Wishing you all a warm winter wonderland. I say this merrily as we are in Egypt for this holiday season 2018. Finishing off one of my best years in the sun! Thank you for reading and here’s hoping 2019 brings more sculptures, success and stories. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
On Monday evening my youngest and I went running with a running club. It wasn’t easy for me. However, it was a great start in my personal challenge of getting fit again. We were with a group of six children and in between relays, as it was such a clear night, I pointed out the plough to them. We probably could have seen many more constellations, I think Orion’s belt was even visible. It was amazing really and gave me a sneaky way of getting my breath back.
Constellations. Sam Shendi. 2018
Usually I wouldn’t post photos of the work in the studio without the white backdrop but this sculpture: ‘Constellations” didn’t get a chance of a photo shoot before she (I think she is totally feminine) was purchased by a private collector.
If you have only been interested in the Mercury in the new film Bohemian Rhapsody then you may not have realised that we have been in a Mercury retrograde which if I have followed it correctly basically means that three or four times a year Mercury passes earth in orbit and appears to stop and then spin backwards. Apparently this can cause communication crisis, frustrations and confusions. Usually I can be quite tapped into this kind of phenomenon but I don”t think I have been overly clumsy and frustrated. I think that just comes with the territory of being the mother of boys and naturally clumsy! However, this time is supposed be a good one for letting go of ways that no longer serve you and releasing troubled thoughts and bitter words. So let go.
It’s the season of the year for moons and stars. Hopefully all aligned again in time to welcome the winter solstice on the 21st.
“Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and the stars mirrored in your own being” – Rumi.
On Saturday in the early hours of the morning, the sculptor set off to take a number of sculptures down to St.Botolph’s building in Aldgate, London. It’s a long journey there and back in one day and it takes it out of him each time. The sculptures will be on display for 6 months and dominating the reception area of this modern building.
Some people use only their heads to plough on through, working hard, determined to make a difference. They use their heads for work. It’s quite appropriate then that this sits inside the reception for a Law firm.
It is easy to forget once they are inside an industrial building that these sculptures are all hand carved by my husband, it’s so ‘perfect’ looking, with today’s modern industry where things are moulded and formed by machines. My husband’s philosophy is that art should be beautiful, he has such skill with his hands and traditional sculpture methods which makes me believe he is one of the classic sculptors in our time and we are working to get him known for that. Behind each piece is a philosophy, a story.
The sculptures themsleves go on such a journey from creation, being in the studio, photo shoots and they look different being placed in the ‘outside world’ rather than being in the studio. These have had such a fantastic response on social media which affirms how these works should be out in the public arena wherever possible.
We are all on that journey. From the start, to where we will end up and how we will tunnel our way along. Laid back with no ambition? Meandering along life’s twists turns? Or like a hammer in a relentless and repetitive rhythm to achieve the end result. It is a journey in the making from creation to situation.
To go and view these pieces you can get in touch with info@ARTful.org.uk.
This piece could in some ways symbolise me, we all can relate to the position of not being able to make a choice when both options seem as bright and positive. How do we make that choice?
We can get stuck in the middle, in the dark black blue centre. Each pathway seeming viable and having pro’s. To be indecisive though can be paralysing and we live in a world with too much choice and a plethora of options. We have to get better at listening to our heart.
I used to get into this dilemma even at a place to eat when there is choice. I have found it so hard to make decisions but now, much better at listening to myself. I can see it in my eldest son too who finds it hard making a decision when faced with lots of options. We try to teach him that he needs to make a choice and then assess whether it was a good one or not for him so that next time it might be easier. My youngest son is more like the sculptor, some how has a stronger instinct on what they want whether out be right for them or not. A natural gut feeling. The sculptor has been using this expression a lot recent, in fact we had to it out from a video we have had recorded of his latest collection where he used it several time (video coming soon).
We are human, we can feel one thing in one moment and another in a next. We are human beings, full of contradictions. If we do spend time and connect, listen to what our inner voice is telling us then it can be a little bit easier to make a decision. Deep down we do know what we want. The noise and confusion of life sometimes cloaks us in a veil of insecurity about the direction we need to follow.
This piece is very much like a yoga pose, in fact a lot of the sculptures could almost be yoga positions. I have just come to the end of a 30 day yoga journey with Yoga with Adriene. Would highly recommend it for helping to connect with yourself and who you are. Ultimately this helps to make better choices, decisions more in keeping with our own path.
This piece is classy and humorous at the same time, I think. The concept is the idea that people can use other people as ‘stepping stones’ to get ahead.
