Curious and Curiouser

Colour, Conceptual, Connections, Exhibitions, Galleries

‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English. I get away with not speaking good English, living with an Egyptian I don’t worry about being corrected and sometimes I wonder if we haven’t gone and created our own language. Along with spending my days understanding toddler speak I am heading down a slippery slope. A bit like Alice! My connection with Alice is that one of my husband’s courting lines to me was, “why don’t you see how deep the rabbit hole goes”! Well I am well and truly wandering in the warren.

Curiously, Curious George is the favourite cartoon my boys watch at the moment and this week the exhibition opens at ‘Curious Duke‘. This piece is one of five pieces on show in the exhibition ‘Young masters’ running from February 7th to March 7th at 207 Whitecross Street, London.

'Sperm'

‘Sperm’

Curiosity (from Latin curious “careful, diligent, curious,”) is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning. I think my husbands approach to his art, is just that. It is an exploration and an investigation into human behaviour. He certainly makes pieces which are indeed curious. This piece was made last year and I realised I hadn’t given it a showcase in my blog but this week it will be having its first exhibition. My husband said he could have used this for his ‘Transmission’ theme. That may have raised a few eyebrows.

sperm2

‘Sperm’

Housed in Curious Duke Gallery a 400 year old subterranean space on Whitecross Street in Islington. “One of the most welcoming and unique gallery spaces you will ever encounter.” You can read more about it at ‘Made in Shoreditch’ Magazine. So, if you are around in London over the next month pop in if you are curious.

sperm

‘Sperm’

The end of the world

Conceptual, Exhibitions, Philosophy

So it’s not the end of the world that work got damaged in the fire. I don’t mean to be on a negative sounding tone at the moment. There is talk that the 21st December could see some celestial change. “This year, the end of the ancient Mayan long count calendar is said to be The Date. On 21 December either the earth will be wiped out by cosmic disaster, or there will be a profound shift in global consciousness leading to an unprecedented epoch of universal peace. Some of the most dedicated believers in the Mayan prophecy fear for the worst and say that the only hope lies in being whisked away to safety in a giant spaceship currently awaiting its cue under a mountain near Bugarach in France.” (The guardian)

project2012

For the next few days however, there is an exhibition running called PROJECT 2012 End of the World.  These three pieces have been selected to be part of Project 2012 (End of the world exhibition) They will be shown alongside 32 other artists, the works are intended to unveil the spectator’s inner fears, passions and hopes. The exhibition will be held at Mile End Art Pavillion, Clinton Way, Mile End Park, London, E3 4QY. Private View 11th Dec 2012 6pm-9pm  Some of my husbands more conceptual pieces will be on show.

2012 2

Shelter

2012 3

The Diner

2012

Urgency

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Conceptual, Drawings, Making

All a bit gory in the title, but then this expression summed up the day. It started two days ago when I came home in the middle of the day and was transferring my sleeping toddler from car to house. As I made my way up the stairs I got a little spooked to see a tall figure in the kitchen out of the corner of my eye. A full size skeleton had landed. For the last couple of days the kitchen and back yard have been the workshop. So we have had body parts lying around on the worktop and kitchen table. It is not a real human I must make clear, we have not gone as far as Damien Hirst. However, it may be a bit religiously controversial but that sparks debate.

‘The Toy’

I am hesitant about putting up sketches, although it shows the working process. The sketch is the first stage, the next stage is sprawled around our house making it rather cold as the back door is open due to the drilling that has been going on. When I told my eldest son what had happened today he immediately sobbed, a mixture of empathy and worry I think. His tears were heartfelt. So this is the blood addition, whilst drilling some of the parts together, I am not sure how the drill went through the skeletal sculpture bone into my husband’s hand, Ouch! but it did. I personally thought it looked like it had just touched the bone but he merely brushed it off as the first layer of skin (think we are talking more like subcutaneous layer actually). So in true Egyptian style he simply superglued it together. Rather fortunate I just happened to buy some at the beginning of the week to glue back together a wooden frame in the boy’s room which I have been meaning to do for months.

So the Sculptor is sore but still drilling away. So what has the sweat got to do with it? All this hard work, this  piece had been the most physically exerting, and challenging. It  made me think about how we define hard work. In the Uk we are constantly on a treadmill, we seem to think that if we have ‘sweated’ hard for something then we are more deserving of it. Although people talk about work life balance, I don’t see it. The majority of people live to work.

The question of what art is also arose. My husband pointed out that the majority of his work was purely from the imagination in his head, whilst this piece is the ‘idea’, putting something that already exists in a new way. People often comment about conceptual art that, ‘they could do it’. It is ideas and concept that create debate. Of course, in my own head I am now even more concerned about the sparks that may fly about this piece. However, there is an important message behind this work.

This image below was taken earlier, I have just been called through to see the finished body on the kitchen table. 14 hours later and 72 pieces assembled. A lot of blood, sweat and tears for one day.

