No Easy Task

“Is that your stuff?” grunted a punter up at Hackney Central Library at 9.05.

How flippin’ rude, and so to aggravate the old misery I said it celebrates Women. He was surely waiting for William Hill to open. I carried on displaying Champions, my art exhibition celebrating International Women’s Day. You’d think right on Hackney Council via the right on Hackney Central Library in the absence of their own nod to IWD would promote me and love me and help me by cleaning the dirty cabinets. You’d think so. Maybe they are doing a nod; perhaps some Maya Angelou or a little Suffragette history again but as I have been busy I have not checked. Usually it’s all in your face up there.

The staff do not smile. Fact. Funnily though when you talk to them they are animated. The staff have been moved around such that the manager with whom I dealt for all my other exhibitions has gone to another branch. For weeks I waited for him to confirm my exhibition slot not knowing he’d shifted. According to his advice I then emailed the new manager and waited and waited. Why would I presume I’d get any assistance?

Today March 1st, I arrived an hour early unintentionally to put up my canvases in cabinets. Oh! How I wish I had had a wall so that Hyacinth Myers’ beauty could contrast flatly and regally. Instead she’s slapped onto a bottom tier of a trophy cabinet. The bustling cleaner promptly brought me a chair so I could sit for an hour scheming how to do the job in an hour. I am ninety-five, you know.

Bish bosh done but a touch of vinegar on the glass would have made it all a bit classier.

I then had to get to Stratford Picture House on the 48 and 257. The 257 bus is London’s worst, a true omnibus full of every kind of human and all ripe for a rebellion against the Tories after they’d done their daily routines. Remember I was carrying massive canvases on an empty stomach on a bus packed with overcoats and buggies, trolley bags and misery.

The Picture House was shut: locked, chained and empty. Luckily, I spied the manager and got myself installed and upstairs to a newly plastered and painted community art wall. Despair. I looked at my hammer. I felt my masonry nails. I saw the high-up hooks. Nothing to it but to leap and hook. It was rather like the ‘hook a duck’ game at the fair but I did it. I hung Vera Lawrence in her headscarf and placed my pink nude high up and away from mischievous felt-tip carrying graffiti apprentices. The advantage is that the ceiling lights project onto my paintings. Very Tate Britain.

Buses home, Baileys and pie.

Tomorrow I need to get my A4 framed and ready to hang painting to the exhibition at the Tower Gallery in a celebrated church building in Barking Road. That is another exhibition like my two celebrating International Women’s Month. I have promoted it thoroughly as an artist and as a woman who has always joined in the IWD celebrations. That’s what Facebook share buttons are for, right? I think International Women’s Day and Month and Women’s History Month are business opportunities. Last year most of the women I know, all heading towards eighty in age, had not heard of IWD. This year many do. “Phenomenal Woman” is their hymn.

Champions is all about the women, not whether the right earrings are next to a blue-y orange face, not whether the glamour has been altered but all about why those women I chose are special in their communities and why they should be applauded and recognised, saluted and noted. There are many phenomenal women all getting on with it, showing another generation what’s good and right. I painted mermaids, queens, goddesses and activists and was in jolly good company. I thank you.

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