World Stroke Day – 29th Oct 2013

Some of you may already know I’ve worked for and supported a number of charities and charitable causes. This includes the World Stroke Organisation’s World Stroke Day.

In 2010, the WSO and its members worldwide launched the “1 in 6” campaign. The theme was identified to mirror the reality that one in six people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. With the fight against stroke at a crossroads, WSO members and partners around the world joined in solidarity to put forth a simple life-saving message on this day, which is not to take chances. One in six people will have a stroke. It could be you or someone you know.

The World Stroke Campaign aims to disseminate essential life-saving information and share knowledge about actions and lifestyle behaviors that could avert the assault of stroke. The campaign will also identify opportunities to improve and educate the lay public on the fundamental need for appropriate and quality long-term care and support for stroke survivors, including the empowerment of stroke care-providers.

The facts remain:

  • Stroke can be prevented.
  • Stroke can be treated.
  • Stroke can be managed in the long-term.
  • 1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime.
  • Every 6 seconds stroke kills someone.
  • Every other second stroke attacks a person, regardless of age or gender.
  • 15 million people experience a stroke each year, 6 million of them do not survive.
  • About 30 million people have had a stroke – most have residual disabilities

For further information on the campaign please visit the WSO website. If you are in the UK you can also visit the Stroke Association for further information on help and support. Equally if you are in the US please visit the US Stroke Association.

The UK Stroke Association is one of my chosen charities you can support when purchasing art from my online shop. If you would like to donate a % of the purchase price to another charity supporting stroke survivors and their families please let me know on your order form.

Artist Soyoung- Merging Literature with Art!

Artist Soyoung
Artist Soyoung

I’d like to introduce you to artist Soyoung. Soyoung was introduced to me by a mutual friend and I’ve been following her career ever since. Born in Seoul, she spent most of my childhood in Nairobi. She received a MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently lives in Madison, WI.  Soyoung briefly explains her latest project at Madison Central Public Library where she has literally merged her literature with art!

‘ When I was six years old, my family moved from Seoul, S. Korea, to Nairobi, Kenya.  It was then that I first learned the value of creating images and connecting with people through art.  When one loses the ability to communicate with words, images become so much more important/valuable.  And while that time in my life where verbal communication was almost nonexistent was short, it left an impression on me.  As with most artists, I have been drawing and painting and making things my whole life.  My goal always is to tell stories, whether it be through writing or art.

I am always trying to figure out different ways to merge the two forms, writing and making art.  I have found that the two often inspire each other.  I have often painted something with a particular character from a story in mind.  And that usually inspires new writing.  I also incorporate writing into my work.

But my latest project involved the two forms in a slightly different way.  One day, I was thinking about recycling my stacks of manuscripts that I’d accumulated over the years.  I had just written a short piece about a memory from growing up in Kenya that involved the ritual of afternoon tea (you can find the piece on my blog:, and that inspired me to make one hundred papier-mache teacups using the pages of my manuscripts.

100 Cups of tea exhibit
100 Cups of tea exhibit

It was gratifying to be able to use the actual paper to make something new that was also inspired by my writing.  I also made a conscious effort to install the teacups in public spaces where people do not normally expect to see art.  My first installation of the teacups was in the storefront of a chocolate shop, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier.  From there, the teacups moved to a local mystery bookstore, Mystery To Me.  They are now hanging on the wall at the Madison Central Public Library. I’m not sure how the merging of writing and art will continue to evolve, but it is definitely something I love to do. ‘

Soyoung- Oct 2013

I wish her continued success with her work. For further information on Soyoung please visit her website

Moroccan Art is on the Map.

I’m looking forward to how this month unfolds. I’m fortunate to have a number of activities on the go, including participating in the next stage of the Peace Project’s US touring exhibition which is helping to raise awareness and needed funds for worthwhile initiatives in Sierra Leone. I’ve been fortunate to spend part of this month in Africa, experiencing a touch of artistic creativity and observing some of the wonderful architecture that exists in Marrakesh. In visiting this city, I’m reminded of how many cultures have influenced its present makeup besides the French and Arabs. History should be kinder in remembering the Amazigh and other African/non Arabic peoples who have resided over this great land.

Art by Fatima Hassan el Farouj
Art by Fatima Hassan el Farouj

The city’s architecture remains fascinating. The mudbrick walls seen on many of its buildings absorb heat to keep them cool in summer whilst warm in winter. This illustrates how environmentally friendly and sustainable some ancient structures can be. The typography is changing with new developments but the signs of poverty and homelessness remain visible throughout the city.The art scene has been growing over the last few years and this has been illustrated with the launch of Morroco’s biennale and international art fair. I was hoping to visit the Marrakesh Art fair as advertised in some of the art and tourist press but unfortunately someone somewhere got these dates completely wrong. The event takes place next year! Nevertheless I was happy to see the private art collection of Elizabeth Bauchet Bouhlal, co owner of the Es Saadi Palace hotel.   When the owners of the hotel decided to enlarge the gardens and resort with the palace they realised the fantastic opportunity to celebrate Moroccan art and ask a number of artist to create special works for the rooms and public areas. The collection also includes work from artists who were pioneers and opened the door for contemporary ones.

Art by Hassan El Glaoui
Art by Hassan El Glaoui

The collection features work Elizabeth describes as ‘oneiric’ with the painting being based on dreams, on the reconstruction of a spontaneous and free imagination overloaded with images. Departing from what some have described as. ‘ mockingly naive painting’ oneiric art does not appear to have changed or transformed into a new genre. It was a pleasure to see the work of Mohamed Tabal along art by emerging north African artists.