Balance, Birds and ‘The Bough’.

collections, Connections, Relationships

“Balance does not mean merely balancing the body. Balance in the body is the foundation for balance in life. In whatever position one is in, or whatever condition in life one is placed, one must find balance. Balance is the state of the present-the here and now. If you balance in the present, you are living in Eternity. When the intellect is stable, there is no past, no future, only present.” Excerpt from Light on Life, Balance/Evenness is Harmony)

Balance is something I have been trying to achieve for a while within my mental space and also my physical body. I write ‘achieve’ and realise that it’s not about getting there but finding some kind of harmony within. I have a tendency towards extremes, in many areas of my life. For about eight years I have been dipping in and out of an at home yoga practice but this year I have managed to cultivate a daily yoga practice, over 120 days straight and still going. Helped immensely by the accountability of doing it in tandem with my Mum. This is really helping my mental balance, moving ideas from the mat into life, then breathing through the challenges and accepting what is happening in the present moment. Still not easy but I can sense a little shift. ‘Balance is my natural state’, is a great mantra for realising that I can return to this equilibrium.

My last homeopathic remedy was to help me return to a more balanced state and interestingly, a bird remedy. Birds feature heavily in the poems I write and also in my husband’s sculptures. There is natural liberation in the ability to fly and the need for an innate sense of balance. Birds seem to represent infinite possibilities, eternity. I feel drawn to birds, creatures captivating in their movement. My Mum has always said my name, ‘Tamsin’ means little bird but I can’t find where she may have found that out from as my own research leads to it meaning ‘twin’. Still, I like the idea of my name having a bird association. The other morning on one of our daily walks we were mesmerised by a pair of Hawkes or Kites gliding and darting high above and then more immediately in our sight line two swallows dancing and almost swimming in the air. Birds are often used by creatives to represent thought, imagination and loftiness of spirit, which is why I think I am drawn to them. The sculptor uses them in his work to represent a voice, achievements, and dreams.

This sculpture, ‘The Bough’ is titled as the idea of humanity shouldering the responsibility of nature, being the main branch laden with the blossoms of life. Exploring the idea of being custodians of the natural habitat, the figure looks as though he is flying or diving into life, balancing nature on their back. Synonymously the idea of humanity and the interaction with nature and the plinth representing contemporary society.

How can we balance these components in today’s world?

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

The Great White Horse

Drawings, Making, Relationships

When I was in primary school, year two (although it wasn’t called that back then) we did some kind of medieval project and made wish bags. We had to write what we wished for and then seal them in these fabric bags. I wrote ‘horse’. I am not sure why, it is one of a few memories I have from being an infant, yet I didn’t go horse riding or really show any interest in horses I don’t think. Maybe, it was the era of ‘my little pony’- I don’t know. Not long before I had my own children boys I booked myself a lesson and even that memory seems very hazy but I was obviously allergic. When the boys were small I took them on a horse trek and walking beside them wasn’t the best idea, my eyes were itchy, I couldn’t stop sneezing. However, there is something about the horse that still appeals to me.

Meanwhile, over in Egypt my husband was growing up surrounded by animals and horses, mainly because of his grandfather. So riding was a past time of his. In many of the villages around his childhood home wedding celebrations would include a dancing horse. Not sure if the horses danced because of the rhythm of the music or they were trained to, either way, it was the sculptor’s favourite thing to watch.

The first lockdown this year resulted in the sculptor producing a collection of drawings, mainly of animals and amphibians. In this second lockdown the sculptor has been drawing horses. This is the story which inspired the collection.

Whilst at University the sculptor was living with other students, one was an interior designer. He asked one day if my husband would like to go horse riding with him. The sculptor promptly said yes and was instructed that they would be riding near to the pyramids at about four in the morning. The sculptor found this a strange time due to the darkness so asked why. His friend told him that there were some magnificent horses, not allowed out in public for the tourists to ride but kept in the stables.

The sculptor went with the interior designer to a very unusual place near the pyramids in the early hours before the dawn. They were the only people awake. The friend knocked on a seemingly random door. An old man opened, greeted the friend with familiarity saying, “the same horses”? The friend replied, “yes”.

After a short walk, a stable door was opened and there was the giant white horse, clearly not of an Arab bloodline. My husband had never seen something that large in his life. He fell in love immediately with grand horses. Not interested in speed but the idea of a creature so powerful with solid muscles cutting through the air with beauty and holding a dynamic gracefulness- perhaps this is the point of view of the sculptor. Always looking at shape and form.

