These Hills we Climb

Colour, Connections, Soul searching

I am not quite sure how I dare use my adaptation of the title of Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration poem for this blog post (although I have very slightly changed it-does that make it ok??) I began writing this all the way back in January after she delivered her poem at the Inauguration. When the same week I discovered and realised that this sculpture my husband created at the end of last year (2020) almost looks like a three dimensional portrait of Amanda Gorman,with her Prada yellow coat and red headband, I couldn’t not make a post about the connection. Now April the poem is published in book form. So where did January, February and March go? I am not sure. It is odd to think that the slower our pace of life, the quicker time goes. (If you are a follower on Instagram I posted by poem about Time there).

And what hills we have been climbing, internally, nationally, globally, metaphorically and literally if you live in Yorkshire as we do. Certainly a time of almost forced contemplation and reflection. We need to though don’t we? There seems so much to contemplate yet simultaneously being aware that we simply have the moment. Stories of past and future simply being imaginative. These problems our imagination creates can be overcome.

It’s interesting to listen to some of Gorman’s poetry from a few years ago when her speech impediment was still audible. She has certainly I wouldn’t have been aware of it at all in her recitation of ‘The Hill we climb’, on the day. She spoke with confidence and assertion. Hearing her delivery of the poem, the poem itself with words chosen for alliteration, assonance and literary references to other poets sent me into a little spiral of self doubt. The same week when after almost forty years of pursing purpose, I had the realisation that poetry was my path. Though, I have the tendency to do something until I realise I can’t be the best at it then retreat back into my cancarian shell until I find another little track to go down. However, I think this time I have a willingness to stick at it just for joy. To keep finding joy in writing in some form or another as often as I can.

“And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine,
but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect”

The poem is one of hope and a much needed sentiment as we march on into the rest of this year with lockdown gradually being lifted here in the UK. As much as I like solitude and isolation we have a natural desire for freedom and rightly so and it’s human nature to want to be together. To share experiences.

‘Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious’

The sculpture is titled, “Monument II’ from the folklore collection. A mixture of head busts and large scale standing pieces inspired by African and Egyptian folklore. What is appealing about each one of them is that from different angles they look like completely different sculptures. So below are the images of the sculpture rotated, each telling a different story. Most of the sculptures my husband creates tell a story and this one will always be for me the story of Amanda Gorman and what a story. She certainly inspires, seems like a bright light and represents the ability to accomplish dreams , to keep on reaching for those hills to climb.

Reflecting back and Looking ahead

Connections, History, Philosophy, Soul searching

As the natural world around us is literally frozen today as I write, this last day of 2020. It as though time is suspended. So many things in life were suspended this year. Waiting.

As we straddle one year to the next I feel increasingly aware that time is really inconsequential and that we mark time, create time for plans and accruements that we have no guarantee for.

This is no different from how life has been before we have been faced with a reality this year that has taught us to slow down, reflect, hibernate. Here in the north of England we are deep in winter snow which mirrors that intense desire to curl up.

The global situation may seem desperate, bleak but if we focus on what is in front, what is within then we can uncover hope. As seasons change so can we, and unfurl into spring. For now we really have nothing more than the moment.

Poem by Tamsin Shendi

‘Motherland’

collections, Egyptian, Exhibitions, Galleries, Mother and Child, Relationships, Soul searching

Where can I begin? it has been half a year since I last wrote a blog post. Maybe I needed a blogging break. It’s certainly been a time of reflection, this entire year-an inward retreat, a refocusing on where and what we spend our time on, homeschooling and food shopping seemed to be a focus in Spring and suddenly we are heading into Winter.

When I began this blog ten years ago it was following a December trip to Egypt and the idea came to me whilst in Cairo; to document the journey of my husband’s sculptural creations. That first blog post was whilst our two boys were still babies and his studio was our back shed. In the last ten years his journey has grown immensely (along with the size of our boys!).

