well that was a surprise

Online I ordered tickets for Late Night tonight at Tate Modern. How beautiful is St Paul’s and the River on an August evening. Of course I didn’t read the Tate page properly where it said the event was for 18-25 year olds and so I phoned the events team and was told that there was no problem at all and just come and enjoy. I did.

Soul Of A Nation, the art of the Black Power era at the Tate, is smashing. It is well-curated and well-documented. It’s a journey through revolutionary newspapers and  artists’ statements whether in their words or huge canvases or through symbols and collages. It is visually stunning.The huge selection of work is spaced out such that spectators get a chance to breathe in the power of paint and images. I loved it. I felt comfortable and at home. I know the subject matter from knowledge of US Civil Rights in the sixties, through petitioning for fair trials for Angela Davis. I feel for artists who have or had nowhere to display their craft and soul.

The spectators or participants in the free evening surprised me. There were plenty of Nubian queens and African prints and hair-does celebrating natural hair. I’d say there were about a hundred  people who queued outside and possibly ten people not of colour, not Black. I was surprised. The evening was well advertised and the only criteria was age and that was a loose stipulation. What made an art exhibition and music thrown in which was superb too over free refreshments become an evening of black togetherness. It’s an art exhibition firstly. Where were the white girls and boys? Absolutely their loss for not coming along tonight I’d say.

There were cartoons all about police behaviour and young people tonight were referencing Charlottesville August 2017.  The trio of musicians gave us beautiful renderings of Alicia Keys and Bob Marley’s songs and when the soul shone through, a light crashed down from the bar ceiling.. We continued to munch our nuts.

There was much inspiration for an artist in terms of colour and audacity, the boldness over using different material in different ways, the sheer courage to mount colour over massive canvases or on hung cloth, the pride in experience expressed in figurative work but just as equally relevant in abstract shapes and the enduring perseverance to share art whichever way or means are or were available. I applaud all those artists I’m about to google.


It’s a break not the final cut

Gave notice to my subscribers that Up Your Street is taking a break.
It’s a break, not the final cut and I shall return.
Had a great meal at Butler’s Bakery last night with Ladies Who Jerky. Cheap as chips. Delicious food. But ain’t it just the case? You find somewhere good and then it closes down. We were told last night was the last night.
No point me promoting my art exhibition there as obviously the new tenants will have their own stuff to hang.
Onwards and upwards.

Bring Out Your Dead or A Bee In my Bonnet.

I thought it was a joke; the call out from WMG to crowdfund to get May Morris the credit she deserves because she was in the shadow of her famous dad, Bill.
Boo hoo.Was it hard having servants to draw your bath? She the needlework woman has her work all archived and ready to view if you can be asked to get to the Clothworkers’ Institute if it’s still there and WMG can arrange for you surely to see her makes on the V&A website.

There are women artists and printers galore who never had a shadow of a socialist father under which to work let alone off whom to feed. They are neither dead nor white nor sprung from businessmen’s loins. They have to figure out the ways up and over all by themselves, self-promote without appearing vain and I’ve only once seen a local artist call out for an unpaid intern to assist her because technicians cost money albeit the minimum wage.

We’ve just had International Women’s Day and many women artists were out there giving free workshops having sorted child-care and tax returns. They’re the ones who should get recognition in this day and age for their superb work. They need cash injection and to be recognised as women of colour often and women from working class backgrounds increasingly. The latest museum talk is about diversity whether race, gender, fat, thin, able-bodied, queer and then enticing users and let’s be updated, volunteers,into the stone buildings who reflect the make-up of our population. Keep rolling out needlewomen like May aka Mary Morris and propping up whatyermercallits to her undoubted talent and we’ll never change the status quo. She has her day stamped in the archives and only under her father’s shadow if you keep saying that. It’s up to us to not refer to her as someone’s daughter.

She, she kept her daddy’s name, didn’t she?

I see her as a women craftworker in her own right but a dead one who’s already celebrated.

Let’s give credit to Sba and Anna and Sylvestias and Sally and Anna B and foreign sculpturesses and printers whose names I am too lazy to pronounce but read about via Google. Let’s make a conscious decision to bring up the worth of other women artists rather than dropping cash into legacy laps.