‘The Toy’ – in progress

‘Candy People’

Colour, Conceptual, Connections, Exhibitions, Galleries, Philosophy

'The keyhole Family'

People are a lot like Candy!

They’re all so different and dandy.

The way they look and what they do.

Which sweet am I? Which treat are you?

Skin like honey or milky fair,

or coco brown with chocolate hair.

Custard yellow or molasses dark,

or rusty dust of cinnamon bark!

Some friends stick around like toffee,

they’re lasting sticky and strong.

some friends are more like chewing gum:

Their fun and flavour won’t stay long.

Lean like liquorice or lollypop round,

all shapes and colours by the pound.

Small hazelnut or almond eyes,

our wrappers disguise such surprise.

some candy people that you meet,

are mushy and gooey and sweet.

Some come from life’s jawbreaker bin,

but time will melt to mint within.

People are a lot like candy!

Bonbons so different and dandy.

Step to the window, gaze and stop,

at God’s great goodie sugar shop.

People are a lot like Candy!

They’re all so different and dandy.

The way they look and what they do.

Which sweet am I? Which treat are you?

(Dawud Wharnsby 2011)

The Keyhole Family

Colour, Conceptual, Egyptian, History, Philosophy, Public Art, Relationships, Soul searching

‘The Keyhole family’

This sculpture of five pieces present five different emotions we all share, we all go through. Sometimes, we pass through them; sometimes we get stuck in them. Beyond our differences of shapes, colour, education we all share the similarity of emotion and experiences. The focus behind this collection is to highlight the similarity between all of us; whatever we try to hide or expose, admit or deny. The ‘keyhole’ symbolises our vulnerability and if someone manages to find the right key then they find our weakness.

I haven’t sat and written for a while as it has been so hot, too hot to do much!  These five little men making up The Keyhole family has been bought and now live in someone’s house. So I thought I had better write a little about them before the next generation are born. I had an image of these little men half buried in a desert like landscape being discovered after thousands of years and a new age of people or alien beings discovering them in the midst of desolation. Like archeologist discovering Egypt’s ancient treasures. What would ‘they’ understand about ‘us’. Cheerful, happy faces vibrant colours on the surface everything is alright. The individual design shows a deeper level of  thought displaying some of the issues of humanity we face.

Confused???

We get confused from time to time….

 Sweet Kiss

All of us sometimes relies upon the sweeter person within us and this person deserves a kiss!….

 Philosopher

Nations and cultures have built themselves on some words of wisdom and some of us chose it as a path….

Mr Hot  & Mr Cold

Represents our sexuality level and how this changes and how some people can control it like a tap….

Shelter

Conceptual, Exhibitions, History, Making, Philosophy, Relationships, Soul searching

'Shelter

'Shelter'

'Shelter - down'

Conceptual pieces sometimes panic people ,not always sure what to think, how to react, or conscious that they are supposed to do so in a certain way. Personally the point is just to ‘think, what comes to mind?, what ideas, what emotions does a piece evoke/….so on and so on… So without telling you about this piece, (apart from the fact it does reference another Artist, Marcel Duchamp) I will write about a little thought process I went on whilst thinking about this piece.

How do we bring up this new generation of babes into the world without exposing them to too much and without depriving them of tools they may need in order to ‘survive’ this modern-day jungle. Did my own sheltered childhood prepare me for the world and to what gain and to what disadvantage?

I had a sheltered upbringing mainly due to the fact that we grew up in a little village in Yorkshire, pretty idyllic really. We were brought up in an environment of peace, love and tranquility. A strong emphasis on education and family. However, is being protected and ‘perfected’ the very best way of living. Even the very phrase a ‘sheltered upbringing’ has a negative connotation. Definition one “to have a life in which you are protected too much and experience very little danger, excitement or change” and definition two, “someone who has had a sheltered life has not had the usual unpleasant experiences that most people have in their lives”.

For me, my upbringing seems perfectly normal, most people around me had a similar one and friends and family were all doing the same.  I travelled but always in a ‘safe’ way. We did have a big change when we moved house from one county to another, and sure there is always excitement when you are a kid. I was, therefore, interested in these definitions as it seems to suggest that ‘most people’ have unpleasant experiences, and that it is usual to experience ‘danger, excitement and change’. I guess there are many ways of defining these later descriptions.

So when thinking about raising children now I can understand the need to avoid danger… but excitement and change is important to really appreciate life is it not? When I think about what I want my children to be exposed to, I do think I err on the side of extreme caution. They do watch TV (quite a bit) but if i had it my way we would perhaps have no TV! I wonder about future internet access and video games. Will I let them go out by themselves, how old should they be? I think this is accentuated because my husband is almost opposite on these ‘worldly’ issues. In my opinion he has led an exciting, adventures life so he will give my boys that balance.

