Archive for July, 2014

Painting over the past…

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2014 by kathydasilva

IMG_6347bI opened my eyes this morning, knowing I really had to do something with the painting I started at the weekend just to feel happy. Whatever happiness is. Whatever, I could ever hope for. And lo and behold, the freshness of a new day gave me the initiative, of course, brighter colour, lighter colour, it would lift the whole thing, the canvas needed it’s light back, somewhere between either overworking it or being too on top of it, plus I had started to use alkyd oil colour supposed to dry quickly, and let you work more quickly over the top. Well, how did the ‘dull’, get in there?  So this morning for better or worse, my painting started to transform.

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Some of the blue or violet flowers had to go too. But, the instant the brighter greens went down I began to cheer up, and see something new. A perfect antidote for depressing results.  And yes it is the job of painting a canvas to make it what it is meant to be it has a life of it’s own. I am I think more Chagall and and a bit more Kitaj, than I have anticipated! I will now be able to move onto some other canvases with some zeal. It is working for me to update, to modernize. I definitely was left feeling cramped in style last Saturday, and it needed to be stopped that feeling. Feelings fester, and grow like a mould. The mould in the end would destroy something inside. So I am happy now. Indoors out of the glare of a steady, bright but intense sun,  I felt a bit more in control of my environment, and it is a truth painting has to be a contemplative adventure.  Chagall,  dreamy and floaty images, that allow breath to the subconscious mind.  Then I began to think also of the very much larger canvases that would be a preferable size. And I love art to be a physical experience too. Something a person can encounter and wonder at.

Comments welcome!

An Afternoon in Chelsea (Sunday 20th July)

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2014 by kathydasilva

IMG_6193Last Sunday I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time in the Borough of Chelsea. Partly due to taking part in the Pintar Rapido ‘experience’, and also because of not wishing to keep riding the Central Line for a third day running, nearly its entire length.

Pintar Rapido, is supposed to be a kind of spontaneous experience of making a piece of art on location in a day, and in lightning fashion showing the art the very next day for sale at exhibition. It’s great if you are a speedy painter. It’s great if you win the prize, and I guess also if you make a sale.  There are some other experiences, that I guess come with the territory of everybody needing to get feedback. I found last year when taking part for the first time, that Pintar organizer’s left very few clues as to how to cope. In criticism of Roger Beckett, the ‘en masse’, of over 400 artists or more queuing and all as needful as eachother, pouring through the doors of Chelsea Townhall, did make me feel rather like I did when attempting getting into art school, a kind of proving ground for talent. Equally, it must be said I had already been there. I had passed quite lordably with a 2:1 Hons degree with the University of Middlesex (originally Hornsy School of Art made famous by Anish Kapoor, recently retrospectively at RA, Piccadilly).

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I started well on Saturday, and everyone throughout the day was so positive, yet again, it’s not possible to guage a result. The on location worked well, the end of the day, saw me, ‘giving up’ the game, with the sound knowledge that a masterpiece sometimes takes longer. I loved the idea, the effort I had made, but, although showing the piece was part of ‘the deal’, I still felt let down somewhere in the process. It seems dreadful to see the whole reason for the excitment, possibly was the excuse to show and get artists together. However, most fine artists are also quite shy about their work, and not so sociable,  though excuse me for trying to find words to explain. I think all artists are sensitive people.   For those of us who had to queue and collect our work at the end of just a one day show, it is amazingly one hell of a low, (I mean mood wise). Yes  there is the anticipation of some money if a sale occurs, but also, the spectators the supposed art enthusiasts, vary in their ideas of what is great and what is ‘throw away’ forgettable. There is room for variety of style, and there were some attempts by a few of the artists to break away from classical concepts of art.  I by accident or by virtue of visiting some shops by mid Sunday wandered into Saatchi’s vast gallery which is a stone’s throw from Old Chelsea Townhall, and the African exhibition was still up, I had not had the chance to see it.