Art in a bakery

Well, there’s art in a lift, art in caffs, art on the underground so today I went to see shyly if my three works of art looked presentable on the white walls next to a sixties’ cutie faded framed print at Butlers Bakery in downtown east London in rising-up Leytonstone. I was nicely surprised as I deposited to the proprietor my promotional posters for Art With Bees, a nod to [dis}tinct, an art project happening locally and in Jenny Hammond School. Who knew?

Happy days.
In the morning Hassan E Vawda allowed me to exhibit my textile interpretation of his Indian Cats. I checked cos you know what these artists are like. Recently someone was moaning that I’d painted and almost copied a photograph which he’d taken and for which he won a prize. I never knew. No-one told me. I put enough feelers out.
I’ll say it again; you know what these artists are like.

On Friday I’m doing a very informal launch of Art With Bees which means people drop by, look at three paintings whilst diners dine in a back room and hopefully patronise the bakery by joining in the pavement barbeque of jerk chicken or actually buy delicious home-baked bread or those flippin’ gorgeous Eccles Cakes. It’s all community. I never know: Perhaps some parents can check out my art having read an announcement of such-like in the school newsletter.

Meanwhile, on and on, the Festival of Creativity and Well-being is in full thrust with art in many guises, or not. My own exhibition celebrating older people and scheduled for one day only was cancelled and not by me but I’ve turned that slight on its head. It means I don’t have to sit all day in the venue on a boiling hot day and I am fasting too.

Art With Bees is on until the second week of July. I am lucky.

Clickety Click

They came from all corners of east London. Jan had her knitting out and her chuckles too and in came Glenys from Ilford. Sylvia sprouted in her glory from Stratford and three friends from different parts of Leyton presented thamselves. Radha flowed in from Leytonstone and we supped tea, munched biscuits and felt good settled in our old age and company ready for “Old Women Talking” at Hackney Museum for Anti-University 2017.
It was an unstructured, unrehearsed event and after a little interview with Emma Winch we got our mouths and fingers busy. We naturally fell into conversation and were a team together sporting crochet brooches and sticking bits of material onto a bigger fabric to make a wall-hanging to leave in our wake just to show we were there and did what we said we’d do and that we were seniors including ourselves in the wave of events weird and wonderful around Hackney this week.
We particularly enjoyed Radha’s puberty stories from Mauritius and her longing for the genteelness of Bath. Paddy Pat entertained us with stories of late night capers but all the merriment was after a great discussion about the way seniors are targeted by scammers and how loneliness affects every generation. Sylvia had attended the Alzheimer’s Show in Olympia yesterday so was freshly pressed as an alert older woman. We were a busy bunch, writing our names, passing around flapjack, peeling satsumas, dipping into the glue, getting to know each other. When we go out to museums and art galleries, work shops and performances. installations and singing, pottery, drama, and all the rest we rarely sit and talk. Our average age was seventy. Yesterday some of us went to a Chinese Restaurant so were sharing reviews and laughing about how we time household chores because someone has to do them.
Why weren’t there any men? Well, we hardly know the men that do join in Up Your Street and also one of the aims of today was to squash any stereotypes about the interests of older women (who sometimes allow guys to dominate conversations). It was hard enough getting a panel as it was. People aren’t that ofay with the principles let alone the history of Anti-Uni. And we needed to trust each other which meant we’d shared spaces together before and managed and tolerated, even enjoyed that.
The high of my day was spoilt when in Roma Traveller Month, a ten year old Roma boy from Roma Corner was ready to punch me after he misunderstood something I said. It was such a playful remark I made, not one bit offensive but he stood in an aggressive stance. My worry was getting across my little something I said in a way he’d understand. In a grasped timely moment, I smiled and turned on my heel. Wouldn’t mind but I’m the only one up this road who even acknowledges the blighter’s parents by saying hello when I pass. Do the travellers and Roma know it’s their month. Does the Pope know it’s Ramadan?
After the day, I’m listening to and watching Chuck Berry and then I hope on some channel somewhere wotsisname is on talking with intelligence not heard in theses parts for a long time; Owen Jones.