As I started jotting down ideas for this blog post the sculptor was in Cairo where his first solo show in Egypt is being held. The prestigious gallery of Zamelek has a body of work that looks truly stunning. The exhibition is titled, ‘Motherland’ , so poignant and apt for his debut in his native country but doubly so as the collection is sculptures of ‘Mother and child’. Unlike the last Mother and Child Exhibitions these pieces are drawn from the Egyptian woman, the idea of home being the mother, the women playing a huge role in the home life of Egyptian society, the iconic images of woman carrying their babies. These ideas have all shaped and created the ten pieces currently in exhibition. The opening of the art season in Cairo feels a huge honour. He was warmly received with newspaper and TV interviews, a real ‘homecoming’

The exhibition is asking the viewer To contemplate, what is the meaning of ‘home’? Is it a place, a person, a memory, a feeling, a culture, is it an object?

What does ‘home’ mean to you? Does this trigger an emotion or a reaction?

‘Home’ for the sculptor is the memory of where he was raised, a period of time that he relates back to, a smell in the air, a time of no worries. For the sculptor, it is his sisters, his cousins, his aunties, his mother. These pieces in the exhibition were created to honour his mother and the women who shaped him but also an acknowledgement of the Egyptian Woman in a predominantly patriarchal society.

For me it’s interesting that my husband has a ‘homeland’ in Egypt which isn’t the same for him now, both as an adult, having lived in the U.K. for longer than he lived there, but also because his mother passed away when he was in his early twenties. So in some ways his idea of home is a distant memory. Obviously, ‘home’ I’d also here with our boys and I. Maybe, we all have more than one home.

When I think of home, I think of our house but also my parents house, it’s no longer my home but it has the memories, the feelings, the history that houses my ‘home’. Perhaps, there is no single thing that represents the meaning for us. I also have memories of my first 9 years of childhood in a different place, a different home. In a way, it’s like Egypt for my husband, it’s not a physical tangible thing just vague memories.

I always feel this time of year in England is about spending more time within the home, as the nights draw in and the weather wetter, colder, damper. I usually look forward to this time of retreat but after a lengthy spell in lockdown it feels that this year will be harder. Even more taxing as we enter a second lockdown. I’ve been doing a lot of self discovery and self care through journaling, meditation and unearthing old programming. My chosen word for this year was ‘play’ which I’m really only starting to tap into and move into as the year ends, as I play with paint, bake, create with words. It’s a real fight to suppress the urge to tidy and clean and organise the home over writing, creating and playing around. I feel a need to make the house homely by keeping it in a certain way which is a challenge considering the constructions by its size and two fast growing little men.

I have a desire to be more creative and spend my time (which feels more indulgent) creatively. What this year is teaching me is, that we need to embrace our inner child and to nurture what is important to us. Learn to laugh, relax and enjoy the moments, to be content in the present. It may seem more of a challenge given the global current situation but this is when it is even more important for our well being. For this is when we truly return home, to our home within.

A creative’s viewpoint of Corona

Drawings, Philosophy, Relationships, Soul searching

2020 isn’t quite the most glorious year I had expected. But then that’s perhaps what we learn from this whole experience, not to have expectations. To really hone in on the moment, to simply look to the day ahead, the hour ahead, the simple present time we experience. On the other hand, it is a glorious year- the weather has been stunning where we are, nature has spread out her glory and we are having a unique consolidated family time.

I am not even sure what week we are into during this ‘staying at home’ quarantine. Time has become less important to measure and the weeks are blurred and so too will the months become.

In the first week though, the sculptor took to daily drawing and from his imagination conjured up these five sketches of creatures.

Interesting, I thought, as we adapted to a new hibernation, nesting or burrowing back into our homes. Then we saw how nature began to thrive and these last few weeks particularly the skies have been clear, the bees blossoming, tiny buds shooting forth and lambs littering the fields. Maybe, this is because we live in the countryside, for which I am extremely grateful right now. Obviously each year spring appears but this annual season seems particularly plentiful.

My husband was asked by various organisations and galleries to comment on the current situation with the corona virus from an Artist’s perspective. My husband has always believed that artists should be isolated in order to evolve, because mixing with so many people within society causes you to loose your identity or rather within the art sphere not be able to retain originality within the practice. History has shown us that so many viruses have come and passed through humanity and many artists didn’t express the situation within their work. He believes artists live in their own world and from time to time have to share his/her time or world with the rest of reality. Every negative situation or crisis always has a positive side to be seen and appreciated if uncovered. Companies are working together instead of against each other, improvements in the environment are already being seen and nature seems bountiful, spending more time with family, slowing the speed of life down, the expectations, the constant need for entertainment and distraction taken away as we are forced into retreat, all of these things are more positive than the actual virus itself.