IMG_6295 But, as you can see you are faced with an amazing larger than life experience of ‘ants’, in the first room, and the space alone does give the spectator room for thought and indeed a good walking pause between pieces of art. I think Pintar Rapido organizers this year for me were trying to ‘pack’ too much in. It felt like a rabble, a market place, yes but, too much emphasis on ‘sale’, and not enough appreciation was going on.  We are all feeling creatures, well especially artists.  These ants were about two feet long, in Saatchi’s gallery, they occupy one room. I when an art student made installations the size of the space they would occupy. What I found myself producing was a small Daler board of work, that ressembled by ‘accident’, folk art something Henri Rousseau  might produce.  Ahem! Well there are two ways the canvas will go, either looser, or more detailed.  However, am thinking all of this through. So my summer may well be, rethinking the whole project of flowers and wildlife in the inner city.

IMG_6335This was my attempt and to be truthful looked better in the park than packed together with so many other pieces! The Renee Magritte of a canvas against the canvas God provided in nature itself. St Luke’s Gardens were indeed the best location for spending a day.

London’s ever changing population

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva on July 9, 2014 by kathydasilva

London’s ever changing population.

London’s ever changing population

Posted in Current affairs, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2014 by kathydasilva

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I have lived in London on and off for about twenty years or so. I graduated under the tutelage of  Middlesex University, as it is now. But, then, what had been an independant art school, Hornsey School of Art, became part of the new trend of polytechnics. They I think were  a derivative of the technical college scheme. I think it just means many sites, under one roof, as Middlesex Polytechnic, had about five or six in all. I came to London to look at colleges at the tender age of nineteen. Even then, the sense of many influences of cultures far and near, were ever present in the restaurants, local cafes, and clothes sold at market stalls, on a Saturday and Sunday weekend.  My taste for different foods, and foods with more exotic and exagerated flavourings, became the norm for my own sense of appetite, and satisfaction. My first flat mate cooked a mean chilli con carne, and served it with brown rice. I had not had brown rice before then.  And then too, this influence led me to experiment with food of my own. The wonderful moment when a young person emerges, independant of parents, to explore what the world contains.

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Camden market, sprawls over two sides of a canal, with river boats, and new apartment blocks with  balconies. There too, you will find a variety of food stuffs, paella freshly cooked in a large pan, and curries, served hot for those days when drissle is all that comes down from a grey city sky.  A few years ago, I had become aware,  of the effect of living in this kind of ‘Bohemia’, that my character and personality had become stamped with the indulgence in book reading, and collecting of many years of life. Smoky atmospheres, music flowing lightly from wireless radios. My sister had visited, and I had persuaded her to have a sepia tattoo. They do wash off! But, in any case, she was intrigued, and I had often seen these decorations on the hands of Asians who attended wedding celebrations.

IMG_6160I have never had a problem with the very mixed race of people that occupy, this city. The religions vary hugely. Most of the new foreigners are more than glad to be in a democracy which offers choice of who you are and what you become. It is a relative freedom. People talk of becoming Westernized. But, most of the young inevitably are going to pick up on the joys of music and partying through their school years, and beyond. How we all do change, little by little into the adults of the future.

I live now further away from the central zone of London’s heart. I live in an area predominantly Asian, but with some black Caribean influences. And now because of war there is a kind of digging in effect for these British Asian people, feel under suspicion. The racial tensions created by events of the last decade, seem to become a perpetual source of anxiety.  Now too the muslim immigrants from war zones, filling up the available accomodation in London’s east end, are changing the demographics of the city. And the recent news of a stabbing, in the less sizable town of Colchester, of a young female student in a full-length abaya and hijab,  suggesting that the motive was religious or racial or both. The situation in the neighbourhoods of Redbridge, is marked, by the local Tesco, somehow trying to be all things to all people, selling Kosha food, and, Halal meat in its fridgedaires, all marked and sign posted.

