Lullaby

Today.  eight months later. Maggie and I displayed my community art project called Lullaby.

Getting a space at Hackney Central Library was not easy as the powers who flout that power seem to have changed the word ‘community’ to ‘in-house’ with a programme of set events and habitual Hackney sponsored outfits such that others haven’t a chance especially when the management takes their time to reply to requests. I have displayed community projects many times at the venue but am surely not one of the favoured few. Bovvered? This morning Maggie and I were not greeted let alone noticed so we just got on with it.lull arthus

Lullaby is a project which lent on the memories of seventy year olds and better who subscribe to Up Your Street. The response was poor and the best ones were verbal rather than by email with the very best response being a full hand-written account of the place of lullabies in a working class background.

I wanted to know which lullabies the seniors’ mothers/parents sang to their siblings and which they sang to the generations below them. Their answers inspired me to create collages, acrylic paintings, textiles at RAGWORKS and doilies. I was led into internet sites to discover more and to re-inforce to myself that I was wanting authentic tales.

Many memories are buried deep under shopping lists and painful stuff, images off telly and are left in unvisited corners.

“Rock A Bye Baby” was the most known lullaby and I had to probe to find out if people really sang the verse to babies or were just invading a memory bank. Betty Clayden wrote down the relevant words from Hiawatha’s Song. From that point I remembered songs I borrowed from Inuit and First Nation’s People music. I searched the internet too to find the real words rather than the ones I offered at bedtime.

Cuca emerged representing the common lullaby in South America and as I was painting so the civil unrest exploded in Venezuala and I was in touch with exiles from the torn country.2017-08-26 21.22.01

The yellow doillies are a homage to Hiawatha and his Song with its beautiful words  and imagery. Real feathers adorn the rounds encompassing European and Japanese music scores and titles.

The RAGWORKS “Shoal” represents in recycled textiles the little fishes on the little dishes in “When The Boat Comes In” a song softly sung to babies and used as a theme tune on a TV series, “The Likely Lads”. Thanks to Margaret Houlihan for loaning that to the exhibition.Fishes on Dishes RAGWORKS

Special words related to lullabies and mothers spring up such as “hush” and “cuddle”, “comfort” and “slumber”.

There is a set of four canvases representing the lullaby morphed from the popular folk song all about a young woman bemoaning her married life.  Of course the song is more likely the prayer of a child-bride The theory is that many mothers sang lullabies as a form of catharsis and confession in order to release their feelings about an unwanted domestic life.lulla mug

The Butterflies collage is a reference to The Lullaby Project in the Orkneys which highlighted the butterflies as the  dead souls of buried children in unmarked graves in Ireland.

Advertisements

No. 26 of 27 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015

IMAG02751Jemima Puddle-Duck by RAGWORKS

 

 

In The Crib                    from Ribbons a poetry and photographic collaboration with Jake Green

(Brixton 2003)

 

Con fuoco, con forza, con brio

Nobly the rapper pointed her finger

at nobody in particular

She stamped with fire and force

And was vigorously blinged

In acrylic finger nails

And digits goldie ringed.

 

Was jus’ stressin’

As she dubbed each beat

First the index then the second

Then the finger of the wedding ring

And as she formed the o

Twixt thumb and pinkie

Her lips synchronised the shape

 

 

Later in her crib

Stephanie kicked off her Reeboks

And un- gripped the extension from her hair

Tonight  was a hard scene

Rapper Queen’s eyes widened

In a yawn

She hoped the photographer

Got her lip stud and new joggers

Performance was all.IMAG00653

 

 

My bus journeys on Older Person’s Day 2014

What a title for a day, eh?june w

Anyhoo I had to get to The Mill E17 today to reclaim RAGWORKS from its exhibition. Central Line was down and so some bus passengers were on diversion from their usual subterranean voyages and were looking out of the windows, mobiles in hands wondering whether a bus carnival were happening at Central’s bus station. Red, red, red everywhere. The bus driver was as helpful as pie to passengers and I joined in the banter. The stunning thing in all this was that the driver was actually interacting with his passengers and he was mildly surprised when I said that we passengers get the impression  that we’re nuisances in TFL’s manic bus schedules. He said that passengers are ignored because in the main the public are mannerless and drivers get the brunt of every frustration. I agree totally.up_your_street_2[1] (2)

 

I submitted my controversial RAGWORKS wall-hangings to Rosetta Arts Centre for an upcoming art exhibition in Plaistow all about anti-slavery and anti-human trafficking.

ragworks a la vistaprint

RAGWORKS hung like meatHung Like Meat

RAGWORKS knocked up Knocked Up

dont take my child 3Don’t Take My Child.