We had been so hopeful at the end of 2017 that a commission work could be a ‘stepping stone’ for progression and it felt a huge blow that we were unsuccessful. I recently read that, ‘the gift of disappointment is to bring us into reality so we don’t get stuck in the realm of how things might have been”. It was really a learning curve for us both, whilst my husband had the expectation of how life would be as a consequence he also has the ability to quickly move on and is undeterred. On the other hand, I don’t have the same future vision but I find it much harder to remain so positive and inspired after experiencing that kind of disappointment. Perhaps because I am the ‘supporting’ artist rather than the lead character in this quest of ours. I was thinking that this piece is very symbolic of the issue within the movie world at the moment.
The recent outing of men abusing their position to allow woman to get ahead or prevent them from doing so in films. My husband thinks the whole industry is built on it and so how can it really change or be made into anything with ‘morals’. However, it highlights the point about how people can abuse their position, these men are powerful and can influence and have the ability to make or break the careers of aspiring filmmakers and artists, particularly young women who are trying to make their way in the industry.
But this piece doesn’t just need to represent woman. It could be the idea of parents pushing their children as a ‘stepping stone’ towards something or colleagues competing between each other for a promotion, governments using people as a stepping stone to push through policies. This is a visual story of the way people use others to move their own lives forward and use the shoulders of someone else to get ahead.
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.
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.
Here is a sneak preview :
We have a children’s book called ‘The parrot song’ which is a little ditty all about repetition. It mentions the German town of Baden-Baden and for a while in my ignorance I wondered why they had plucked out a town which rhymed with Pardon. I find it quite amusing because in the Arabic language there is no ‘p’ sound so words/letters in English can often me a little tricky for my husband. Baden and Pardon could almost be interchangeable. So when the offer of exhibiting in the German town of Baden-Baden came we had a rather interesting conversation as to whether it was one Baden or two. Needless to say there were numerous Baden’s and Pardon’s.
The connection with Baden-Baden was a racing event and the possibility of exhibiting ‘Troy’. The whole idea snowballed into my husband creating a body of work for a solo exhibition for Baden races. He painted prolifically in our house which was a real pleasure to participate in and be able to watch the process. He built on work we have had for several years. Layering ideas and colours, resulting in paintings like stories. I wish I had recorded the whole process really in todays digital age as it is an art in itself watching him create.
The sculptures, sleek and elegant are more like statements. He created new pieces specifically for the event adding to the already existing smaller horses head-piece ‘Mane’. So the summer was overtaken by preparing for Germany. With nerves, apprehension and excitement he flew to Frankfurt yesterday and onto Baden-Baden. Early this morning the work was arriving by van and I am sincerely praying they arrived safely, in one piece and the installation can begin. (text received all going well)
Here is a glimpse at the absolutely stunning work:
“I will be showing this collection at my exhibition at Baden Racing event in Germany from 28th of August to 6th of September. In this exhibition I am showing for the first time in my career paintings, which I have created involving horses to compliment my sculptural work. Being at the Baden racing event is a great opportunity and the perfect place to showcase this theme of work.Growing up in the countryside of Egypt I was surrounded by all kinds of animals in particular horses has influenced me. Not only as a creature but mainly the form and shape fascinated me. How it moves, the muscles and the harmony of the body whilst at speed and stationary. Riding horses in my culture is a natural thing there is no training for it. I believe being an Egyptian that I am a natural rider. The experience of riding has made me feel the body movement of the horse and the communication between the horse’s body and mine.At the faculty of Fine Art in Cairo I chose to be a sculptor, I never used horses as a subject as most of the practice was in the classical realism of human figures. However, when I look back at my sketchbook, every book has one or two drawings of horses. I wouldn’t describe myself as a painter; the prominence of my practice is in sculpting. Although, when I choose to paint the only thing, which comes to mind, are horses. I feel like my hand wills the brush beyond my control to paint them.
My usual sculptural practice is using steel and stainless steel using folding and welding techniques to create minimalistic sculptures to create my concepts. In 2013 I created an unusual piece, slightly different from my usual line of work. I had some material and saw a horse within so I tried to carve it out. I had no real purpose for creating it. The materials and space limited the size I could go to but my intention wasn’t for a full size horse. After several months of carving I realized I was creating my own version of a horse. This prompted the start of a collection and I am exhibiting them all together for the first time. My work reflects experience and memories that most of us share. Using the horse as a subject is a tool to highlight the universal concept to point out the strength within us, the harmony of creation of our body and the beauty within.”