Dawn Chandler

As the world locked down, I spent most days in my studio working on a painting, which tells the story of a stained glass window; designed and produced by stained glass artist John Petts. The window was then gifted to the 16thStreet Baptist Church in Alabama, from the people of Wales.

I first read about the Wales window of Alabama in a newspaper article in 2013, which was commemorating the 50thanniversary of the fate full day in 1963, when a terrorist bomb tore through the Baptist church; killing four young girls who were getting ready for Sunday school. John Petts, who was living in Wales at the time, was so moved by the news being a father himself, that he offered to make a new window to replace one that was destroyed in the bombing. The Western Mail newspaper ran a campaign called `The Alabama Fund` , and people from all over Wales were asked to give no more than half a crown each, so that everyone; rich or poor, could contribute towards the new window; making it truly a gift from all the people of Wales.

I printed out the article and kept it; knowing that one day I would do something with it. I had also been toying with the idea of producing a painting that looked like a stained glass window for some time, and I thought what better subject could there be for this than an actual stained glass window, and the story of a whole nation of Welsh people who reached out across the Atlantic to show how much they cared.