All this travelling takes hours and today was hot, hot, hot. I love going there to Rosetta: David , the community outreach guy is cheerful always and welcoming. The building is an old Victorian school; tiled walls, parké floors, turrets and tiny windows.

Job done, scooted out and ran for the 276. Lily was there on the bus sitting tight with her shopper/walker and began a conversation by saying she felt guilty about her walker taking up space in the aisle. Guilty! My camel. I told her the buses were designed for her. I also announced that it was Older Person’s Day. She said she felt no different but that the day was yet young.

 

Her daughter has chickens and brought down half a dozen eggs. She went into the cupboard and accidentally poked an egg open. Then she accidentally poked three more eggs so had fried eggs for breakfast. Yummy. On her next journey to Tesco she bought six eggs, packed them into her walker basket and trundled onto the bus. A drunk man sat next to her and chatted then insisted on helping her off the bus. In coping with the walker he managed to smash two of the six eggs. Lily lives on fried eggs! She said she didn’t know why she was telling me all this but I’m passing on her tales, my adventures from the buses on Older Person’s Day 2014

good life

 

 

It’s been a week of art.

It’s been a week of art and it’s not over until the fat lady sings; there’s RAGWORKS to measure and catalogue ready for October 16th. Time flies.

Just caught up on BBC Iplayer to get up to date with what’s occurring in the planet of established art and saw Zephaniah and Goldie doin’ Matisse and Turner. Fresh take on things and a change from Tim Marlow who I last saw trying to get any considered responses from Bailey about the whys and wherefores of photography and legacy. That was painful and Marlow was a dog with a rag. He actually put words into Bailey’s mouth. Way to interview! Job done.

Zephaniah was interested in Turner’s depictions of slavery and he investigated an huge painting “The Slave Ship”. Ole Zeph was not in his culture comfort zone or rather responded way too emotionally to art. It was a case of “I know what I like and I like what I know”. There were some great camera shots on the works of Turner and Zephaniah’s locks.

Goldie looked like he was lovin’ it. He saw Matisse as a joy-bringer,  raved about comfortable colours and hinted at Matisse as being one for the people.

Up Your Street community group is off to see Constable at the V&A in a couple of months but I tried to watch “Constable , a country rebel” on TV late night the other night. Too too boring . I still have to plough through the “Abstract” series on BBC Four. Lordy Lord.

The word “Outsider” crept into the programmes I watched with Zephaniah describing himself as an outsider and empathising with ole Turner. Really? Didn’t get that. I did get that Goldie was the only black man in Tate Modern that day and that I’ve never in my life seen a Rasta in any posh gallery. Oh Beeb and your diverse ways.

Up to my neck in Outsider Art having been to Seniors’ Art School in Southwark Park. Saw a doodly exhibition and lots of minutiae in biro. I’d been to the BowArts exhibition of Madge Gill’s work as it was pulled from the archives. This was my first conscious sighting of “Outsider Art” and it took me two hours to think positively about the scribbles. I am not that interested in the biography of the artist or hearing any pseudo psycho-analysis about an artist in glorious retrospect. Just let me soak up the work and see if my judgemental spirit responds well.

At the workshops we participants followed through tasks to redefine drawing per se. No easy task to fiddle around with charcoal, pencil, ink , 30 pieces of A3 paper. wobbly easels, moving images, Charlie Mingus’ airs and artspeke in half an hour. No sir. We were to loosen our perceptions of what drawing should or might be so we stroked and dotted in time to Mingus. We became ambidextrous experimenting with our other hand and lapping quilled ink over wax crayon or felt tip inside pencil-drawn spirals. The hostility towards the tutor ebbed and flowed depending on the awkwardness of the task.

In the afternoon we were allowed to use biro to draw. We used postcard-sized paper and drew, scribbled, doodled, cut and pasted as in days of old, hardly laughed, felt uncomfortable and were a superficial “we”.

Another journey begins.