No.16 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015

 The Petition

Bride-price me

for my skin is glowing

I shine in the sun

of the Harmatten noon

like the Palm Oil Maiden

who melts

to a pool of scented balm

                                                              Palm Oil Daughter

Bargain for me

for my thighs are caressed

and plumped

by overeating of pounded yam

and odoriferous stew

Slip your hands down the round

of my shoulders and neck

I was spread over

with cocoa butter

and softened to touch

These arms you examine

are firm

from river side slapping

on washday lines

See my long strong fingers

how they twist and twine

my coil-sprung hair

Choose me

for I can measure in my hand

the amount of salt

for the meat

and the strength of the chilli pepper

by its heat

how to sit in silence

when the man eats

and the crickets sing

My skin is deep brown

in the yellow cling

of the kerosene light

Take me

for I smile

closed mouth in the night.

**************************

RAGWORKS

RAGWORKS a wall-hangings collection made entirely by hand from discarded textiles is back at
                                the Hornbeam Café in Bakers Arms E17.
The works depict world folk-lore and nursery rhyme characters. During Black History Month hanging proudly are Anansi, Leo, The Palm-Oil Daughter and gorgeous in her harem trousers, young Cinderella.
The Hornbeam vegan Café is always buzzing with workshops, meetings, music and good cheer. They sell a wickedly delicious hot chocolate in a mug as tall as The Orbit and vegan sausages in posh bread. On Wednesdays it’s a sight to see the organic veg being packed up for delivery and the collection of useful items in the recycling bays ready to be re-homed.
All in all a good space in a good place, I’d say.
Regards, Gillian Lawrence
RAGWORKS hand-made by Gillian Lawrence is a 30 piece art collection previously on exhibition at Stratford PictureHouse E15, Hornsey Library N8, The Centre For Better Health in Hackney, The Mill, E17, the Hornbeam Café E17  and at other community venues across 4 London boroughs. gillianamuir@aol.co.uk

RAGWORKS comes to town

In the spacious gallery that is Stratford east Picturehouse amidst the smell of pop corn  and within the echoes of staff chatting by the hot dog machine downstairs, you will be amazed to find RAGWORKS. Under sympathetic lighting,  wall-hangings depicting Grimm and Anderson fairy tale characters,  West African humanised animals and other flights of an artist’s fancy are  displayed on recycled bamboo hangers.

These art works have been lovingly hand-made and crafted from abandoned refreshed textiles begged from local manufacturers.

Come and see The Palm Oil Daughter, how pretty she is as she melts by the river or Red Riding Hood covered in blood.

Gillian, the artist, (that’s me) studied art at Hornsey Art College and  West African literature in Leicester way back in the seventies before the word ‘multi-cultural’ met Carol Vordermann’s vowel-tray and has exhibited batiks both in east London and Orkney. Over the past two years whilst forging ahead with Up Your Street Gillian has attended many art and craft workshops in the 6 London 2012 boroughs., notably ceramics at The Centre For Better Health in Hackney.  Thirsty to revisit techniques from university days she has joined and completed felt-making classes, patchwork curtain ones, screen -printing workshops, courtesy of Songololo-Feet, and a host of other courses which appeared as freebies to engage seniors with the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. All to the good. Can’t stop learning.