Wednesday, 19 August 2015

My Saturday & Sunday - So good I have to share!

Last weekend was so fabulous, fun and fulfilling that I have to share it on my blog.  I am still smiling and tingling with the excitement and potential of it all. Happy Monday was followed by a Taxing Tuesday, but here I am with speedy fingers, still wanting to write it all up.

Where do I start?

A quiet relaxing Saturday morning getting in the mood and preparing for the wedding party of two wonderful people in the evening, plus a meet up for a quick Birthday drink with Jane, my London Historian pal in Camden.  Not a good idea you think?  Well it turned out to be the perfect night out ever!

Arrived in Camden Road in bright sunshine so Jane and I sat ourside the Grand Union, I was immediately taken with the cocktails on the blackboard at £5 each, so ordered a Mojito which was prepared right in front of me, and was delicious. Whilst supping and chatting, a chap left a card on the table and invited us to a gallery view across the road.  'Are there drinks available?' I asked cheekily, 'Yes most certainly' he replied.  Well that settled it. I was feeling I should get down the road to the Wedding but Jane intimated the view would not take long. WRONG!

The pavement outside the Camden Image Gallery was buzzing with gorgeous young things, supping, chatting and laughing.  We were dazzled immediately we entered the Gallery, this was going to be SOOOO good.

I was very taken with the work of Kassia Niemczynska - extraordinary penmanship and eclectic subject matter, as Kassia is an illustrator that would not be unusual. The 'Guardian's' drawing was particularly powerful, a small girl-child 'embraced' by her guardians made me think of those scary german fairy tales, or stories of magic with your other self taking the form of an animal/familiar of the forest or the air. Impressive and her web site is here,

Next work to amaze and distract was by Billy Valencia, an architect, so no surprise there, that he is good at detail, and how! Erotic doodles that make you examine his work in way that might be considered inappropriate, but it is art after all and it should be inspected closely! His nimble fingers are bewitched by the Indian Goddess Gaia, the lady of the many breasts, methinks!



very close!

The paintings by Brian Hollingsworth are big, bold and colourful, and give a powerful punch, just check out the titles! After the minute detail offered by Billy, they are a welcome feast to the eye. This is a most talented individual, check out the link!


The exhibition is open until 23rd August, the last night is also a 'meet the artist' event. 12-5pm.

I had to leave, reluctantly.  I had a wedding to go to! Left Jane with her Rose wine and wended my way to the reception being held at The London Irish Centre in Camden Square, a splendid venue. I was just in time to see the happy couple dancing Swing, having just completed their wedding Tango. Several familiar faces from the tango scene were there as well as special friends.

The couple who are both expert dancers of both styles went out of their way to ensure all the dancers were able to get on the dancefloor. Plus some standard wedding favourites, you guessed, Abba!  Managed to persuade a friend to get up and swing/jive with me, we just followed the music and 'swung' our way around, so addictive we did not want to stop. I have made up my mind that I am definitely going to try this style of dance, it is such a 'happy' unrestrained kind of movement compared with the wonderful but somehow upright and 'static' embrace of Tango.

Got a lift home to South London, driving across London we put the world to rights and I dropped into bed with my sore feet, feeling giddy with my mixture of Mojitos and Champagne so very happy, very happy indeed.

An evening of new friends, old friends, art and talent and dancing at a celebration of love between two wonderful people.

Scroll right down to the end of this link and you will see the happy couple, Loretta and Onel - beautiful people.

SUNDAY at Morden Hall Park

Stable Yard - Cafe, Second Hand Books & Exhibition Area

Woke with a fuzzy head but ready for my History Walks at Morden Hall Park, one part of me was wondering if I was going to remember anything!

Arrived at the Hall without my glasses or my National Trust Badge, so far not good. One I could not swot up me notes, nor did I have i.d.  Nevermind the bag and walkie talkie I have to carry around are both big enough to give me credentials!

Two folk for the first walk and what lovely people.  As this had become a personal tour I could really expand on the history and answer as many questions as were asked, the fuzzy head soon gone when in plugged in to guiding mode.  The 1pm tour amounted to a lady coming for a recce for The People's Pilgrimage on 11th October, 'to beat climate change every step counts'.  The National Trust have agreed for the 'pilgrimage' to take place in the grounds.

Wander the Wandle River

Again there were just us so I could offer all sorts of tips and ideas, the walk on the 23rd includes prayer and music, so I showed Juliet some out of the way areas where the group would be able to pray or sing a hymn. A fascinating afternoon and the kind of work I like, sharing the history of this lovely park as well as facilitating an event.

Spent the rest of Sunday chillaxing and reading, feeling good about life, the world, the universe and everything.

Outdoor Theatre in the Rose Garden - check events

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

'No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990' new Exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery

The City of London is not adverse to cultural diversity, paticularly regarding banks, people and food, and the new exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery really packs a punch, in words, film and the works on display, as the pamphlet states -  'is one of the most comprehensive surveys of Black British Art in recent years'.

Fowokan (b. 1943 - ), Lost Queen of Purnambuko, 1989.
The exhibition takes the form, in part, as a replica bookshop opened in Ealing in 1975, and re-named after Walter Rodney (a prominent Guyanese activist and scholar - assassinated in 1980).  The bookshop was the brainchild of Jessica and Eric Huntley, who founded Bogle-L'Overture Publications in 1969.

John Lyons, Jab Jab, 1988 (C) The Artist.

As policitical activists, involved in international activisim and campaigning, they published the works of black writers and artists, whilst also providing a space for 'political and creative engagement' where they 'could meet one another and interact in the community'.  At this time this was an enlightened and radical idea and not without its problems. This is dealt with in detail using the Huntley's business and personal papers, which are on loan from the London Metropolitan Archives. The audio visual is a real 'eye opener' as to what was going on in their neighbourhood, and other areas of London too.

Installation shot, Jessica
Jessica Huntley was a prolific letter writer, and fundraiser (some are available to read at the exhibition) and international at that, considering a time without computers and the world wide web, one cannot help but wonder how much further her outreach would have extended if she had had the technology of today at her fingertips!

Tam Joseph, UK School Report, 1983. Image courtesy Museums Sheffield. LR

The Exhibition Team are also worth a mention:

Makeda Coaston Curator, Black British Art in Action (Friends of the Huntley Archive at LMA) and described as a change maker and senior cultural strategist with over 25 years' experience.

Katty Pearce, Curator, Black British Art in Action - works at the Guildhall Art Gallery and was very busy last year when she co-curated the rehang of the new permanent collection completed January 2015.

Michael McMillan, Curator, Walter Rodney Bookshop. His curatorial work includes the critally acclaimed: The West Indian Front Room (Geffrye Museum 2005-6). Plus so much more.

Also a special mention to Crescent Lodge, who created all the art work, props, signage for the exhibition, the banner above as you go in to the exhibition was hand painted to be in keeping with the way Jessica & Eric Huntley would have had it made, all hands to the cause.

Chila Kumari Burman, Auto Portrait, 1995, inkjet on canvas (c) The Artist

We may also be getting used to having the famous Copley painting covered up to be used as a projection screen.  It is a great idea and creates an impact which ignites your interest the moment you arrive on the first level of the gallery. You will also see a couple of paintings from the No Colour Bar exhibition amongst the Victorian collection, they certainly create an impression!

The exhibition is Free and is on until 24th January 2016.

The Guildhall Art Gallery is open Monday to Sunday.