The sculptor insisted on riding this grand horse despite it being the one for his friend. He observed his friend’s disappointment. The stable man stated that he wouldn’t be able to handle him and that the friend was used to riding him. As soon as my husband mounted the horse’s back, he reared up and tipped him off. It then took him a second or two from the shock and everyone laughing around him, for him to realise what had happened. He got up and got straight back on. Gently touching the mane he slowly built up speed upon the horse. Maybe the horse had wanted to send him a message that the horse was the one in control.

In the darkness of the night some how the desert was lit up by the stars, or the sparks from the friends horse running so fast ahead on the the stony ground. The great white horse got faster until it was as though the sculptor was no longer riding a horse. The horse was a soft gentle rocking chair. The sculptor was so confident as the cold breeze hit his face from the speed and yet he felt on top of a feather. At this point his hands let go, stretching out to his sides. For a brief moment he believed he was no longer on earth. Perhaps, floating between land and sky. He felt free.

Maybe the horse experienced it too. The horse and sculptor were one. It was an experience he will never forget.

The Sculptor & Sons get a dog despite me saying no!

collections, Colour, Making

In July, just after the first lockdown my family and I took a day trip to the east coast for a seaside excursion. As many others had also had the same idea, we tried to social distance on the beach. My mother who was recovering from a major operation was acutely aware of the many dogs barking. My brother, who’d recently returned from Australia because of our mum’s health and the world pandemic situation was loving observing the dog. He made quips about how great it would be to be one, have one, just generally loving the idea of dogs. Whilst I, on the other hand couldn’t think of anything worse. Mainly, I think because we got a little dog when the boys were still too small to assist in the responsibility of it all and it tipped me over the edge. However, even before that, the sculptor and I had a doberman for about 6 months until the sculptor was in a car crash and I was heavily pregnant. I managed a few months more but I think he was nine or ten months old, we made the sad decision to re-home, Troy (and he was our second doberman also but that’s a whole other story). So, for me I was never going to have a dog again. Tried and failed. I think for me there is a big fear of failure but I am learning late in life that failure is a very very important and crucial element to success. Also, I wonder if I was rather conscious of ‘what other people would think’, again, learning that my people-pleasing traits have down sides.

Dream Catcher IV, Harlequin Collection

So, how by August did we end up with a six month old doberman pup? I am pretty sure it had something to do with the Harlequin collection which the sculptor created, made and completed during lockdown. A collection of five mystical, whimsical, imaginative creations. A product of the time we are in? A reflection of madness, mask wearing, dream like, bizarre fantastical creations. I have just featured Dream Catcher IV in this post as I think he was the culprit!

I certainly think the sculptor starting imagining having a creature wandering around along side him. The boys and their father have continually discussed when and how they would get a dog; breeds and training. I remained ever hopeful that this was just all creative talk! So when they proposed the idea in July I said a vehement ‘no’. I wasn’t on board. It didn’t seem to deter their plans. I felt immediate upset, that I was being put in this position. Felt that my opinions were not being heard. I felt overwhelming sadness which quickly turned to anger and then resentment. My youngest, in persuasion told me to “open my heart and take a leap of faith”. My eldest in consolation told me that they had heard my point of view but that didn’t necessarily mean I had to have it my way. This was an interesting learning curve for me about vocalising my opinion, being heard, being understood but not necessarily getting your own way or being ‘right’. Not that there was a right or wrong in this situation but it did feel like three against one!

So I did a lot of journaling. I took a 6 week meditation course. I breathed in and out. Try it! I learnt a lot. Perhaps, stemming right back to when I was nine years old, we moved house to a new county, started a new school, my brother was born and my dog died all in the space of about five months. Sometimes the way we look at life is governed by our early experiences which lie buried in the subconscious. “History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order & direction”, Bill Watterson

The doberman (who the boys had decided to name, Troy again) arrived very early Monday morning at the beginning of August he mirrored all of my emotions. Bewildered, confused, scared, tired, shocked, displaced and I watched and observed as my boys took on the challenge in excitement and lapped up the responsibility of having a very large pet. I left them to it. Dogs it would seem have different personalities and this new doberman just didn’t fit into the name of Troy, so we named him the name he’d arrived with with; Kalvin with a ‘K’. The appropriately named cartoon ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ by Bill Watterson, has many quotes that seem to fit my relationship journey with this dog, Kalvin.

