S.A.T’s and a sculpture for education.

collections, Connections, Philosophy

 

Had to break from the ‘Rudimentary collection’ to show you this sculpture, a new addition to the ‘Only Human collection’ and apt for this week.

'Dunce' 2018 Sam Shendi

‘Dunce’ 2018 Sam Shendi

Monday morning. Our eldest was nervous. It has been S.A.T.S week. His teacher has prepared them well and positively encouraged them all year, drawing out the best in each and every one of them. She has ensured them that it is about measuring her abilities as a teacher and the school. My eldest told me that she has said that to them but he wants to do well for her because she is such a good teacher.

Thing is they don’t really measure anyone’s ability do they. The teachers or the pupils. These tests won’t show how imaginative and creative our eldest is, his sense of humour or his popularity in the class. His love of reading which has inspired an interest in Greek Myths and legends. His uniqueness. Or any of the other individuals taking these national tests which seems to me more like my GCSE papers never mind ten and eleven year olds taking them. They have been practising for these tests but what are they learning from them? Do ten and eleven year olds need to be tested and why?

We label, statement and measure abilities from a young age. Is it any different now from the past? In the Victorian era children were made to wear a dunce cap and sit on a stool in the corner of the classroom. A form of humiliating punishment for misbehaving but also if they had failed to show that they had learnt their lesson for the day.

I told my husband that two of the trickier words in our eldest test had been ‘vague’ and ‘inconceivable’. “I don’t know how to spell those”, he said candidly. Albeit that English is his second language and he learns it as he goes along proof enough that knowing a spelling, a grammatical term or an equation doesn’t mean the success or failure that testing seems to suggest.

The concept that my husband envisages for the sculpture is that it sits on a plinth surrounded by origami paper birds which if you look closely are all made from paper covered in complex mathematical problems and equations. They would be positioned in concentric circles around the plinth that ‘Dunce’ would stand on.

Thomas Edison was difficult to teach, maybe due to dyslexia but he also asked too many questions. Indeed, many brilliant minds have struggled in an education system. Children can easily switch off and become discouraged if their natural inquisitiveness isn’t tapped into. I know it is hard to have a system that fits all. You can’t. But I do think in Primary school, children should be fostering a love of learning and a desire to question, discover and more importantly play. It is so dependant on the teacher but how can you measure a teacher’s ability to do that with the scores from a test the children take.

The two reasoning papers this week were the hardest. Whilst I am a little old school in thinking they should learn reasoning, rhetoric, logic and grammar. I don’t think it is reasonable to find something so hard, to miss questions because they are complicated and then not have enough time to go back and have a go, when you are still only ten. Anyway, they are all over now for my eldest who has taken them in his stride, not knowing any different I suppose. He openly said that he could understand why they were being tested on arithmetic, reasoning and spelling. He wasn’t so sure about the comprehension though, which is probably the one he is best at.

If you are an avid reader of my blog, thank you for reading. You will have probably noticed that grammar and spelling are not my strengths and I have had to overcome the knowledge of that which has prevented me from writing in the past. Perhaps the new system, teaching 7 year olds what modal adverbs or conjunctives or all the other technical terms I was never taught will stand them in better stead?

I am not sure there is an answer to today’s Education System. I just hope that my children understand that education is life long, learning is continuous and intelligence really can not be measured. Education doesn’t remain within the confines of school. or to tick boxes. Education is ultimately for the betterment of ones own self-development.

Fall.

collections, Colour, Public Art

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This is the first piece in the ‘Only Human‘ collection, ‘Falling into the past’, which looks a little like a yoga pose and one which is very good for opening up your heart space. Below the images shows the red section in that heart space area of the body. Sometimes we need to let go of whatever it is we are holding onto so tightly in order to feel lighter once again.

Fall, feels like such an Americanism but in recent years we have really started to use it here in the UK. I think it is the artists season, the colours, the light, the contrast and the imagery. I recently saw the quote that Autumn is, “natures way of showing is that we need to let go.” We do need to develop an art of letting go, materially and emotionally. It can be a real struggle, we hold on to things unnecessarily. The Buddha said, ‘the root of all suffering is attachment. We can attach ourselves to time, place, people, objects.

In my rough notes for writing this post I have ‘time travelling and Harry potter’ scribbled down which I am not quite sure where I was going with that. Probably something to do with finishing ‘The Cursed Child’ with my eldest which really used the idea of time travel and perhaps I had thought ‘Falling into the past’ had some connection but any deep meaning has escaped me.

This sculpture for me represents the feet firmly placed in the past, the head in the future. The heart space is in the here and now and there we can rest and let go.

Fall

Oh leaves

so gently falling,

drifting to the ground

whilst we stand firm

and dig in our heels,

so proud.

Let us look,

to nature

to learn what we are shown

that change is essential

to become fully grown

so let go 

let’s flow

as we become lighter

brighter 

new ideas are sown.

Oh leaves

so gently drifting

let us learn to be

like the autumn fall

new colours for all to see.

