Sunday 21 June 2020

Not pearls of wisdom

Lovely blog readers, over the next week or 2 I'm going to write a series of posts here reflecting on who I am. Before eyeballs roll up in exasperation be reassured I'm gradually working my way back to focussing on my art. If you find the navel gazing and politicking all boring and tedious I get it. Hang in there a bit and I'll shake the bee out of my bonnet...Will provide some pretty pictures so if the writing is all too shite to plough through there is some light relief.

"Ethnic Icon 2"mixed media canvas from 2012.  48x65cm. Applique, machine embroidery, felting

In my last blog I explained why I ditched Instagram.

This blog is the place where I’m entitled to say whatever I want, including any, all or some of my contrarian views. If you disagree please understand I strive to make this a safe place where I’m not demanding or expecting you’re here just to provide the passive applause soundtrack. If you feel inclined to comment, to disagree with anything I’ve said, I welcome it. 

I’m not a great all knowing Buddha sitting on my lotus throne dispensing pearls of wisdom. I won’t be shocked or outraged if you rush up and kick my halo off and jump on it (although I hope you’ll refrain from spitting on it). I actually concede, like other adults in the room, I don’t have all the answers, I’m not always right (possibly even seldom). My views are always conditioned because they arise from the circumstances in which my identity has been formed…. but I try to express what I think coming from an understanding that my lifetime is a continuum of learning, revision and striving to find an ethical way of living within flexible orthodoxies. 

"Ethnic Icon 1" mixed media canvas, 2012. 39x62cm.Applique, machine embroidery, acrylic paint

Above all, I always aspire to work from an orthodoxy that is cosmopolitan, flexible to be re-evaluated and inclusive. I want to be a member of the human race, not somebody confined to having a voice limited by "race", nationality, culture, religious beliefs (none) or gender.

That all sounds pretty virtuous and high minded so I’ll acknowledge it’s a never ending project to keep that inclusivity open to people I judge as tribal and dogmatic. As soon as I say to myself “this is my position” in my head I’ll start formulating and running the opposing view and feel compelled to allow that that idea has authenticity too. It is a paradox of holding a cosmopolitan attitude that if its applied with due integrity you have to allow that diverging opinions and world views, arising from individual subjectivity, identity and multiple intersectionalities, are no less authentic than our own.

Born in 1959, so I’m now 61, I’ve lived through a fascinating era. The second wave of feminism, that I was too young to understand or be involved in, made irrevocable changes to how my life has panned out. Political and social changes wrought by “Womens Liberation” meant my life was no longer going to be confined to the world of domesticity. My own mother had to leave her job when she got married. As her firstborn child I grew up with the expectation I’d work outside “home”, have the option of tertiary education and quite possibly even have a professional career. I had access to what was quaintly termed “birth control” which allowed me to engage in out of marriage sexual relationships without the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy. In 1971 after my mother got divorced she couldn’t get a mortgage from the bank to buy a house because of not having a husband. She had to persist and fight just to get a loan to buy a car. 60 years later all this must be virtually inconceivable to young women.

Penelope, a necklace I made from 2016 (the face image is 18thC historical and out of copyright)

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