To contradict a little,I am not all caution and in fact more so than my husband not so worried about letting them ‘learn through play’ themselves. After school  this week as I was letting my boys climb the most brilliant climbing tree in the school grounds with their friend; an elderly lady came up and told the friends Mother and I that the other week a boy had got stuck and so it was very dangerous! I gathered from these ‘wise words’ that the boy must have been much older and on his own. After the elder lady had left us with the boys still in the tree, in an attempt to make sure we were responsible parents the mother and I agreed with each other… it is very necessary that boys do climb trees, we can’t say ‘No’ all the time! After all a bit of danger and excitement will help not be so sheltered?!

We can shelter our emotions, my own observation is that we British are terrible at masking our real feelings out of so-called politeness and this causes us to live in a shadow of our real selves. We lack a human connection which I have seen in other ‘warmer’ climates. Will save that discussion for another post…

Of course, the piece itself is of an umbrella and the history of the umbrella is a fascinating one and can actually be found ” sculptured on the monuments of Egypt”. The story behind the making of this was that after ordering and buying several umbrellas thinking they would be the right shape, give the right look, the one used here was a gift to me from mu husband from Denmark and was a beautiful white unusually shape. It had got damaged though so I wasn’t too disappointed in the dismantling of it. The stool however, to cut a long story short was a gift to my husband from myself. Being very difficult to buy for, I stumbled into an antique oriental shop thinking I would surely find something beautiful. Surrounded by a number of stunningly coloured items and huge piece of furniture I couldn’t decide. This stood out? (Perhaps, now I realise for the wrong reasons). Driving home with this ‘ancient chinese stool’ in my boot I suddenly had this realisation that in the shop it may have looked fairly impressive but perhaps it wasn’t going to look so authentic in our house and I may have found the simplicity and humbleness of this old stool to be appealing but would my husband?. No. Indeed, as he pointed out he could find it in any shop in Egypt or could throw one together with a few bits of wood. Where was the chinese mark? Did I really pay that much for it????  I had been conned! We debated about whether to take it back or not and then mainly for humour’s sake kept it. Well at least it has now found a good home.

Home. One of the main ideas  that ‘shelter’ conjures up, a place where we can rest, stay dry, stay safe. Often with a temporary time frame associated with it and yet so many people in the world live in something that is simply a shelter. For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are:

  • 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3).

So I should be worrying less about the future of my own children with all their comforts and privileges and thinking more about those children that don’t have the basic requirements, safe water, health and a shelter.

What is the rush?

Conceptual, Exhibitions, Making, Philosophy

'Urgency 2011'

Why are we always rushing? I realise sometimes in the moment I am rushing my son to put on his socks, hurry hurry hurry. Ok, so perhaps there is a need to rush in the morning when trying to get out the house and get to school on time but I am not so sure I need to be so militant about it.

Why do we do so many things at the same time with out failing to stop and notice what we are doing? Actually that ‘idiot abroad’ summed it up quite well after his japanese tea ceremony experience. How often do we finish a cup of tea without really noticing we’ve drunk it. How often are we doing a few things at once and not really paying attention to any of it. A friend was telling me how her mum whilst on her allotment will boil a kettle over a fire, it takes a while to make but the process is all part of it. Whilst I flick the hot tap and get a cup of tea in an instant. Not always taking the time to appreciate how I have come to get that warm drink. It is the same with our food – you can just shove a packaged dish in a microwave and get an instant meal but the gratification of that meal is not the same as going out and hunting for it. Not that I know what it is like to go out and hunt and gather my food and then skin and prepare it; but even home-grown food tastes so much better than shop bought.We no longer have to spend days washing and ringing out we just bung it into the machine press a button and go – saving us time? So what do we do with time? Emails, instant messaging, Speed of travel, have things been invented to save us time or speed us up?

I have been rushing ‘blogging’ not really taking the time to read back what I have written ( I have always done that and consequently grammar and spelling not a strong point making me believe that I can not write)

I rush at the things that need time taking on them and take too much time over things that actually could be done in very little time. I am little bit out of synch……or sink? shame I can’t use ‘urinal’ in that expression. I think we are all a little out of synch, hence why we rush. Is there a feeling we aren’t quite where we are supposed to be? Actually I have noticed here in the west we do have that ‘urgency’ feeling where as dare I say it, in the middle east there is a much more relaxed approach. On this note, I have to mention the current situation which I unfortunately don’t quite have the political know-how about but have all my Egyptian family and friends close at heart.

Is benefit of that rushing feeling that you lot more done? Does multi-tasking mean we lose the quality of focus? Do we achieve more? Next time you sit on the toilet with your mobile phone sending a text message have a think about the ‘Urgency’ of which task you are focusing on 😉

ps; I have amused myself a couple of days letter re reading this and noticing the littering of mistakes towards the end, will leave them in for comedy value as it makes clear that I really have rushed at the end ! Oh dear, note to self, take more time !