The sad thing is so many of us don’t know what the future holds or where we are heading. However, in reality is this not the case all the time? The materialistic machine which the world has become has had an impact on what we call human emotion, it has made us selfish, colder, oblivious and ignorant. Now, people are starting to understand that we all have the capacity for the same emotions and a wider collective is appearing for the first time because of the virus issue. Perhaps, the life as we know it will change forever, and if we come out of this doing exactly the same as before then we are afraid humanity won’t have learnt anything.

Although the current situation is not ideal it is perhaps better than where we were heading, to find the positive impact which may come from this huge change. On a personal level the sculptor has always tried to isolate himself because of a need and desire to have time to absorb and recognise or realise an inner state of being. Looking at the past, as this is the only thing we can learn from, most of the greatest names mentioned in the history of humanity had their own time in isolation. Perhaps, now it is better know as meditation. Important though for reflection.

Life is fast. It has been getting faster everyday. We are not as fast. We need to slow our energy and atmosphere around us in order for this phase not to break us. We need to improve ourselves not our houses, our cars, our careers, our consumption. This time is precious. This is the present. It is a gift.

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Here, there, everywhere, then home.

Awards, Colour, Exhibitions, Galleries, Public Art, Soul searching

It was October when I last wrote an entry here, ironically it isn’t because I haven’t been writing. Actually, I have been writing more than ever with good old fashioned pen and paper in a spiral binder from school days. Daily journaling which I am finding fulfilment and satisfaction in and a kind of cleansing as we enter into a new decade. I started to wonder as I go into the tenth year of this blog whether I should continue with it or branch out into something new but I remind myself that my intention for this was to record my husband’s journey into the art world and a little outlet for me whilst the boys were growing. With my eldest almost at my height, they are not so little anymore.

So 2019 ended well with the sculptor having two exhibitions at The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh part of The Annual Exhibition and the Open SSA+VAS exhibition. The sculptor is off to Edinburg on Saturday (tomorrow) to collect them. Some stunning photos were taken of his work in exhibition, thanks to Chris Watt (photographer) & Naomi McClure ( fellow artist in the exhibition).

Image from The Times

We were completely surprised to find out at the start of the year that he won the W Gordon Smith and Mrs Jay Gordon Smith Award for work of merit at the SSA | VAS Open 2019. So this feels like huge recognition.

In the autumn, the sculptor went to Italy to receive the first steel cut for the Cunard. This year he will set to creating and making a sculpture for the ship, the first meeting yesterday so he is just back from London, re-inspired for this huge project. He also collected work from Belgium, took some down to Oxfordshire, had a meeting in Cambridge, is getting work back from Manchester later this week and preparing for a debut back in Egypt in the spring. It is non-stop and either up and down on trains or in a hired van depending on whether sculptures are with him or not. So he is literally here, there and everywhere.

Photo by Christ Watt

I mentioned in a previous post that my own journey appears to mirror the sculptural journey. I have not ventured physically far, although my running distance and length are gradually extending and I am forever ferrying my football son to training and matches but my here, there and everywhere is more of a journey inward. As I finish up my 30 day yoga journey with Adriene YWA I am learning that I need to trust my own path. Let go of what is prescribed or following others and steer my own course. In todays yoga practice I couldn’t quite let go of the need to keep looking and watching her lead. Sometimes it can feel hard to venture off on your own path.

“Awareness returning home is awareness being enfolded by what it knows”

John De Rutter.

I also started 30 day, daily writing journal, at the beginning of the year which I think I need to try and continue the habit of, let go of the guide and listen to my inner voice. Meditations and hypnosis, reading and listening to podcasts I would also recommend to return home to yourself, for I do love winter as a time of hibernation and self development. We all take our own journey through life, we may go off in every direction, opposite and parallel. We wiggle and weave, take twists and turns but ultimately we are all heading in the same direction. The question is, what do we learn along the way?

“We are all just walking each other home.”

Ram Dass

Projects are brewing here and overseas- those twists and turns and I am positive that 2020 will bring more exciting opportunities and hopefully I will keep this little blog up to date monthly. All part of the journey.

Words flow, Words come, Words go, So I dedicate time to grow, Whilst my husband creates, Eldest plays bass, and the youngest kicks a ball at a fair pace.

