Hi all! It’s been a very long time since I blogged and I’ve missed it. At the neglect of my blog, I’ve been very active editing and writing for Occhi Magazine. In the last few months we’ve reviewed some great films, directors, authors, visual artists and award-winning musicians such as Jackiem Joyner and legendary Sergio Mendes. Please visit the Occhi Magazine website for further information. I’m also pleased to say OPEN Ealing has also opened its community art centre in Ealing, London.
Unfortunately, like other venues, the community’s use of the venue has been under threat due to the coronavirus. Under the growing shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ll be confined in my studio, writing and working on some new work I hope to share with you.
In these difficult and unprecedented times I wish you and your loved ones the very best. Like most of you, I’ve witness empty shop shelves, panic buying and a great sence of fear. Please look after yourselves and each other by following recommendations proposed by the World Heath Organisation and your national health authorities.
Hope you’re all well and enjoying life! Friends of the Earth has partnered with theprintspace and The Guardian to host a month-long art exhibition focused on acts of resistance that give us hope and inspiration in the face of the climate crisis.
Friends of the Earth invited the global creative community to submit artworks inspired by the whimsical, darkly humorous placards that people make for demonstrations and show that the voices of activists are heard, people power works and change is possible. You’re invited to join The Art of Activism on the launch night for the first look at the exhibition. The show opens on the 19th September to 13th October.
What to expect
A multi-artist exhibition highlighting that climate activists are brave, ingenious and resilient. This is an informal night, bringing together the art and activist world – there will be no talks or presentations, just a chance to view the art for the first time and meet like-minded people fighting climate breakdown. You can also expect works from artists including Jeremy Deller and Katharine Hamnett. The evening is free of charge, but please register for a ticket to avoid disappointment.
Prints will be available to purchase following the launch via Guardian Print Shop raising funds for Friends of the Earth to support their campaigning work in areas such as fighting climate breakdown, doubling tree cover and stopping fracking.
Speaking on the event, Stuart Waplington, CEO of thePrintSpace said,
“The climate crisis is real and immediate. Change must happen now if we are to have a hope of achieving a sustainable society. At theprintspace it’s fair to say we have had a massive realisation that this problem is so urgent that it requires everyone to act immediately. As Greta Thunberg says, I don’t want your hope, I want you to panic.”
For further info please visit the Friends of the Earth (EWNI) website.
Trusting all is well with you and yours! As a Director and Trustee of OPEN Ealing, I’m happy to share news of the organisation’s new pop up shop in the heart of Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.
OPEN Ealing was founded in July 2010 by a group of local artists and residents of the London borough of Ealing, with the support of local organisations such as Pathways, A2Dominion and community groups West Ealing Neighbours and Ealing Arts + Leisure. The aim is to provide cultural space and exciting arts programmes to the community by bringing artists, performers, art groups and residents together, promoting creativity, providing education and creating new opportunities. In recent years, OPEN Ealing has been looking for a new permanent physical space to call home. However, during the months of September and August, OPEN Ealing will host artwork and workshops by local artist at its pop up shop on Oak Road at the Entrance of the Shopping Centre. If you live in the Ealing area please drop by. For further information on OPEN Ealing and its future programmes please visit https://www.openealing.com
Hoping you’re all well and enjoying life. It’s been a busy few weeks, head down working on a few projects and paintings. I’ve included two recent works which form part of my Fusion Series. The works will to be exhibited shortly.
The Fusion Series is an experimentation of colour, using a variety of acrylic paints and ink, encouraging you to think about the relationships between tones and textures in paintings, how they provoke emotions and support mental well being.
A variety of health professionals accept that our healthcare environment has a significant impact on a patient’s perception of their medical care and, in some cases, their actual recovery. Health professionals continue to explore the psychology of colour and how chosen hues on walls, floors and furniture can have a positive, or indeed negative, effect on a person’s health and wellbeing.
Continuing the original theme, the attached works have been influenced by a growing body of evidence that climate change induced mental health issues are increasing. It is particularly worrying to know this is a growing issue with teenagers.
I will endeavour to share evidence and updates in future posts.
‘Children of the Snow Land’ is an extraordinarily moving, inspirational and absorbing documentary, filmed from the ‘roof of the world’ where families struggle and sacrifice everything to help their children.
From the age of 4 years old, children are sent to school in the city, hoping education means a better life. Unfortunately, this comes with the likelihood they will not see their parents and families again for 12 years. Children of the Snow Land documents the life experiences of children born in the High Himalayas of Nepal and follows the journey of three students as they embark on a perilous trek back to their respective villages.
One of the directors is Zara Balfour. Zara is an award-winning director, producer and writer with 18 years experience in all forms of documentary, film and content, specialising in films about the world we live in and people and cultures worldwide. She has filmed in over 20 countries, often documenting community projects in developing countries.
She began her career as an actress before moving behind the camera as producer and director. Zara set up Picture on the Wall Productions and has won awards at film festivals including Berlin Film Festival (winner of the Prix UIP for Best European Short Film), London Film Festival, European Film Awards, Telluride, Warp Records v Creative Review Awards and Cannes Lions. I was fortunate to catch up with her ahead of the film’s general release and ask a few questions.
What support did you get from the Nepalese Government or national agencies?
We didn’t ask for support in the beginning but the school organised a fundraising gala screening in Kathmandu after we completed the film. The Mayor of Kathmandu and the Vice President of Nepal attended. Now we have their support and we hope we can facilitate further fundraising events.
Was the filming of the documentary much of a logistical challenge?
The villages are off the grid. It was only ever two film crew plus a guide, porters and the children. Half the time it was me and co-director Marcus Stephenson or I was accompanied by our cameraman/photographer Mark Hakansson.
We used solar charger kits and backpacks, enabling us to film in difficult and remote areas. We did have porters and donkeys to aid our travel but the journey was treacherous. At times the donkeys would panic in the face of treacherous river crossings. All the rivers start in Nepal and head down towards southern Asia. Some of the dangerous moments aren’t on film and I am scared for the children going back home this year because they won’t be accompanied. It isn’t an easy journey and it’s tougher than it’s shown on film.
What about a sequel and is there anything you would do differently?
I would like to revisit the children in future to see how their lives have changed. Perhaps film them in a similar style to Michael Apted’s ‘Seven Up’ series, which followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964. On a technical level, a bigger crew and more resources would have been nice.
So what are the next steps?
The documentary will be streaming on demand and on general release from 14thMarch 2019 at Curzon Cinemas in the UK, Ireland and Malta.
The aims of Children of the Snow Land are:
To show a global audience what some young people have to do for an education – and allow the Children of the Snow Land to inspire people around the world with their tenacity, grace, courage and wisdom.
To increase awareness and help improve the lives of Himalayan children attending school far from home by helping them to stay connected with their families, and to ensure they make full use of the education for which they have made such a sacrifice. The film has already inspired donations of over $30,000 to directly help the children.
To encourage development of the Himalayan villages so that eventually children won’t have to be separated from their families to achieve an education.