I love scary movies-not the slash and burn type-more of the spooky sort. I recall watching one such movie ages ago, late at night (when else?), alone (because no-one else fancied being scared shitless) and almost dislocated my back from frequent sliding off sofa and chucking my poporn bucket in the process. The Poltergeist. Something…
…and There's Nowt So Queer As Folk…(ref: Welsh Bible Ch.1 vs.1) In 1967 when the UK partially decriminalised #homosexuality I was 10 years old and my family were in the process of getting out of Kenya and moving to Dubai. And I was about to be shipped off to a boarding school in Surrey UK…
These three youngsters with their beaming open-faced smiles could likely be anywhere in the world. They could be found scampering around in the leafy spaces of city parks. They could be found joshing around on the manicured lawns of suburban houses. They could be playing games on hot pavements, oblivious to the hustle and bustle…
Steven Spielberg has a lot to answer for. He traumatised probably a generation of teenagers, myself included, who regarded a night-time swim as something pleasurable and romantic. Especially those who would spend their school vacations in a hot climate such as myself in the Arabian Gulf. That all changed after the release of the movie "Jaws".
Till today I will sometimes when swimming on a summer's night in the balmy waters of the Mediterranean feel a shiver down my spine. I'll have swum out a few hundred metres then stopped,let myself float as I gaze back at the glittering line of yellow and orange lights illuminating the beachfront and then… maybe a bit of seaweed will wrap around my ankle, or maybe nothing, just my mind cruelly digging up an old image…and I'm freaked out. This is someone who generally regards herself as a daredevil risk-taker, (jump the queue outside an electronics shop on Black Friday? Pff!), but something about being alone in a huge body of black water, not being able to see what lies beneath me in the dark depths, thoughts of sharks lurking even in a generally shark-free sea, and I get jittery.
Imagine then if suddenly the shore line of orange lights all went out, the indistinct conversations of people on the beach was cut off and I am adrift in the seamless surroundings of black sea and black sky, nothing to distinguish the two except dots of stars scattered in the firmament. I am out of the dark water, but only just, as I balance myself against the sides of a heavily overladen dinghy crammed with people. I don't know how to swim and anxiously watch the sea lapping into the dinghy. I have a child in my arms, both of us shivering from the toxic cocktail of fear, cold and hunger coursing through our veins.
Why would I undertake such a perilous journey? I may well have never been to sea before in my life. I may never have ventured further than the outskirts of my town/village, most likely in the company of my extended family, most of whom I will have now left behind.
Why would I do this?
I probably will have witnessed people dying of dehydration, exhaustion and drowning, before my eyes. Will I be next?
I have aspired to capture this chain of thought in the face which illustrates the 8 of Diamonds card (part of the Malta Playing Cards project) even though I know that my worst nightmares don't equip me to fully comprehend her fears. Image on MOAS Instagram:
"Drowning is not so pitiful as the attempt to rise.
Three times t'is said a sinking man
Comes up to face the skies,
And then declines forever
To that abhorred abode.
Where hope and he part company-
For he is grasped of God.
The maker's cordial visage,
However good to see
Is shunned,we must admit it
Like an adversity."
"He feels himself buried in those two infinities, the ocean and the sky, at one and the same time: the one is a tomb; the other is a shroud."
#Victor Hugo, #Les Misérables
My painting "The Joy Boys" which has been donated for auction to raise funds for MOAS couldn't be in more stark contrast to the face gracing the 8 of Diamonds card.
Two years ago I was approached by a young couple with a surprising proposition: they wanted to commission me to paint Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper". In my style was the only specification. I felt alternately daunted, disinterested, resistant and, mostly, out of my depth. Nonetheless it was a tempting challenge and me being…
Yes well, I'd like to launch into a fairytale and lord knows don't we half need a bit of suspension of reality given the grim state of world affairs. Facebook feels like a wall of white noise, alternately flooding with a barrage of distressing news to which so many respond by flexing their opinionated muscle,…
I'm laid back; it's an Aquarian thing. I'm often told that if I was more laid back, I'd be comatose. And that's just from the friendlies! But I do have my screaming banshee moments. Usually in the confines of my art studio, fortunately, because if anyone witnessed these episodes of fuming, crawling up walls, glaring…
I'm on the street outside my house and suddenly my heart lurches and I break out into a cold sweat. I've left the front door keys inside. And I'm butt naked. Ever happened to you? No? Me neither. Just in my dreams. My most senile moment-so far-is taking the rubbish to the end of my…
I think I have a mild case of whiplash after a weekend being driven around Sicily. No head-on collisions involved, thankfully, given the Sicilians' notoriously haphazard style of driving. On my frequent visits to this beautiful island I am always surprised one doesn't see pileups on every intersection-although the telltale signs of "who dares wins"…
With requisite bush hat pulled low over my eyes to shield my face from the glaring sunlight, my trigger finger poised over the button, I scan the crowd of industrious workers bustling around me. My trained eye constantly focusing and shifting, looking for the right combination. I see it, seize the moment, and shoot. The…