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.
‘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.
I have caught some beautiful days this summer. Wandering. Walking. Captivated by the clouds and flowers this year. Always looking up for some loftier inspiration. I dart around like the swallows in my pursuit for easier homemaking, exercise, minimising and reducing waste, writing and looking after our business and the boys. Reminded recently about the need to be grateful for the place where we are at, both mentally and physically. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world. Sometimes grounding ourself in the importance of seeing something through, brings us back to earth.
Sky Earth Water (2016)
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.
At the beginning of this year we were anticipating the new Marvel movie which was coming out in April, we went to the cinema highly excited about the possibility of seeing the sculpture on set but came away disappointed. We saw nothing.
This week we were able to sit in the comfort of our living room with the technology of pause and rewind at the click of a button we found it. I couldn’t believe it. Then we painstakingly went through the credits and found ‘Sam Shendi’. Another lesson in patience, setbacks and then results.
Yesterday, it was Stan Lee’s birthday, his Marvel comic super hero creations inspired my husband when he was younger. He sat in his bedroom in a little village in northern Egypt and drew super heroes. Who would have thought then that one day he would have a piece of art work in a Marvel movie. A sculpture in-shot with Captain America, Thor and Tony Stark. Dare to dream. Marvelous.
‘Sliced’ by Sam Shendi
Avengers Age of Ultron movie paused. ‘Sliced’ sculpture right of ‘Thor’s’ head.
Credits – Sam Shendi, 3rd line below NASA.