 

 

We are only human after all

collections, Colour, Relationships

Most of the work my husband sculpts forms part of a collection, a group of sculptures under the same title. The latest finished collection is, “Only Human”, born from ideas taken from human phrases. Phrases we use in conversation that has then shaped the form of these vessels. Human beings are fallible, we are not perfect and we can only strive for improving ourselves.  Always  makes me think of the song, “Human” by Rag’n’bone, as the boys did a Viking song based on the rhythm and we had the song going around our head constantly. ” We are only human after all, don’t put your blame on me.” Human beings are no longer a subject of focus on a daily basis and in many ways have become devalued. Alex Rodgers wrote a book with the same name about the current issues and problems young people face in today’s society.

Each sculpture is created as a human figure whilst simultaneously acting like a canvas which if stretched out would give you an abstract colourful painting, showing that emotion has a colourful impact on human energy and action. These pieces are a frozen body movement which has been shaped by the emotion to allow you to understand that each one of them is only a presentation of who you are. The colour e describes the emotion hidden within the piece and is a completion of the actual concept. Our emotions are so powerful, if we look back at the past mankind uses this emotion to direct not just thousands but millions.

All these pieces have been hand carved using various materials and then painted. Many people can have a create talent, they can draw, paint, take a photography or work with clay or wood. It is something again to bring something out from an imagination of an idea or concept and one in which you are telling a story. In an attempt to be more organised the next series of blog posts I will go through each one in turn, but for now you can think of your own  titles for the pieces.

Only Human. Sam Shendi. 2017.


Art Swap: ‘Choose London’ for ‘Only Human’ featuring John Clare

Art Swap
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Choose London by John Clare

So the second of our Art Swap pieces by John Clare has been here a little while but after a little re shuffle we have it now hanging in our living room side by side to another piece which I will post later. The two together make a good combination and compliment each other nicely. Many people do choose to go to London, the pull of the bright lights the big city. My husband stayed in London when he first arrived in UK and quickly left. Only now returning for exhibitions or meetings. I went to London after University with the intention of Rowing. Fate intervened and I left after just short of a year. My sister lived there for 7 years.

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The piece hanging in our living room, by John Clare

This framed almost poster like piece came the furthest and survived the post. It appeals more to the three males in our household. I don’t know why skulls do that? The colours are great though and again a link with my husband’s sculpture. Bright, bold and vibrant. I am quite interested in the psychology of the artist and the piece itself. The Keyhole man we swapped it with was ‘Only Human’ which  like the last art exchange, seems an appropriate swap. Almost an answer to the question in Choose London?

'Only Human' by Sam Shendi

‘Only Human’ by Sam Shendi

Doubts and dreams.

Exhibitions, Galleries

“I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.” ― Tennessee Williams

All artists have self doubts.

My husband often has his doubts and uncertainties simultaneously with a very clear dream and extraordinarily clear talent. The moment of finding his style was a pivotal point. Not in no longer having those doubting moments but more determined.

It is amazing how just taking a moment to stop and observe can help you clear your mind. As I ate my particularly prepared porridge and looked out the window, I captured a moment. A bird perched in a tree finding shelter from the wind. How much protection it found? I wondered, as the tree danced with the movement of the strong gusts on this cold and blustery January morning.

Even within language we may not all be visualising the same thing. If we say ‘tree’, what type of tree is it. What are you thinking of? A willow drooping low and forlorn, a palm reaching energetically tall, a busy evergreen, a strong oak with branches stretching outwards. Is it a tree made out ladies legs? What concept do we have in our own mind’s eye.

bird branch

‘The Branch’ will be shown at FLUX , The Rag Factory. London. FEB 18th-22nd

It is easy to think of trees as strong and immoveable. As the numerous branches move like dancing arms outside it makes me understand that nothing remains the same. Everything is moving, flowing, shaking, changing.

I had a big writers wobble the other day after reading my brother’s newly formed blog. I had a sudden large wave of self-doubt as I compared my own skills with his, unfavourably. Immediately seeing his confident youthful writing style as superior to my own rather than thinking that it is just a different way of writing.

sketch doubts

‘A sketch’ by Sam Shendi

Perhaps a tiny slip of the deadly envy creeped in or a little bit of sibling rivalry but it didn’t last long. I don’t harbour bad and unnecessary feelings for long. Especially towards my younger brother to whom I am maternally overprotective of. I used it positively. It made me realise that I had to focus on my own style and my own direction.

Observing nature helped too, the bird in the tree. We all have moments where we doubt ourselves. The wind shakes the branches of our spirit a little. It makes us grow and develop. My brother who is writing about his recent travels, tells me he hasn’t changed. People don’t change. Perhaps travel doesn’t change us. I think though, if the experience doesn’t change us then time will. Travelling inwardly to the depths of our soul should change us. If we want to change the world then we have to start with ourselves.

with a bird

‘Conversation with a bird’ by Sam Shendi

I have read lots of beautifully brilliantly written blogs over the last four years, here are 8 I would recommend:

http://outsideairblog.com/                             https://knowthesphere.wordpress.com/

http://winterowls.com/                                  https://pathsofthespirit.wordpress.com/

https://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/              http://wharnsby.com/

https://haywardhelen.wordpress.com/         https://emmasouthlondon.wordpress.com/

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”- Robert Hughes. Perhaps. I guess it is one of those emotions, it is only human. ‘Only Human’ my husband’s exhibition at Cartwright Hall will end on 23rd February. So one more month to go and view it.

So my mantra for this month. Stop doubting and start daring to dream.

sketchbooks display

‘Sketchbooks’ on display at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery

cellar gallery

‘Only Human’ exhibition at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery