Elephant fly

There’s a great big blanket assumption that artists are teachers, that poets are performers and that people who return to Memory Lane are story-tellers.

Someone does a piece of art then another wants them to run workshops. Someone writes poems and it’s assumed they want to read them out loud and even perform in front of a microphone.

A person may go along to a reminiscence session then be expected to tell their life story. They might have  preferred to soak up shared memories and not become a public speaker. In one generation and in another culture the speaking platform is reserved for the older man anyway.

Now is the season of the E17 Art Trail, a seemingly white middle-class adventure ‘nothing to do with the horrid gentrification of Walthamstow because the Art Trail was here first.’ Hmm. The Leyton people I know have no idea that such an annual fortnightly event is going on over the parish boundary. The senior sisters at the mosque are too busy babysitting and tell each other “It’s not for us”. The Facebook page is full of whiteness. What’s to be done?

For myself, I’ll trundle around soaking up the art and searching out the artists who will run free workshops for Up Your Street seniors. The lottery-funded ‘Step Up’ starts at The Mill with free art workshops, the first given by a celebrated sculptor. And shortly the William Morris Gallery will put on free art workshops for older people to alleviate their loneliness. Do we come in with Dial-A-Ride?

Hackney continues as host to reminiscence projects so don’t come as a shy senior because you will be filmed and quoted. The Learning Trust there is holding a day event at The Hackney Picturehouse but you have to book. Good luck with that because the phone operators play loop the loop. At the Open School East in deeper Hackney there’s a filming project about memories of buildings in the Borough.

In Waltham Forest there’s……..

issue 20. Up Your Street

Up Your Street Issue 20

Fri 29th May free 3-5pm Stratford Library Iroko Theatre presents stories and drumming. Drop in
Mention Up Your Street for a reserved place (sorry for late notice)
Sat 30th May free 2-4pm Dalston Eastern Curve Garden at Dalston Junction Hackney
Sun 31st May too  “Herbal weekend: cocktails, walks. talks teas with Rasheeqa. No need to book
Sun 31st May 50p  11-1pm  Jumble Sale in aid of Samaritans in E17. Orford Road Social Club E17.
                       free   2-4pm  Clore Space at British Museum. Iroko exhibition and show of stories and drumming.
                                 Mention Up Your Street for a reserved place.
Thanks to all who came to Ethan gallery, my pop-up art gallery in E10.
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Ethan Gallery

E17 is just about to go into full swing at its Art Trail. This is massive. Last night there were launch events dotted all over the parish. I went to Pictorem in Hoe Street as the artist and admin officer at Rosetta Art centre in West Ham had invited his older people’s clay sculpting class. I in turn invited the world and her husband.

The Pictorem owners really did welcome us and the gallery was bursting with chatty artists and art lovers all tucking into Werther’s Originals as the sun moved across into evening. Meanwhile along the road a cyclist had been severely injured by a bus so sirens added to the distractions. (Anyone know that children’s book “Each Peach, Pear, Plum”? So Chekhovian. You know, someone’s trying to die then the phone rings).

After enjoying Hassan and Alison’s works in display a group of us clay students and partners went up the road to the Ethan Gallery where exhibited on white walls is my latest collection of acrylic on canvases entitled “At the Swim”.  Obviously “Cynthia Re-vitalised” and “Stefanie Hanging On” and all the other painted ladies are not seen by all and sundry as Ethan is in my home. It’s a pop-up gallery and I lifted the carpets and tasselled the curtains, banged nails into walls, curated my own work, provided wine and home-made samosas(not all Isosceles triangles), and we all chatted as friends and Art Trailers. wpid-2015-05-28-15.50.50-1.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-05-28-15.48.29-1.jpg.jpeg

Then at 11pm along came Pat of Nehru Gallery fame at our V&A visit where she’d guided us.  Oh my!  That Pat knows how to appreciate art having followed a two year course at Birkbeck. She also makes great Caribbean sarnis. I left her to analyse, compare and appreciate like a true Tim Marlow. My self-esteem was up on the picture rail.