A walk through any part of Islington, might show some of what is now new, but the sluggish flow, of people and traffic even in the mid-day period. Are we a little Egypt, or an island of Moroccan and Persian, cafe owners. You could be forgiven for thinking that, in a certain place that the world had become occupied by a men only population. Or is this their culture, the women stay at home whilst the men, go out to smoke over samovars, smoking through pipes, taking it easy, the lazy day of a summer afternoon. I felt the only female standing. I walked as if in a strange dream down a road leading to Finsbury Park train station. There seemed to be hundreds of men of a swarthy complexion, some with turbans of a variety of naturally dyed materials. Some with just enough curiosity to look up at the strange woman looking rather pale, the English woman passing through as if in a completely different land.  I can only conclude, that the war against terror, has displaced many peoples, and again that many people are displaced by war, and civil war which may have nothing to do with us. We the British, we the raj of yester year. I love Indian curry. I am partial to Moroccan cous cous salad. I will eat falafal in pitta bread. I will read Albert Camus. My friends are who they are, whatever the race, whatever their religion, Hindu, muslim, catholic, atheist well some. Agnostics. Buddhists.  London the hotch potch, gridlocked, polluted, smoke. The big smoke. (to be cont’d)

American Programmes, that seem to ‘intercede’…

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva on July 2, 2014 by kathydasilva

American Programmes, that seem to 'intercede'….

American Programmes, that seem to ‘intercede’…

Posted in Stories and reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2014 by kathydasilva

I by chance came across a youtube presentation video by Russell Brand the other day whilst trying to  upload a supportive statement of my own, about the whistleblow of Ed Snowden, the ex-CIA operative, who told the world about the excessive gathering of information on the internet, as a result or in persuit of  surveillance, and security.  He particularly pointed out a programme by Judge Jeannine Pirro,  who had mounted quite an ‘offensive’, against President Obama’s resistance to intervene speedily in the Middle East affairs of Iraq, and it’s problemmatical invasion of the terror group ISIS. Russell was of the opinion, that the programme was full of propaganda nuance, and that it would hardly be advisable to go about a campaign of bombing, that was suggested by the afforesaid judge.  I would agree that more bombing would only cause harm to this already fragile economy post-invasion Iraq. This troubled country with at least now 800,000 new orphans created by the Bush era US government’s gung ho attitude toward the famous ‘War on Terror’.  Russell made me look at the presentation of Judge Jeannine Pirro, with an almost resultant horror of what she deemed appropriate action toward the region, where ISIS invaded. And so I wondered at this type of presentation of information, and the resultant influence on public opinion, particularly the ‘average’ American. So how many would be saying yes to that desire of a judge? ‘Just go bomb the hell out of them’ attitude.  I kept thinking of the orphans. I kept thinking of the reduced plutonium that had polluted areas where the US and it’s ‘allies’, had bombed before. I kept thinking of the many, many children being burdened now with disability for a lifetime, because no one had stopped this hideous version of a war before. No one had managed to ‘shout’ loud enough. And world leaders either abstained from taking part, or like terribly blind sheep just followed.  I find a lot of these programmes, quite horrible. I find the statements about peoples from completely different cultures to the USA, discriminatory, unequal, infact quite racist. I meet muslims in the place where I work, young students, who had been made refugees by these very conflicts, and their futures have been altered inextricably altered, by the circumstances of these wars. They struggle learning our language, and then they have to retrain, for employment, retake exams to an ‘English’ standard. An Iraqi student said that ISIS were not from Iraq, and were independant as a group, maybe coming from Jordan and Syria, but this week, The London Evening Standard implicated that some of the group ISIS were Iraqi insurgents. This is not so. This is not fact, and I am wondering who they got to verify the details in order for that to be printed in British press? Anyone with that answer? To afraid to travel to the Middle East in case of kidnap or beheading? Where have all the intelligent reporters gone? Vacuous programmes with little adhesion to truth, are ruining America’ s image abroad. We stand shocked by swearing, blind, raging personalities with nothing to really say, that is of any worth. What happened to the Harvard trained graduates, or have standards slipped. The verbose, loud, angry, with out reason to be angry, other than with themselves for loving death and killing more than creative and responsible decision making. Anthropologists, historians, writers where are you? Why no loving understanding response to tribes people who have their own indigenous histories, and tales, and cultures. Why when it is the realm of Mesopotamia, and Alexandria,  the places where the seed, or root of intelligent thinking, and invention stemmed, why is it America seeks to show aggression toward these people who have far more worth, than, a tabloid can muster or make comment on. I feel appalled. I feel shocked, my sense of the programmes that are aired, currently is that they are full of vacuous empty sollutions with little or no wisdom. People in the USA should begin to switch off their televisions rather than be led by something ungodly, and evil, dark at best.