Words appear, Words stick, Words release, I learn to find inner peace, Whilst my husband is prolific, Eldest plays video games-take your pick, and the youngest kicks a ball with another new trick.

Words flow, Words come, Words go. This regular morning journalling is developing a skill you know.

From Cocoon to Chrysalis. The Metamorphosis Collection

collections, Colour, Connections, Soul searching

Unintentionally I took a break from blogging in August. It strikes me that summer is a time for growth. For, the children physically, perhaps, for adults mentally. For me this summer I felt a strong need to work on self-development. I had heard that changes can happen when you turn the glorious age of 40, that shifts occur as though you are entering a new phase. I have a belief that things will fall into place for me within this decade. I didn’t realise it would be so marked.

I’ve also made a connection that my husband’s sculptural journey somehow mirrors my own life journey. So, when the boys were younger there was a heavy focus on ‘Mother and Child pieces‘, The ‘Giant collection’ when perhaps I was working through some post-natal shifts. The ‘Calligraphy collection’ as I started to outline my blog and with this latest collection during the summer months lots of links.

The metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly is a fascinating one and interestingly the boys love finding caterpillars and I love photographing butterflies. I think we all like seeing the positive result of change. This summer I have had time to reflect and do some work on my self, some self-realisation and feel, almost as if I am transitioning from a cocoon to the chrysalis. Meanwhile, the sculptor has been carving away at the ‘Metamorphosis collection’.

Matilda

‘Matilda’. The ‘Metapmorphis Collection’ by Sam Shendi

“Self-realisation is a strange term. You don’t actually realise your self.

If anything, you go away. The caterpillar enters a cocoon of meditation: A butterfly emerges, metamorphosis.” Frederick Lindemann

The Story begins with a very hungry caterpillar. The boys loved this book when they were little. I am totally that very hungry caterpillar and this is one of the aspects I am trying to evolve from! The next stage is spinning itself into a cocoon and within the protective casing radical transforms occurs. The Chrysalis is not a resting stage, a lot is happening. I think I am in that stage still and not yet quite the butterfly. It isn’t just about an external transformation, although I am working on that too. Trying to focus on active and healthy choices. It is the changes from within, re-working old habits, extending and expanding new thoughts and ideas. Shedding the layers physically and peeling away at the onion of our psychology.

“And so artistic creation is the metamorphosis of the external physical aspects of a thing into a self-sustaining spiritual reality.” Hans Hofmann

Victoria

“Victoria” from the ‘Metamorphosis Collection’. Sam Shendi 2019

I had some very liberating moments this summer and conversely some real trigger moments where I had some strong negative physical reactions to things which were happening. It is so important to navigate those trigger moments to understand what is happening in the sub-conscious and learning from them. To develop personal growth we need to acknowledge what we haven’t fully been willing to step into and where we are able to overcome those feelings. Like the caterpillar it is important to sacrifice who you are right now in order to see who you can become.

“I’d rather be this walking metamorphosis

than having that old formed opinion about everything.”  Raul Seixas

Anne

‘Anne’ part of the ‘Metamorphosis collection’. Sam Shendi 2019.

The butterfly isn’t necessarily the end result, just the start of the journey. One of discovery. Creativity. Exploration. Shapes of cocoons vary, yet there is something universally simplistic and beautiful about them. All the more intricate work happening within. As humans we have a tendency to focus on our exterior, our outer shell and leave our inner being under nourished. The work that goes on within us is transformative and the only real change we can make begins with ourselves.

I’ll write more about the sculptural concepts next time!

“It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: 

all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.” Henry Miller

 

Who am I?

Mother and Child, Relationships, Soul searching

The age old existential question, Who am I?

We can easily describe ourselves in labels, as I have done for the name of my site, The Sculptor’s Wife. We can be wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend or husband, father, brother, son but that doesn’t make us who we are. I remember my sister telling me this after she had been in a lecture where they were asked to do this exercise and she had described herself in labels. Roles, which do play an important part in what we do.