I ticked along a little bit but then had a bit or a relapse. All the emotions came up again and I questioned the story. But we all have choices, in each moment. In decisions we make and emotions we choose to carry. We can either focus on dwelling in the past, or in an imagined future and over think or we can focus on acceptance and learn from any situation. In wasting time thinking about the what ifs and the whys we can often hinder our progress. Over analysing gets us nowhere. Srikumar Rao says, “Think of the universe as a benevolent parent. A child may want a tub of ice cream and marshmallows, but a wise parent will give it fruits and vegetables instead. That is not what the child wants, but it is what the child needs.”

So I focused on what I was being given. The positives were we had family days out in the summer days of August and September, we started going to bed earlier, getting up earlier and the boys have their own little independent time walking the dog together in the evenings.

Then, of course, one of the reasons I had not wanted to have a dog, came quickly round to see how well I could cope. My serving of vegetables ( not sure this analogy works with me as I love veg). Anyway, my husband’s exhibition in Egypt suddenly was able to go ahead with little lead time and he left for just over 2 weeks in October for, ‘Motherland’, which I have just written about.

The challenges we face in life are often our greatest teachers but it is so often hard to see it at the time. The two weeks for me felt like I regressed into survival mode. My first walks out alone with ‘the boys’ doberman’ were hesitant, I was nervous and I projected it. I kept explaining to other dog walkers that I was just looking after him whilst my husband was away. “I wondered, is it better to do the right thing and fail or is it better to do the wrong thing and succeed?” Bill Watterson

After Kalvin had arrived I was talking with another Mum at football who said they’d re-homed their first dog which made me realise that perhaps it is more common than I thought. We didn’t necessarily ‘fail’ at have a family pet the first time but the conditions weren’t right for us at that point in time and the personality of the dog we had hadn’t helped. I felt that by the end of intensive two weeks together that I grew in confidence and we are slowly becoming friends. However, I was shattered when the sculptor returned and was relieved. I continue to enjoy our autumnal walks and I try to relax watching the boys play and train their dog.

It can be hard as mothers to reclaim time for ourselves. A resurrection of remembering what makes us individual, aside from the role we play within the family, particularly as a mother but it is so important for identity and self-development, for ourselves and for our children. “We all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.” Unearthing why I didn’t want a dog enabled me to find what I did want. So many things but some of them include, freedom, nature and exercise and having a dog certainly encourages rather than prohibits all of that. So I am leaning towards the bright side. It’s a journey but such a good healing tool.

“You know what’ s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change but pretty soon….everything is different.”

Bill Watterson.

‘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.

Victoria, Anne and Matilda

collections, Colour, Connections

September is gone and October arrived and with it so many butterflies. Victoria and Anne and Matilda are sat round the table doing free flowing writing exercises, like the Bronte sisters did. I only know that because last week I went to a poetry workshop in Haworth. Lead by the poet Clare Shaw with her beautifully broad Lancashire accent who poetically spoke of Emily, Anna and Charlotte as though we were there with them. Names. Interesting how we name things and they become so. For these sculptural cocoons my husband named them old Queens of England. Read into this whatever you like; history, identity, nationality, royal family.

The philosophy of these pieces is based upon something the famous sculptor Michelangelo is quoted for, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. As though there is a life form within the material being manitpulated, asking for release,  finding a way for freedom from the restraints within the cocoon of medium. My husband’s sculptural journey is often  exploring ‘within’,looking at keeping that statue trapped. Not allowing the ‘breaking free’ process to occur and focusing on the development of the chrysalis. As the sculptor, I suppose this is his licence, to keep it under wraps.  A butterfly just tapped on the window, as I write which gives me a sign I am on the right track.

