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

 

 

 

‘Toy’ to a new home

Conceptual, Philosophy

Another blogger /writer, a mother, wrote about how she put all the children’s toys in black bin liner and hid them in the studio. She left just one or two toys out and if the child asked for something particular she resurrected it. She noticed however that her child was playing more imaginatively and productively. I quite regularly re-home toys in an effort to make more space especially in the boys shared room. They are sometimes good at giving things to charity. We recently split a large basket of animals into piles of which we would keep and ones we would give away. This was a little harder as the eldest loves animals, so some that were originally for charity crept back into the basket. I wish I could be as ruthless and bag everything up and start with a blank slate again, introducing just a few toys. Even I find it difficult though to let go, a hoarder by heart. I will pick something up and think ‘ah but they played so nicely with that last month!’ We attach ourselves to things unnecessarily. We place value on them to much.

Yesterday, on returning from the studio finishing off getting ‘The Toy’ ready my husband likened creating a sculpture to being a mother. I understood the analogy but I don’t agree (that’s the mother speaking). However, I totally understood that he felt a little saddened in saying goodbye to ‘The Toy’ which he is taking today to a new home. It was a piece that started on our kitchen table with ‘Blood, sweat and tears’. For this piece is in some ways so more than a sculpture, it is a concept, an idea, a philosophy. One day it would be fantastic to produce it in bronze. It is a piece which often produces a negative reaction. Unlike most of the other works it holds a dark, disturbing image but sometimes it is those harder to swallow ideas that have the strongest message.

This piece is different from the majority of the work but my husband couldn’t find any better way to present his thoughts. With these mediums and this design, it speaks about the 21st century, the society that we live in. The fact the most people work hard and yet don’t go anywhere, like a rocking horse. However long it rocks it stays in the same place. The skeleton is black to show the time that we are in, when fuel has become more important than human life or any living creature, think oil spills and images of birds and sea creatures coated in petrol. The horse-tail, is real horse hair represents the focus on our bodies, going to the gym, looking good, good diet etc. Similar to he technique for a horse race, constantly looked after, good diet, great exercise trained for the ‘race’. Wins only to make the owner very rich. We have become a ‘toy’ to our bosses, to our society and to our media. Played with and manipulated somehow. We believe that this is the normal life the life we are supposed to have. Work 9 till 5, 6 days a week, sleep 8 hours, have three-course meal and wish to live longer..when we could end up being in a nursing home, sitting down on a rocking chair thinking that you lived the life in full. This is an observation of the way our society has become obsessed with material aspects of life, of being in the spotlight not thinking beyond.

toy home

‘The Toy’ by Sam Shendi. 2012

 

Art can be aesthetically pleasing and beautiful but sometimes we need to stop and think and the ‘shock value’ in this piece is intended for that. ‘The Toy’ spent the last six months at Cartwright art Gallery and Museum being viewed by the public and we were given a copy of the fantastic and intriguing comments. Now it moves to a private collection. We have to let go.

(…..yes the’ Frozen’ lyric does spring to mind but immediately wipe it out your mind. I looked up synonyms but nothing else fit )

‘The Toy’

Conceptual, Exhibitions, Galleries, Philosophy, Soul searching

It feels a while since I have written but the past few weeks have been a detoxification of so much that I haven’t had the desire to sit and write so much.  I had even prepared much of this post to quickly slip a post in in anticipation of lack of time to write.

For me, this is one of the best pieces of my husband’s work.  It is more museum worthy than public art, most of the other work is ‘willing to grow’. This could be outside if cast in bronze but I do think this is one for a large indoor space. Yes, it is sinister, disturbing, intriguing… but in today’s modern contemporary art world where almost anything goes, sometimes you have to make a statement that will make the viewer stop. Look. Think.

The journey of this piece started last year and has continued to be one of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ . It was selected for the Hot one hundred so was in exhibition in London when it got pre-selected for the Threadneedle prize, which we were very excited about. So, we had a little bit of logistics and negotiation to get it from A to B.  Having applied for the Threadneedle for the last two years and not been successful we were feeling fairly hopeful that this was a good sign. The piece seemed to fit  the requirements, for example;  “Work that possesses a life force of its own… work that has ‘that something’ which stops the viewer in their tracks.” Tim Shaw. Having got it to the Mall galleries  and putting it amongst the other pre selected work my husband was still pretty optimistic about the next stage. So we waited for the Thursday announcement. On the Wednesday my husband got a call from them and though it could only be good news. It wasn’t. The reason for the early call was because it did need to be collected and the collection days were the same as the rather large cycle event happening in the London on the same day, could he go earlier to collect it. Needless to say, living so far away from London we couldn’t really go any other day and we also needed to drop some other work off at the Cork street gallery (just round the corner). So, my husband and his man with a van headed into London to the Mall galleries  and Cork Street, to deliver work and to collect a rather hefty piece of art, at the same time as some 16,500 cyclist needed the very same road. I printed out maps of the gallery and the cycle routes, the roads which were closed and the roads which would be restricted. I didn’t think it looked possible.However, there was not a lot of choice off they went. I was rather expecting a call to say they hadn’t been able to get it.

Here is what happened; after successfully managing to deliver work at The Cork Street Gallery at 10am (not quite sure how they got there in such good time!) they circled around and realised they just couldn’t get the van to the entrance of the Mall Gallery. Pulling into a lay-by as the driver needed to go to the toilet, on finding a toilet my husband realised that they could see the entrance of the Mall gallery. They decided to walk to it to see how far it was but rather than being able to go straight across the road they were diverted because of the preparations for the crowds supporting the cyclists. On getting to the gallery the driver insisted that as they were there they ‘may as well’ carry the piece back. The images here do not show the glass box which my husband decided to exhibit it in. So, each carrying an edge of the box they walked the mile back to the van. Crowds now gathering, had to shift quickly once they realised two men were carry a glass box and not in fact just pushing their way through. Apparently, they got comments about ‘where the camera was’. I am not sure whether they did that before or after the actual ‘Toy’ which must have then caused another commotion, as though two art thieves were stealing in broad daylight. One way to advertise your work. They did it, they got the piece out but unfortunately not in the shortlisted Threadneedle.

The piece speaks about the 21st century, the society that we live in. It is representing the idea that you work hard and are not going anywhere, like a rocking horse. However long it rocks, it is simply moving back and forth, not moving forward.  The black for the skeleton (it is not a real skeleton) shows that we are in a time when petrol has become more important than human life. As for the horse-tail, (it is real horse hair) this represents the way society keeps pushing you constantly to look after your health, going to the gym, good diet etc etc, and this is a similar technique for a horse race. It seems the horse that has constantly been looked after, good diet, great exercise goes to the race and wins makes the owner very rich. Hence the title, ‘The Toy’ for this concept presents us as having become a toy to our boss, to our society, to our media and to our routine, played with and somehow we believe that this is the normal life that we are supposed to have. People work 9 till 5, six days a week, sleep eight hours, have three-course meal, wish to live longer and will end up being in a nursing home, sitting down on a chair rocking thinking that you lived the life in full. This is an observation of the world through my husband’s art. When words can’t describe what he sees.

Front View

Front View

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’

'The head'

‘The head’

'The Toy in shadow'

‘The Toy in shadow’

'The Toy' side on

‘The Toy’ side on

'The Toy' - in spotlight

‘The Toy’ – in spotlight

'The Toy'

‘The Toy’