In thinking about this, I took a little quiz at www.quizony.com which  kindly told me I was balanced, emotionally stable, a calm steady force and anchor for those around me. Without blowing my own trumpet I’d say that was pretty acurate. I need to be in a house with three male Shendi’s all with artistic temperaments (whatever that means). However, this painting might suggest otherwise:

Painting of me

Painting, The Sculptor’s Wife. by Sam Shendi 2018

 

The sculptor painted this earlier in the year whilst we were doing home improvements and whilst doing so we moved around the paintings. My husband re-used an old canvas of his which had been framed. There are several amusing things about this painting. I am green, I am holding a pineapple like a baby, I am wearing a pearl necklace which I don’t own. I think I look very severe with a nose like a smurf, not calm and anchored at all. Perhaps I do look anchored. I somehow look routed to the spot not willing to move from my view point. The funny thing is I think it looks very much like my Aunty, my Dad’s sister. Although, as I have lived with this portrait staring down at me in my kitchen over the last few months it does have an air of resemblance, despite it being like a caricature. I do tend to have pink cheeks!

I started this blog nearly nine years ago almost just as a documentary for myself not with intention of people reading it. This year I am really starting to think about growing it (any tips/advice on how to greatly received). Prompting me to consider where it is going and where I am going as me, myself. My desire to write. To expand. My role as wife and mother is pretty central to my day to day living and purpose. I manage much of the admin for both our kitchen business and our expansion into the art world with sculpture. In today’s world if we are not career driven then it can be seen as not aspirational and as though being a homemaker is not ambitious enough, as though it is something from the 1950’s. I think and hope ‘we’ are turning a corner in what defines success and how to achieve happiness.

 I started this year with ‘purpose’ as an intention. Not having a resolution but a word for the year. In doing so I have set goals and now well on my way to achieving them which gives me hope for 2019. There are so many more ways to learn and self improve than doing so through a structure of a system designed by others.

Last night whilst reading to my son the character was saying that everything happened by chance. I said I didn’t agree and that when things happened it was fate. My son said they were the same thing, but in discussing it, we decided fate was more connected faith. When you have faith then everything happens for a reason. It has a more hopeful outlook than merely chance. I think I would describe myself as a woman of faith but like everything it is all a practice. In current society that brings about many challenges.

‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

For those new to reading my blog thank you for reading. I am, to use the labels, wife to the sculptor Sam Shendi. I write about the sculptures, art and day to day life with an artist and as the mother of two active and growing boys. I am seemingly, a calm, balanced regal pineapple!

You can also follow me on instagram @thesculptorswife.

 

Fragile mind, fragile heart, fragile world.

Colour, Connections, Philosophy, Soul searching

 

 

 

Often my husband uses different colours for the feet or legs, perhaps to be different. In this sculpture though the socks and body are covered in multi coloured hearts.

The boys went to school in odd socks…actually as I write that, I am wondering if the youngest one forgot that part of the criteria, too busy assembling his ripped jeans and leather jacket for non-uniform day. The eldest forgot the £1 donation and we got grid locked in traffic. So it wasn’t the most peaceful start to World Mental Health day but the sunshine quickly came out and a beautiful walk with my mum brought about the peace. Mental health isn’t just one day though, it is all the time. There has been a real push in the last couple of years to spread awareness, raise awareness and promote well-being. I think the business of work, life and technology and over stimulation of all out senses hinders our appreciation of small things and the ability to slow down. Although there is a real rise and reason in slow living and slowing down.

A number of sculptures that my husband has made delves into mental health issues. The entire ‘Mother and Child’ collection looked into the idea of depression within motherhood. The giant series we think was made through a period of time when my husband was working through a period of depression. These hand carved pieces a raw therapy in physical labour.

Oceans full of plastic, de-forestation and over farming, we take for granted the earth’s resources. There is an increase in natural disasters (although is this just a result of global communication and reporting). The world is fragile.

This piece is the second full size horse that the sculptor has created and part of a  reoccurring theme with pieces such as ‘Troy’, ‘The Ride’ and ‘Mane’ and other smaller pieces. This one is imposing (see image below of sculptor next to sculpture) also impressive but the delicate hearts soften it suggesting the fragility and  a femininity on an otherwise masculine looking sculpture. The horse is recognised for strength and resilience and yet there is also fragility. A vulnerability when they are no longer used for the purpose for which they are kept.

fragile 6

‘Fragile’ by Sam Shendi. 2018

fragile scale

Sculptor with Sculpture to show scale

This sculpture also acts as a pair to ‘Defeated Butterflies’, the bull, which went to South Africa. The difference with this piece is the cone-shaped head, a use of abstraction but with meaning. The triangle is a symbol of stability with an aim of reaching the top yet turned to the side suggest a risk, an unbalance. Furthermore, used as a trinity in Christianity and in Ancient Egyptian mysticism. Perhaps in this case, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. The geometric red block with straight and angular lines contrasts to the curvaceous form of the body softened with the dancing coloured hearts representing our emotions. The heart is caged within the ribs yet still gets broken. The heart is fragile no matter what strength or powerful body is encasing it.

Emotions are powerful and affect our thoughts. We are what we think. The mind is a powerful thing and we can get caught up in over thinking and ego. We can smile but bite away tears. We can be determined but feel doubtful.  If we were all more holistic, happier and healthy perhaps the earth itself would be stronger. Just as our thinking can affect our well-being perhaps our general well being affects the consciousness of the earth.

Checklist to think about this weekend to improve mental health:

  1. Sleep
  2. Cut out Caffeine
  3. Be active
  4. Do something for someone else
  5. Eat well
  6. Get some sunshine/Time outdoors
  7. Stay Social
  8. Keep an eye on unhealthy habits
  9. Manage Stress
  10. Have fun.

p.s. Technology is also fragile. I had to completely re-write this as somehow the scheduling didn’t work and neither did it save it.Grrrrrr. Not sure it is as well written this time but I have managed to re-do it at least and get it posted on Friday!Fragile 1

 

 

 

Who on earth was Anthony Bourdain?

collections, Philosophy, Soul searching, Uncategorized

Last Friday, towards the end of my month long self-imposed ban on social media (which I have not been very good at adhering to). I saw a dramatically written little square which caught my attention and thinking space. Grief. Weeping and outpouring. Someone had died.

widow11

Widow, 2017 Rudimentary Collection. Sam Shendi

There were several posts about this apparent icon. Anthony Bourdain. I had never heard of him. Ignorant or not, whichever camp you are in. I had to look him up on the internet. A Chef. Some of the images and comments about him made me think of my husband in certain ways. The life experience and the stories. I hadn’t heard of his books or seen any of his TV shows. I wondered fleetingly, why there was such an outpouring of despair over one man whom people probably hadn’t even met, when thousands are killed, bombed, persecuted everyday.

There is often that collective overwhelming emotion when something tragic happens, shock, confusion, empathy and probably a whole host of other sentiments. A sudden awareness that life is fragile and nothing is permanent. If we can focus on being mindful in the moment and grateful, the more we can appreciate those precious moments and find the true meaning of being happy.

That very same Friday afternoon I found out my son’s year six teacher was leaving the school. I was shocked and saddened that my youngest son wouldn’t get the golden nuggets of teaching my eldest has received. Preparing him for secondary school with confidence, self belief and optimism. Whilst I know and I am sure there are lots of good teachers, some people are just irreplaceable. I also felt deeply dissapointed that my youngest sport-loving boy wouldn’t have this amazingly sporty teacher. Despite that, it’s a couple of years before my son would have been in her class and who knows what will happen between now and then. We could even move- who knows what can happen in that space of time. I related my strong and almost violent emotion about this news to what I had been reading that morning. I really had to try and sit with my feelings and find out why I was so emotional. It was almost  parallel, so who was I to judge someone else’s overt emotion. I was feeling the same and it wasn’t even death.

This piece entitled, ‘Widow’ captures grief. It suggests the female form and there is a strong femininity about the piece. For me it is my favourite of the Rudimentary collection. When I see this piece I am reminded of a friend, not only because she is a widow but because of a memory I have from when we were young. We were canoeing on the canal and a swan, protecting her nest swam up to my friend and started pecking at her. No matter how frantic and aggressive swans can be there is an elegance, tranquility and beauty about the swan. The arch of the neck hangs down in a graceful sorrow. In mythology the swan was sacred to Venus, goddess of love. Death is all the more tragic because of love. When we love something it is hard to let it go.

Departure is very different from death but perhaps a grief still the same. Yet change is enevitable and very much a part of life. In the end everything comes to an end.

Who was Anthony Bourdain? I didn’t know him but I think when someone dies, suddenly, tragically, at a point in time where we had pressumed no expectation of that passing away, it is wake up call to and/or for ourselves. A realisation and a reminder that we don’t know when we will take our last breath. It is a journey, actually the only certain one, one which we are most often ill prepared for.

When striving for success in a career in this earthly domain it can come at a cost. It seems it did for Bourdain. It often does for artists and I know it is often a struggle for my husband who sacrifices a lot for time in the studio. A creative life doesn’t exist in a straight line and there is a risk of the unknown. Jamie Aaron states in his 11 things highly creative people sacrifice for their art, “They sacrifice the life people told them they should have for a life they love, a life that is inspiring and thrilling. Because that’s the whole point. To create is a privilege, one that artists know not to take for granted. To deny a conventional life is a risk, but not as great a risk as to deny their heart.”

Serendipitously we watched Disney’s ‘Coco’ last night after a month of not watching television (we were a bit more successful at that abstention). The story was about the inhabitants of the land of dead, the unseen world depicted gloriously in this animation, being able to pass back over into the land of living for one day, if they have been remembered by tributes. The main character has to question ‘what form of legacy matters the most and whether our personal ambitions can successfully coexist alongside our commitment to loved ones’. The main song gives a message of how important it is to remember those that have passed away.

“Remember me, though I have to say goodbye
Remember me, don’t let it make you cry
For even if I’m far away, I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you each night we are apart
Remember me, though I have to travel far
Remember me, each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you the only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again, remember me

Remember me, for I will soon be gone
Remember me, and let the love we have live on
And know that I’m with you the only way that I can be
So, until you’re in my arms again, remember me”

Life is a spiritual experience by the very nature of being conscious, by being aware. The sculptor’s work often explores the idea that the body is simply a vessel. We are essentially souls experiencing the world through the body. But the soul is unseen. So perhaps death is simply the end of the body in this world. The soul returns.

“For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.” Kahlil Gibran

 

How to know reality?

Colour, Connections, Relationships, Soul searching

To follow last weeks post about the sculpture ‘Mademoiselle‘ and my memory of Paris, I will keep with the Paris theme. This week’s sculpture is The Woman in the Red Hat.

woman1

‘Woman in the Red Hat’, Sam Shendi 2017

 

Are Memories are identification? Our mind is made up of our thoughts and what we are thinking and believing.

When I was in Paris in February many years ago I was by myself. I wonder now if I had an image of Paris in the spring but it was really still winter and I didn’t have enough warm clothes with me. I rang my husband home in England who told me to go and purchase a jumper. I don’t know why that thought hadn’t occurred to me. Too often do I not realise that money is a tool to be used to our advantage. I am not sure I made a particularly good choice. Why didn’t I buy a lovely warm coat? Whatever money I had then or not doesn’t serve me now. So I came out of the shop with a rather thin pink hoodie and a brown skirt. I went into places to keep warm, museums, shops and boutiques. Bought some perfume and a pair of earrings. Took lots of photos and then decided to go to the hairdressers and dye my hair red. So with my splattering of French I communicated to the hairdresser who didn’t have much English that I wanted it short and red. I can visualise the small shop, myself sitting on the left hand side of the salon and there I spent a few warm hours and some more money. Back then I was young, had no responsibilities, no ties but I wasn’t as calm, content and settled as I am now.

Sometimes when we look at a snapshot in time we can project an idea, a thought, a reality that is or isn’t true. Today with all the social media tools and images people post we can start to easily believe that others have it easy, more care free, happier, better. Whatever. It can create jealousy, resentment, anger, mistrust.

It all begins with our own thinking. We make a moment, with what we think and feel at that point in time. Someone else’s photograph may capture smiles and sunshine but it doesn’t capture what that person is thinking and believing in that moment and it could be their version of hell.

Imagine a woman walking down the Champs Elysee in a red hat. Audrey Hepburn springs to mind. She walks confidently. Self assured. She knows what she wants and how to get it. Her mind is clear. She is free of all negative thoughts which could constrict her. She is free of worry or concern. Everything around her is there to serve her. She is happy and healthy. She wears her red hat unconcerned about what any one else thinks. She has black stilettos and a colourful dress which she choose that morning. She is going out for coffee and will probably have a croissant.  She is unconcerned about her appearance. She is happy with how she looks. She will sit at the cafe and read a while, watch the people walking past. She is happy to be alone. Alone with her thoughts. She questions constantly what she thinks and what she believes.