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.

Collateral Beauty

Mother and Child, Relationships, Soul searching
21766289_10154704271292015_296765248417173416_n

“Memories of my lost child” 2016. Sam Shendi

I have been struggling to write about this piece mainly because I have no experience of losing a child; for which I am thankful for. Nevertheless, it is my greatest fear and in some kind of cathartic practise when I embarked on writing a piece of fiction two years ago (which amounted in a huge number of words now sat festering in my computer’s memory) I made my central theme the idea of losing a child. With the idea of finding some sort of peace and resolve afterwards. However, I still feel a fraud and so perhaps that is why I can’t finish it.

Recently we watched a film, which reminded me that there is no original thought and my idea had almost already been explored-so good at making excuses. The film didn’t get good reviews but I loved it.  The idea of time, death and love personified. That our children come through us (I think that idea was probably taken from Gibran : see below) and that when someone dies, “be sure to notice the collateral beauty.”

On Children –Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Something traumatic in loosing someone through death, especially when they are young may take a lifetime to understand if ever. The concept of the film though is that in that dark and unhappy place there was still love. The beauty is that love continues even after and through death. Death reminds us that we need to be present in every moment because we have no control over our last.

I started to think of other meanings for this piece of work, not just “The memory of my lost child” to death but loosing a child just for a moment. I have experienced that and it is scary enough. It is hard to stop all the fears and worries that flood the mind. It led me to thinking about when parents feel they have lost their child to something else or someone else or somewhere else and how in the mind of the parent they think they have ‘lost’ their child. The complexity of the parent-child relationship is that they are so dependant on you and at each stage you are aware of them “moving away” becoming more independent. As a parent the need may seem to disappear but  the role changes and continually shifts.

The inspiration for this piece for my husband was a strong awareness of the impact the death of his cousin had on his Uncle. The story is tragic and traumatic causing a ripple within the family. This piece is a dedication of that event in my husband’s life but one that resonates with so many for their own individual reason.

However ‘whole’ you might appear the loss means there is always part of you missing. You are missing someone and that has an effect on your whole being.

lost child shafow

‘Oh, Sit down’

Public Art

bench 7 bench hilton bench hilton 3 bench hilton 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another day, another journey, another sound, another sculpture. Another trip to London for the sculptor and the alarm was set for 2.30, which shrilly woke us both up. I can’t complain though. I got a lie in because the puppy went for his first long road trip and for me, just having the two boys felt like a ‘doddle’ for the first time! We still only just managed to get to school on time though as I did several jobs and left getting ready to go to the shop, until the last-minute as usual. A little bit worried about the puppy in the van but need not be as apparently he has been fine. The complication, as there always has to be one is that both sculptor and right hand man have coincidentally left their wallets in their cars. Let’s just hope they can re-fuel and don’t have to sit on the roadside like last time!

A few more sculptures were delivered to the Hignell Gallery, so they now have several pieces from the Calligraphy collection. The main purpose for the trip though, seems a bit surreal as the mission is to collect ‘The Bench’ from London but it still feels premature to declare its new home as the ink has not dried as they say. It was monumental that it was positioned across from Canary Wharf for over 6 months after being in Bradford. The sculpture itself will have sat and rested in very different locations.

The piece was created I seem to recall, in thinking of a  sculpture for a hospital, with the idea of people supporting each other. Furthermore, the idea that public benches hold memories for all the people who have sat and contemplated, thought, spoken, cried, celebrated over the years in that one place. Symbolic in that the bench doesn’t see the differences between, colour, education, class but contains the memory of everyone who has passed by.

It is also  the most minimalistic way of showing a male and a female, with references of Henry Moore’s King and Queen it is a  modern 21st century interpretation. As with all my husband’s work, the simple brightly coloured exterior is a way to attract your attention but the deeper meaning a message to contemplate.

This morning my eldest and I looked at the words of an old piece of paper with Desiderata, that I used to have in the bathroom growing up. It seemed to inspire him as it has done me over the years. Memories can be found in strange places. As I listened to the band James on Radio 2 today it takes me back to the journey of growing up with their anthems as a soundtrack. 25 years since they realised ‘Sit down’. So find a bench to sit on and ‘sit down’ and remember.

Desiderata

 

Then & Now

Exhibitions, Soul searching

So much is happening I haven’t had chance to write. Actually, I have had time to write I’ve been reading instead. No, it has been busy and is very busy. Last week, it was London again for the private view of ‘THEN & NOW’ which is currently showing at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery. It always preoccupies me, that thought of when you are in a moment it is the ‘now’ and if you really savour the moment it can become an ingrained memory. Becoming the ‘Then’. When significant things or extraordinary things happen it is a little easy to do. For example, I can remember when I was in Japan stood on the balcony of the Leonard Cheshire Home where I was working and looking out at the trees and thinking, I may not be here again, I must remember this. I do remember that, although it seems like it was a different person then to the one sat here now. Now, this morning, I told myself must savour this day with my 5-year-old off school unwell. MMMmmm with a 2-year-old unable to have his afternoon nap it got a little chaotic to say the least. Not sure my mindfulness was in full focus as the day went on. May well not go down as one of those remembering days. Partly also because I  got increasingly stressed trying to sort out ferry journeys for the next exhibition this week, Amsterdam. Here, I come….I wish. Perhaps, for me these exhibitions will be in the future, ‘then’.