Who on earth was Anthony Bourdain?

collections, Philosophy, Soul searching, Uncategorized

Last Friday, towards the end of my month long self-imposed ban on social media (which I have not been very good at adhering to). I saw a dramatically written little square which caught my attention and thinking space. Grief. Weeping and outpouring. Someone had died.

widow11

Widow, 2017 Rudimentary Collection. Sam Shendi

There were several posts about this apparent icon. Anthony Bourdain. I had never heard of him. Ignorant or not, whichever camp you are in. I had to look him up on the internet. A Chef. Some of the images and comments about him made me think of my husband in certain ways. The life experience and the stories. I hadn’t heard of his books or seen any of his TV shows. I wondered fleetingly, why there was such an outpouring of despair over one man whom people probably hadn’t even met, when thousands are killed, bombed, persecuted everyday.

There is often that collective overwhelming emotion when something tragic happens, shock, confusion, empathy and probably a whole host of other sentiments. A sudden awareness that life is fragile and nothing is permanent. If we can focus on being mindful in the moment and grateful, the more we can appreciate those precious moments and find the true meaning of being happy.

That very same Friday afternoon I found out my son’s year six teacher was leaving the school. I was shocked and saddened that my youngest son wouldn’t get the golden nuggets of teaching my eldest has received. Preparing him for secondary school with confidence, self belief and optimism. Whilst I know and I am sure there are lots of good teachers, some people are just irreplaceable. I also felt deeply dissapointed that my youngest sport-loving boy wouldn’t have this amazingly sporty teacher. Despite that, it’s a couple of years before my son would have been in her class and who knows what will happen between now and then. We could even move- who knows what can happen in that space of time. I related my strong and almost violent emotion about this news to what I had been reading that morning. I really had to try and sit with my feelings and find out why I was so emotional. It was almost  parallel, so who was I to judge someone else’s overt emotion. I was feeling the same and it wasn’t even death.

This piece entitled, ‘Widow’ captures grief. It suggests the female form and there is a strong femininity about the piece. For me it is my favourite of the Rudimentary collection. When I see this piece I am reminded of a friend, not only because she is a widow but because of a memory I have from when we were young. We were canoeing on the canal and a swan, protecting her nest swam up to my friend and started pecking at her. No matter how frantic and aggressive swans can be there is an elegance, tranquility and beauty about the swan. The arch of the neck hangs down in a graceful sorrow. In mythology the swan was sacred to Venus, goddess of love. Death is all the more tragic because of love. When we love something it is hard to let it go.

Departure is very different from death but perhaps a grief still the same. Yet change is enevitable and very much a part of life. In the end everything comes to an end.

Who was Anthony Bourdain? I didn’t know him but I think when someone dies, suddenly, tragically, at a point in time where we had pressumed no expectation of that passing away, it is wake up call to and/or for ourselves. A realisation and a reminder that we don’t know when we will take our last breath. It is a journey, actually the only certain one, one which we are most often ill prepared for.

When striving for success in a career in this earthly domain it can come at a cost. It seems it did for Bourdain. It often does for artists and I know it is often a struggle for my husband who sacrifices a lot for time in the studio. A creative life doesn’t exist in a straight line and there is a risk of the unknown. Jamie Aaron states in his 11 things highly creative people sacrifice for their art, “They sacrifice the life people told them they should have for a life they love, a life that is inspiring and thrilling. Because that’s the whole point. To create is a privilege, one that artists know not to take for granted. To deny a conventional life is a risk, but not as great a risk as to deny their heart.”

Serendipitously we watched Disney’s ‘Coco’ last night after a month of not watching television (we were a bit more successful at that abstention). The story was about the inhabitants of the land of dead, the unseen world depicted gloriously in this animation, being able to pass back over into the land of living for one day, if they have been remembered by tributes. The main character has to question ‘what form of legacy matters the most and whether our personal ambitions can successfully coexist alongside our commitment to loved ones’. The main song gives a message of how important it is to remember those that have passed away.