My interest is in the naming. The famous sculpture of Michelangelo is ‘David’. When we view the sculpture ‘David’ we see a carved figure of a human form. It is unlike earlier Renaissance depictions of ‘David’, the biblical hero standing over Goliath. Michelangelo’s pose is before the battle actually takes place. Over time sculptural practice changes and develops with shifts in materials, philosophy, ideas, the things that inform the world around us. As much as we can still carve materials into almost exact replicas of things, there has to be an evolution to creativity. My husband is making reference to the title of ‘David’ by naming the art work female names in the same way. This creates a story around the sculpture and asks the viewer to question the form. It  suggests that the figure is within the form but additional addresses the idea of what the human form actually is and to think of the body as simply a vessel, to look beyond shape. This concept is prevalent in much of my husband’s work. He is exploring the idea that we are so much more than our bodies  but congruently, sculpturally, this collection is all about form, shape, mass, volume.

Almost at the same time as this collection was completed my husband won a project  which we currently have to keep ‘under wraps’.  A project which has meant a trip to London yesterday for the sculptor. The link between the titles of these sculptures and the up and coming project is a little bit like my constant observation of butterflies. All signs and symbols that everything is unfolding as it should.

 

The Metamorphosis Collection

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

 

Yin & Yang is life

Connections, Exhibitions, Relationships

Life isn’t always black and white. It’s technicolour, pastel, vibrant, dull, shades of grey.

Yin and Yang is the ancient chinese philosophy of dualism. Symbolising how opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected and interdependent with each other.

Rather than opposing one another two different things can work in harmony. Shadow can not exist without light. The sculptor and I, are defiantly Yin and Yang and this has taught me a great deal. Living, working and raising two children with someone who is very different is extremely interesting. It has had its challenges but the laughter far aways those and for the boys hugely beneficial.

As individuals we all meet the darkness, dip into negative thoughts, doubts and fears and yet we also have days when we think we have wings and can fly. The beauty of life is riding those highs and lows and understanding without one we wouldn’t have the other. Important to master though, is the ability to reduce the time in those miserable moments to just moments rather than days and months and years. Finding the right balance.

Yin and Yang by Sam Shendi 2019

Despite all our differences; culture, religion, language, sex, political view point, we all share essential human emotions. This is what make us human. This is ultimately the main theme of my husband’s work. To enable us to understand our shared humanity. We shouldn’t need to define ourselves with labels, groups, with what makes us the same as or identify as being ‘not the same’ as someone else.

We are all individuals, unique and yet we are all one. Duality and unity. Yin and Yang. I love how when these two sculptures face each other it is almost heart shaped. When we accept others for who they are and we can accept ourselves we would be congruence with the true nature of humanity.

This pair have been in at an Artiq exhibition in London for the past 10 days. As I write the sculptor is on the way to collect them to bring them back to the studio and also deliver a piece for the Royal British Society of Sculptor’s summer exhibition. It’s all balance.

Liverpool Plinth Winner 2019

Awards, Colour, Connections, Exhibitions, History, Public Art
Split Decision outside the church

Today is summer solstice, the longest day of the year which gives me extra time to get this written. Well, obviously not really but I am trying to use the daylight and sunshine to my advantage.

Another year which is speeding by with its struggles but also with success. This time last week ‘Split Decision’ was unveiled as the winner of the Liverpool Plinth competition, positioned on a plinth outside the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas. The sculptor entered three pieces into the competition made possible by Dot-art and Liverpool BID company. It wasn’t a commission. This piece was made 2 years ago and fortuitously hadn’t been exhibited anywhere before. We assumed he hadn’t won the competition or even been shortlisted because, back in May we still hadn’t heard anything . However, there had been a little delay in the announcement and so we were double thrilled to find out that he had won it. 

Last Friday, the rain just about held off and the sculptor enjoyed a fantastic day in Liverpool with important people and press. He kept phoning me with updates. I love the photo below where he is being interviewed and is beaming from ear to ear.

 

It feels a pinnacle of the journey so far, to be on a public plinth for a year, gaining publicity and exposure. It has been fascinating reading the initial public reaction, my first response was of anger at some of the comments but the sculptor is at a point in his career where he understands that art will provoke both positive and negative feedback, both are valid. The fact that it is creating conversation, for him, is the benefit and what he is looking for.

 

content of plaque on the wall below

I am so proud and can’t wait to take the boys to see it over the summer holidays. It felt very serendipitous to me that this first very public event was in Liverpool. My father was born there and as a family we have supported Liverpool’s football team for decades. There felt a strong link and connection.

So if you are in the north of England and passing by Liverpool, take a trip round the one way system that almost made my husband late for his own event!

The sculpture is facing out towards the famous water front. You can’t miss it.

Photos taken by Andy Garrett