The Frogs Who Desired a King

An exhibition by Twinkle Troughton.

Private view: 26 May 2016 from 6-9pm.
Exhibition runs: 27 May to 10 July 2016.

We are delighted to be hosting, Margate based artist, Twinkle Troughton’s first exhibition in three years.


Using a combination of oils and acrylics on paper, Twinkle’s paintings bridge the past with the present focussing on political and social struggles which at their root have not changed for thousands of years. This concept is explored through ancient fables whose moralistic prose can often still have relevance today.

Twinkle’s current work is inspired by Aesop’s fable The Frogs Who Desired a King, which is a tale about a pond full of frogs who want change. Instead of the change they ask for they are sent King Stork who eats them all up. The character King Stork is often used to depict dictatorship, and King Louis XIV is thought to have favoured the story for its common interpretation that people shouldn’t challenge the status quo. The moral of the story is to be careful what you ask for.

In her new paintings Twinkle uses the frogs’ plight as a way to explore the complexities of revolution, with particular focus on Syria in this present day. Documentaries on the Syrian conflict, like Return To Homs, have informed the connection between the moral and the conflict, where the reality of the revolution has lead to many citizens wishing back to a time before the revolution began.

Minimal in content, scenes for fables are often set ‘by a road’ or ‘under a tree’. Combining this principal with influences from historical war painters such as Paul Nash, Twinkle uses fluid brush strokes to evoke war torn landscapes, without explicitly describing a particular time or place.

Subtle references to Syria are made within the landscapes; such as allusions to the ancient Norias Wheels from the town of Hama where some of the largest uprisings have taken place. Jagged paint marks leave impressions of where buildings once stood in towns and cities now turned to rubble.

King Stork only occasionally appears as a background character, and in one painting appears as a silhouette in battle with another stork leading to questions over who the oppressor in this conflict is. With a complex multitude of opposition groups all fighting one another, it’s not always easy to see what the outcome should be. But the frogs from the story are painted with precision and detail; these are their stories to be told.


Many of the landscapes have gnarly trees, depicted neither as dead nor alive. The trees are painted using an age-old painting technique known as Sgraffito, reflecting the ancient origins of the fable.

On the exhibition opening night a signed editioned giclee print will be raffled off with proceeds being donated to the Hand in Hand for Syria charity that provides emergency relief on the ground in Syria. 10% of all sales from the exhibition at Hantverk & Found will also be donated.

In addition to the exhibition, Street Art Margate will also be running an event on June 11th and 12th to coincide with the exhibition and to help raise funds. Selected street artists will be invited to respond to the Syrian conflict on designated wall space in Margate over the duration of the weekend and will culminate in a Q&A at Hantverk & Found on the Sunday evening.