“Remember me, though I have to say goodbye
Remember me, don’t let it make you cry
For even if I’m far away, I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you each night we are apart
Remember me, though I have to travel far
Remember me, each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I’m with you the only way that I can be
Until you’re in my arms again, remember me

Remember me, for I will soon be gone
Remember me, and let the love we have live on
And know that I’m with you the only way that I can be
So, until you’re in my arms again, remember me”

Life is a spiritual experience by the very nature of being conscious, by being aware. The sculptor’s work often explores the idea that the body is simply a vessel. We are essentially souls experiencing the world through the body. But the soul is unseen. So perhaps death is simply the end of the body in this world. The soul returns.

“For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.” Kahlil Gibran

 

How to know reality?

Colour, Connections, Relationships, Soul searching

To follow last weeks post about the sculpture ‘Mademoiselle‘ and my memory of Paris, I will keep with the Paris theme. This week’s sculpture is The Woman in the Red Hat.

woman1

‘Woman in the Red Hat’, Sam Shendi 2017

 

Are Memories are identification? Our mind is made up of our thoughts and what we are thinking and believing.

When I was in Paris in February many years ago I was by myself. I wonder now if I had an image of Paris in the spring but it was really still winter and I didn’t have enough warm clothes with me. I rang my husband home in England who told me to go and purchase a jumper. I don’t know why that thought hadn’t occurred to me. Too often do I not realise that money is a tool to be used to our advantage. I am not sure I made a particularly good choice. Why didn’t I buy a lovely warm coat? Whatever money I had then or not doesn’t serve me now. So I came out of the shop with a rather thin pink hoodie and a brown skirt. I went into places to keep warm, museums, shops and boutiques. Bought some perfume and a pair of earrings. Took lots of photos and then decided to go to the hairdressers and dye my hair red. So with my splattering of French I communicated to the hairdresser who didn’t have much English that I wanted it short and red. I can visualise the small shop, myself sitting on the left hand side of the salon and there I spent a few warm hours and some more money. Back then I was young, had no responsibilities, no ties but I wasn’t as calm, content and settled as I am now.

Sometimes when we look at a snapshot in time we can project an idea, a thought, a reality that is or isn’t true. Today with all the social media tools and images people post we can start to easily believe that others have it easy, more care free, happier, better. Whatever. It can create jealousy, resentment, anger, mistrust.

It all begins with our own thinking. We make a moment, with what we think and feel at that point in time. Someone else’s photograph may capture smiles and sunshine but it doesn’t capture what that person is thinking and believing in that moment and it could be their version of hell.

Imagine a woman walking down the Champs Elysee in a red hat. Audrey Hepburn springs to mind. She walks confidently. Self assured. She knows what she wants and how to get it. Her mind is clear. She is free of all negative thoughts which could constrict her. She is free of worry or concern. Everything around her is there to serve her. She is happy and healthy. She wears her red hat unconcerned about what any one else thinks. She has black stilettos and a colourful dress which she choose that morning. She is going out for coffee and will probably have a croissant.  She is unconcerned about her appearance. She is happy with how she looks. She will sit at the cafe and read a while, watch the people walking past. She is happy to be alone. Alone with her thoughts. She questions constantly what she thinks and what she believes.

‘Mother of Many ‘and the Motherhood “challenge”

Colour, Mother and Child, Relationships

On Wednesday I did my first ‘wordless’ post which I actually found tricky because there is so much I want to say about this glorious piece, ‘Mother of Many’.

MOTHER OF MANY 8

‘Mother of Many’ By Sam Shendi

Ironically, I also posted three pictures of my boys on Facebook due to a ‘nomination’ for a ‘motherhood challenge.’ My ramblings for this piece were not going to be as follows but I shall save it for another Mother and Child post. However, I felt I needed to get some thoughts down on ‘paper.’

For those not in the bizarre word of social media, ‘ I was nominated to post 3 pictures that make me happy to be a Mother’ and then you had to tag  10 people who you think are great Mothers to post pictures for what was named the ;Motherhood Challenge!’ Now, I deliberated over doing this for two days (amongst everything else) mainly because I really try not to post pictures of the boys on the internet any longer. If I do I try not to get too much of their faces in. It’s a shame really as my whole purpose for joining Facebook way back was so that family abroad could see pictures of their nephews/family here in UK.

