After several years of carving, crafting, working and whipping up huge sculptural stories, tonight in Johannesburg the opening of my husband solo show will showcase all that work in one space at Graham’s Fine Art Gallery (photos from the gallery)
The sculptor was amazed to see himself larger than life. ( I see this everyday!) but literally plastered all over the building.
A month at sea, a stay in the port and then the drive from Durban to Johannesburg to the gallery, the sculptures arrived not quite without hiccup.
A few damaged and the repair kit missing added to the drama. However, hoping today that has all been fixed. I haven’t heard any updates so praying that everything is going well.
So he spent an intense day unloading and setting up.
Yesterday, he had interviews.
Tonight the show will open. I am so excited all the way back home here in North Yorkshire and anticipating hearing all about it….find out more tomorrow.
My husband seems to be able to tap into some subliminal subconscious web of communication. There have been several times where he has been working on something which parallels what is happening else where.
These heads were created at the end of last year. Usually working to a smooth, perfected finish these pieces are the opposite. Rough and ready to represent the experiences in life that leave a mark and shape us. Entitled; ‘Mr Green’, ‘Mr Blue’, ‘Mr White’, ‘Mr Red’ and ‘Mr Grey’, colours often symbolising mood, emotion, feelings, expressions. I have put this image with the sculptor in the scene to show the scale of them. As a group, ‘Head’s together’ which yesterday I stumbled across is a campaign, http://www.headstogether.org.uk ,which is spearheaded by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It is raising the awareness of “unresolved mental problems” and “wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools to support their friends and family.”
I thought it would be interesting to show a sketch and sculpture together for a change. I love seeing the lines on paper and then the shift into three dimensions. The bird symbolises the idea of voices or the noise pecking away at the mind.
Mental health has huge stigma, often misunderstood and a reoccurring theme in my husband’s work partly I think because of his increasing awareness of how much it was hidden and not spoken of growing up in rural Egypt. It’s the same here in the UK but with media and celebrities speaking out it is something being uncovered and discussed more and more. It would appear it is a global issue on the rise of being discussed. Again, these pieces show a visual story. A visual interpretation of a subject, theme, idea which we all have connection with an experience of, a shared similarity beyond the differences of culture, class, education, gender.
This is the latest piece in the Giant Collection which I wrote about in an earlier post, the other two now stand proudly in Berkeley square house, London. Yesterday this piece, with much relief just about fitted into the hired van and went down to London with the sculptor and his right hand man. It is to be exhibited this week in Flux exhibition which was covered in FAD magazine. ( which you can see in the link). Anyway, enough of the promotion.
The Giant collection looks at stages in mental depression. Despite class or education most people all share a high level of knowledge and depth of thought. Looking through the history of art, some of the best art has been produced at a time of depression that the artist went through. The “Giant” collection speaks of three periods of depression which resulted in three sculptures presenting, the beginning with the silent period (Bird whisperer) and the middle period when every small thing becomes a heavy weight on your shoulders (Atlas). Lastly, the break through when the person comes out through the other side (Big Step). This collection is brightly coloured even though its portraying a dark period. Some of us agree that the period of depression is a period of realisation and self discovery. Sometimes we need that grappling with ourselves to become enlightened.
I like this photo above because of the shadows, which play an important role in my husbands work. With himself in the picture we can see the scale of this work but also his shadow is cast within the shadow of the sculptor, as though the sculptor is within his sculpture.
When asked how he created his masterpiece, Michelangelo said, “It was easy. You just chip away that which does not look like David.” I think my husband works in this same way. He sees the sculpture within the material.
Whilst my husband is focusing on the art of creating art. I have been looking into the art of tidying and de-cluttering in order to make more space within the space of our home. One of my discoveries wasMaura, who uses the Michelangelo quote and goes on to say. “What if our lives are our masterpiece? What if we chipped away all that was unnecessary, all the clutter and the busyness, and focused on that which really mattered – our passions and our relationships.”
A few months ago I read Marie Kondo’s book The art of tidying which prompted me to start with clothing and thinking about what ‘Spark’s joy’. But now I am more in a state of purging, of de-cluttering and de-owning things that really don’t serve any purpose. It’s an interesting battle as I look at a shelf and think I want that to be empty and free, that’s easy. It’s hard when you first look at something and somehow it has memories and attachments for what ever reason. However, It is so liberating though when it works. In my kitchen, I got rid of things I wasn’t using, re ordered the cupboards and have created more work surface area. As the sculptor is now in London for a few days with the exhibition, I have boys and business and home and school to manage. Yesterday evening we came in late after Taekwando and despite being unorganised in not knowing what we were having for tea, the tidy kitchen surfaces aided my ability to create a vegan concoction (as it was world vegan day apparently). So ratatouille was rustled up and couscous and stuffed peppers, thanks to Deliciously Ella, but alas in an attempt to de-clutter the freezer I had to cook the world’s most spiciest sausages (not so vegan) for the boys just incase the veggie attempts were too scary. They had great pleasure in daring each other to eat as many pieces of sausage without drinking any water. Needless to say those sausages will not be bought again,though they did have the advantage of being in a cardboard box not plastic. This is my other consideration at the moment, as I de-clutter and then look at how much waste we produce from a household of four- a ridiculous amount! The zero waste movement seems to be the next step after de-cluttering, not sure how I will get everyone onboard with that idea!
As I delve into this strange cyber world of woman tidying up their houses, I realise and am reminded that in normal everyday conversation we rarely speak of the state of our house work. This leads me nicely to a writer in New Zealand who’s latest published piece ‘Homework‘ looks into the demands of domesticity and how perhaps we have lost the dignity in priding ourselves on how we keep our house. When people ask me what do I do, do I say home maker?
So, to my last link, of this very heavily laden linked post, and back to the sculpture: what breakthroughs are you making today? What big steps forward are you taking? At home, at work, in your art? What are you chipping away at? Keep at it. Best foot forward.