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

 

 

 

Strange Sensations and Slow art

Colour, Connections, Exhibitions, Public Art, Soul searching

The first week of the holiday ended and I had felt smug at how well I had managed the days with the relentless rain and keeping busy. Yoga, breathing and letting it all flow working with me well. However by the second week with less yoga practice and illness I felt personal tested because the weather was so good. I had had several ideas for active boys but I have had the most odd and strange fever. It sounds dramatic but when you have an infection it is as though an alien has taken over your body. However, it makes you grateful for your health and appreciate that for some people who can be their state of being on a more permanent basis.

So for the last weekend of the holidays, feeling a little bit more normal I planned to take the boys to a local museum where I had seen a little advert for ‘slow art day’ with a child friendly image of a tortoise. I thought that would suit us all as it was about the pace I was working at – tortoise pace. When I looked into a bit more I realised it wasn’t a kids holiday making activity but an annual event celebrated around the world with the idea of taking time to look and appreciate 5 pieces of art work and then discussing it. I think this is a fab idea but I couldn’t envisage not feeling hundred percent with two boys on the run, more at a hare’s pace, in a gallery space.

This was the general theme of the holidays, having plans and then them not quite happening, always a good lesson to learn. So here are some images of our own slow art the boys did at home and over the holidays on the rainy days.

slow art

Having a first day to myself yesterday after the two-week holiday with the boys, I went for a walk and realised walking helps me to think through ideas. It enables me to hear my voice in the peaceful sounds of nature. My husband has been busy working through an idea in clay, a preparation for a larger piece. He was telling me how he has realised he carves the whole thing in his mind before hand almost like watching himself do it in his mind’s eye.

On my walk, I took a moment to sit on a bench in a field with a large oak tree and a stream running through it eat. I noticed something I hadn’t seen before, a plaque with a poem by William Henry Davis:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

So I sat, ate my apples and reflected. I am conscious I am always hurrying the boys and think about articles about ‘The hurried child’. It is important to slow down and do things at a pace that makes us appreciate. My husband is driving with loyal driver and designer Anthony Hartley to Surrey to put these pieces (images below) in the wonderful Hannah Peschar sculpture garden. So if you are in that neck of the woods (odd expression but seemed appropriate) then take a slow wander around the beautiful surroundings amongst stunning sculptures and works of art.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.Henry David Thoreau

Bird now orange

‘The Branch’ by Sam Shendi

Ride now purple

‘The Ride’ by Sam Shendi

Love and other drugs.

Beautiful Bronze, Egyptian, Mother and Child, Relationships, Soul searching

Sunday saw the start of yet another bug in our household, a really nasty one that has my eldest and I still suffering on the sofa. So, it was nice to see this piece ‘Patience’ back home though restored after the fire and looking highly polished and reflective, looking very different to before. Patience, so needed when you are poorly. Especially as it was the start to the holidays and I had lots of things planned to do with the boys.

'Patience restored'

‘Patience restored’

This week’s illness has really taught me to be much more patient and gentle with my eldest soon who is ever so often fighting off illness. It has really taught me how to be a bit more ‘motherly’ in my care towards him. I am quite a believer in the body’s ability to naturally fight infection and also that it  is our bodies way of purifying. Not in a negligent way. I give the children calpol but when the doctor insist there isn’t anything stronger needed, I don’t really push for it. Although, I am starting to get a bit concerned about how frequently we get poorly in our household. When it come to being poorly I am all for the love and homeopathic approach. Perhaps also because it’s not long since that due to lengthy nursing and two pregnancies i couldn’t take strong medication. However, I have indulged in a Lemsip and a few adol (paracetamol) and that seems enough for me.

My sister-in-law in Egypt who is a pharmacist, really noticed the different approach when she was here in December sent me a message. She sent me  a message  asking how we all were, so I gave her our weeks account of our illnesses. She wrote to me, ” oh you poor girl, take one of the antibiotics’ I brought you and a pill for flu and an adol pill and you will be fine in an hour, you amaze me you English people with your patience about sickness!!! Move off the sofa and take meds now! I had to laugh I now understood my Husband’s lack of sympathy. He had told me to take medication. If there is a simple solution to a problem then that is the obvious solution. I can understand it, when you see your child particularly suffering you want to just get them better quick. In Egypt they can’t stand illness and suffering and pharmacies are a business where most sold items are medicines not cosmetics. My sister in Law thinks it will require 50 years or more till the medical system is one like here, “Souls are not yet so valuable”.

So I did a little research and here is why we don’t dish out drugs easily here….. “Studies from around the world have shown that between 40 and over 90% of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. In many parts of Africa, where antibiotics are commonly available from unsanctioned providers, it will be worth educating the general populace about the consequences of irrational antibiotic resistance.” ‘Antibiotic Resistance in Africa’ (Iruka N. Okeke* and Anibal Sosa†)

The Department of Health in the UK advocates that;

  • Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at a rate that is both alarming and irreversible – similar to global warming.
  • Urge patients and prescribers to think about the drugs they are requesting and dispensing.
  • Bacteria are adapting and finding ways to survive the effects of antibiotics, ultimately becoming resistant so they no longer work. And the more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.”
  • Antibiotic resistance is not new, but more action is needed now to tackle this global problem if we are to keep pace with its development.” (Professor Dame Sally Davies)
'Patience'

‘Patience’

The UK is leading the way in responding to EU calls for action, with the development of a new cross-Government Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Action plan, which will be published by the Department of Health next year.
The strategy will champion responsible use of antibiotics, and build on ongoing work to:

  • slow down the development of antibiotic resistance
  • maintain the efficacy of existing antibiotics
  • develop new antibiotics and alternative treatments
  • investigate the link between antibiotic use in animals and the food chain, and the spread of resistance in people
  • minimise antibiotics entering the environment in other ways
'Paitence'

‘Patience’

So I do believe it has reason to exercise patience when poorly, strengthen our natural defences and immune systems but most importantly  in educating  and developing an understanding into the problems with using antibiotics. Sometimes the quick fix isn’t the best long-term solution. So despite the best laid plans for this weeks holiday and my initial frustration with having to stay put, I also learnt that some times laughter, lemsips and love are the best kind of drugs!