I am not sure what I was thinking when I posted them I think I have been spending too much time on Facebook in distracting myself from editing my first draft at an attempt at a novel (now there’s a challenge). But, perhaps I saw it as a celebratory thing rather than a ‘challenge’ and when I chose friends/family for it I didn’t think they were any better at the role than ones I didn’t choose. Anyway, after reading this article in The Guardian I realised I should have been a little stronger in my convictions of not posting. Mainly because of course when you tag someone your post appears in their newsfeed and I find that a little disconcerting.BBC News also have a response and a discussion as people have reacted in very different ways about it. So, I decided then to withdraw my post – I should have just put up the image below. Click on the link to see a lovely animation made by my friend which is called ‘Mother of Many’.

MOTHER OF MANY 2

I am not so sure what I feel about the word ‘challenge’ in this instance I think the wrong word has been used. Challenge means a call to prove or justify something / invite to engage in a contest (contest meaning supremacy). I think it is this focus that has caused ruffled feathers. I have done a few challenges lately, yoga, writing and dairy-free diet which all have some element of the definition in it.

Motherhood, however shouldn’t be a contest and it is in this world of social media and school playground politics where there can be an element of bragging and competition which is unhealthy, unrealistic and quite simply annoying. There are women in the world who face real challenges of where to find the next meal, drink of clean water, shelter, place of security for themselves and for their family. Yes, there are women for whom it is a’ challenge’ to get pregnant (I am not sure I like the word challenge in this sentence at all, but I am making my point). For we all face daily challenges, mothers or not, some that makes us smile some that make us frown.

So, I will end my little dilemma debate and dedicate this image to my beautiful Mother, mother to three and many children she has taught, my husband’s Mother who had five children as in the sculpture, to my grand-mothers and to all friends, family, readers and women of the world; whether with children or without because the ‘mothering’ quality is in us all whether we have children entrusted to us or not. ‘Mothering’ which means to care for people the way that a mother does, can be done by anyone. For there is always a moment when someone needs that close care and attention.

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” ―Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm

‘Departed’

Uncategorized

departed departed 1 departed 2 departed 3 departed 4 departed 6 departed 7 departed 8

I typed ‘Departed’ and just saw ‘dead’ written next to it. Very final. I had been thinking more along the lines of ’embarking on a journey’ or ‘leaving the station’ – that kind of departed. The film, ‘The Departed’ perhaps. The lamb I saw in the road today, very much alive and annoying the farmer had departed from the field. Hadn’t it? It wasn’t dead, anyway – not yet.

Last week I ‘departed’ facebook for a month. Now I am wondering whether to completely come off it or will I slip back into the addictive social scrolling. Perhaps my internet persona on facebook is dead? In a world where we increasingly spend more time in a virtual reality, what becomes real and not real, what is seen and unseen? I won’t know how many facebook hits I get on this post. Will that bother me? Does it make it less real that people could potentially be reading my little blog post. Does it even matter if anyone is reading it. Not really, I guess.

Departing social media really is a tenuous link to this piece and doesn’t do it justice. What matters in the end is the good we leave behind in the world after we have departed. And when we have departed, where are you going? So ponder these ideas whilst you look at the shape, the line, the curve, the balance, the colour and particularly the shadows. Abstraction can be based on reality, just broken down to the very minimal and it is up to the viewer to see beyond. To visualise the deeper meaning of what is in front of you and find the unseen.

Post…er?

Colour, Connections, Galleries, Philosophy, Steel

'The Thinker'

Post, post stick, poster, post box…

Distracted by ‘the lollipop’ in my last post, I completely forgot my initial reason for ‘blogging’. So this post stick looking sculpture is a good reminder !

Imagine a poster for Northern England, a farmhouse nestled within rolling hills, surrounded by newly bleating bouncing lambs, sun shining and the daffodils a plenty, topped off with good old fresh air.  I returned from this idyllic scene, to reunite with my husband returning from London and his first Debut Contemporary mentoring session. Via the ipad I listened to the session. From posts to platforms and pinterest I was bombarded into another world of  SOCIAL MEDIA. I immediately thought of my hesitations about entering into this world, couldn’t write it better than ‘knowingthesphere’ (I Think bloggers are also connecting on the webs of thought).

While I sit thinking about things and weighing up the pros and cons, my husband just gets on with it. He has now a  twitter  and Pinterest, and we are both seeing the benefits of him being in this virtual world.  Unbeknown to me I had stumbled across pinterest before and not realised what it was. Like a  mood board it is a virtual pin board, way of collecting images. Great idea. A visual post. What happened to walking to the post box?