‘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.

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.

‘Big step’, towards…

Uncategorized

big-step-forward

‘Big Step’ 2016 Sam Shendi

This is the latest piece in the Giant Collection which I wrote about in an earlier post, the other two now stand proudly in Berkeley square house, London. Yesterday this piece, with much relief just about fitted into the hired van and went down to London with the sculptor and his right hand man. It is to be exhibited this week in Flux exhibition which was covered in FAD magazine. ( which you can see in the link). Anyway, enough of the promotion.

The Giant collection looks at stages in mental depression. Despite class or education most people all share a high level of knowledge and depth of thought. Looking through the history of art, some of the best art has been produced at a time of depression that the artist went through. The “Giant” collection speaks of three periods of depression which resulted in three sculptures presenting, the beginning with the silent period (Bird whisperer) and the middle period when every small thing becomes a heavy weight on your shoulders (Atlas). Lastly, the break through when the person comes out through the other side (Big Step).   This collection is brightly coloured even though its portraying a dark period. Some of us agree that the period of depression is a period of realisation and self discovery. Sometimes we need that grappling with ourselves to become enlightened.

big-step-with-sculptor

I like this photo above because of the shadows, which play an important role in my husbands work. With himself in the picture we can see the scale of this work but also his shadow is cast within the shadow of the sculptor, as though the sculptor is within his sculpture.

When asked how he created his masterpiece, Michelangelo said, “It was easy. You just chip away that which does not look like David.” I think my husband works in this same way. He sees the sculpture within the material.

Whilst my husband is focusing on the art of creating art. I have been looking into the art of tidying and de-cluttering in order to make more space within the space of our home. One of my discoveries was Maura, who uses the Michelangelo quote and goes on to say. “What if our lives are our masterpiece? What if we chipped away all that was unnecessary, all the clutter and the busyness, and focused on that which really mattered – our passions and our relationships.”

A few months ago I read Marie Kondo’s book The art of tidying which prompted me to start with clothing and thinking about what ‘Spark’s joy’. But now I am more in a state of purging, of de-cluttering and de-owning things that really don’t serve any purpose. It’s an interesting battle as I look at a shelf and think I want that to be empty and free, that’s easy. It’s hard when you first look at something and somehow it has memories and attachments for what ever reason. However, It is so liberating though when it works. In my kitchen, I got rid of things I wasn’t using, re ordered the cupboards and have created more work surface area.  As the sculptor is now in London for a few days with the exhibition, I have boys and business and home and school to manage. Yesterday evening we came in late after Taekwando and despite being unorganised in not knowing what we were having for tea, the tidy kitchen surfaces aided my ability to create a vegan concoction (as it was world vegan day apparently). So ratatouille was rustled up and couscous and stuffed peppers, thanks to Deliciously Ella, but alas in an attempt to de-clutter the freezer I had to cook the world’s most spiciest sausages (not so vegan) for the boys just incase the veggie attempts were too scary. They had great pleasure in daring each other to eat as many pieces of sausage without drinking any water. Needless to say those sausages will not be bought again,though they did have the advantage of being in a cardboard box not plastic. This is my other consideration at the moment, as I de-clutter and then look at how much waste we produce from a household of four- a ridiculous amount! The zero waste movement seems to be the next step after de-cluttering, not sure how I will get everyone onboard with that idea!

As I delve into this strange cyber world of woman tidying up their houses, I realise and am reminded that in normal everyday conversation we rarely speak of the state of our house work. This leads me nicely to a writer in New Zealand who’s latest published piece ‘Homework‘ looks into the demands of domesticity and how perhaps we have lost the dignity in priding ourselves on how we keep our house. When people ask me what do I do, do I say home maker?

So, to my last link, of this very heavily laden linked post, and back to the sculpture: what breakthroughs are you making today? What big steps forward are you taking? At home, at work, in your art? What are you chipping away at? Keep at it. Best foot forward.

big-step-fr