embracing all of them is much more fulfilling. He paints, draws, takes photographs, walks, reads, cooks, plays board games and attempts to make music, rather badly, on a growing collection of stringed instruments. He has written and lectured on a wide range of topics and completed his Phd on “Teaching as an Artistic Practice” with Middlesex University in 2013.