Cul-de-sac is about poverty. It represents a period of hardship, when I was a single mother living in Glebe with three children to support. The woman in the painting was a neighbour in a worse situation than myself — also with 3 children, she was pregnant with a fourth. I saw the family collecting firewood on a cold winter's day; the kids were inadequately dressed, with no shoes and no warm clothes. I emphasised the thinness of their limbs. The mother is serene and walks into a dead-end with head held high in spite of her circumstances. I painted her eyes an unnatural amber colour that glows, to create a focus and a symbol of the will to survive.
Susan Dorothea White