Sculpture on Site (4) Newby Hall

Public Art
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Sam Shendi Sculpture at Newby Hall. Picture by Louise at Newby Hall

Take time to reflect, to remember, to realise our place in this world. Magical days.

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Newby Hall and gardens, Ripon. Sam Shendi Sculpture. Photo courtesy of Newby Hall.

Can ‘Candy’ and ‘Candid’ result in an awakening?

Colour, Philosophy, Public Art, Soul searching

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Collection of work at Newby Hall ready for installing

“The intelligent want self-control: children want candy” Rumi.

My husband took the work to Newby Hall ready for installation (Exhibition now open). A member of staff commented that the sculptures looked like sweets. They do look like candy canes. Lick-able, as though each colour would taste different. Eating sweets has been a bit of a topic of discussion recently with our boys having, had lots of parties and sweet handouts at school. So candy has been on my mind…but now it is time to start focusing on more aspirational things as we approach our month of retreat, guarding of our lower beings and those animal instincts!

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‘Awaken’ and ‘Reaching’ outside the studio

My husband did an interview for Candid magazine once which brought the word ‘Candid’ into my vocabulary a bit more. It was a great discovery. I not only like the word which sounds like candy. I like the meaning. Truthful, straightforward; frank, because I think most of the time we skirt around honesty in preference for politeness.  We ‘English’ like politeness and whilst we value honesty I am not sure we can handle candid comments very well. We want things sugar-coated and sweet. Makes me think of the line “some people can’t handle the truth” which I don’t think many of us can. We don’t want that raw reality preferring the hazy safety of polite untruths and staying within our comfort ones. Rather than thinking of our own faults we like to judge others faults before seeing their virtues. It makes us feel better about ourselves but before we do that we need to call ourselves to account. The capacity for self blame is a heathy soul and it humbles us. The importance of scrutinising ourselves and being brutally honest can often lead to an awakening.

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‘Awaken’ by Sam Shendi

Awakening of a realisation of our own actions, behaviours, habits. In a secular context self-awareness has now become mindfulness which although is good practice has no moral dimensions.  As Immanual Kant said: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. I see them before me and connect them immediately with the consciousness of my existence.”   The moral dimension of self-awareness includes nobleness. In the battery farm of the modern capitalist system which aim is producing eggs regularly, getting along with the other chickens and then ultimately you die and get made into cat food. The process goes on and there is no higher aspiration.  So preoccupied with all the other chickens, even mindful chickens, we are left at the level of the zoological. Yet, we were made for something higher than the lower self ‘zoo’. Nobility is what happens when we leave behind the animal desires. The thing that makes us human and not animal. Our higher being, one of virtuosity is nobel.

If we awaken to reality in this world we need to consider what we do, what we have been doing.

Forget the sweets, be honest and look at the day that is to come and hope for an awakening.

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‘Awaken’ by Sam Shendi currently showing at Newby Hall, Ripon

(reference T.J Winters, Cambridge University)

Deep thought of the day, what are you reaching for?

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As I write the title I suddenly realise many people may be reaching for the end of the working week, the bottle, the next bar of chocolate, the next holiday. We do all reach for that comfort but what are we blocking out.

I have been a bit pre occupied these last couple of weeks not blocked with writer’s block but literally with ‘block’ blocks in researching minecraft parties. I am going all out this year with a Minecraft themed home party for our soon to be 8-year-old. Family birthdays, lots of sculpture events happening and a very busy sculptor means I find it harder to sit and write. Perhaps, just an excuse really however as this next week is half term I am trying to get this written before having the boys and really no time for writing.

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‘Reaching’ by Sam Shendi outside the studio

I have had a few conversations recently about ambition. What it means and why some of us have it and some of us seem to lack it. In conversations with my husband I reach for the dictionary. I must have had the foresight to know it would be useful to request it from a dear friend when we got married and she wanted gift suggestions. The definition of ambition is ‘an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honour, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment’.

My husband thinks he wasn’t ambitious as a child. He didn’t aim to achieve what he has achieved thus far more a determination to better his situation perhaps. In my mind he is definitely ambitious to fulfil a dream but more crucially has the unbelievable determination to strive for its attainment. Meanwhile, I like being in the presence of that ambition and almost make it become my own in many ways but  power, honour, fame, wealth have very little interest for me. I don’t have the drive to reach further or the ability to sustain any determination not for things materialistically. I have a very circular way of thinking. Say like taking a further step my writing into writing a book then I wonder why? for what reason? My mind goes into a spiral of being able to talk myself out of it.

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‘Reaching’ can be seen at Newby Hall, Ripon. June-September ’15

We live in a world where success is often measured in material wealth and possessions. Although we do need those to a certain extent in this western world, aiming to achieve your dreams is something quite different. I guess it is all about purpose. What is our purpose in life. I am too much of a day-dreamer, my personal ambition is reaching into the realms of spiritualism, for something beyond this world…. but I guess it is ok to have these lofty ambitions when your husband is working hard on the ground!!  So this Friday thought is. What are we reaching for? Why are we reaching for it?

Yesterday the sculptor took this piece along with several others in a new collection to  Newby Hall, Ripon. N.Yorkshire. So if you are looking for some inspiration, a wander in the grounds of an 18th century house, something to do over the summer the exhibition will run from the 1st June ’15 until the end of the season – 27th September ’15.