Artists Mary Fedden & Katie Minoprio on show at Lena Boyle Fine Art

West London Art gallery, Lena Boyle has a been showing some stunning art works by a range of contemporary painters and sculptors, as well as by established Modern British greats. As far as we can tell, a contemporary artist becomes a Modern British artist by a process that includes shaking off one's mortal coil.

KATIE MINOPRIO, Night Sky, 120 x 120 cm, oil on canvas, Click to view artworks by Katie MINOPRIO

having been dealing in artworks for over 20 years, Lena Boyle is an established figure on the London dealing scene and has a broad stable of artists on display. Her works by Fedden are particularly attractive and seem to hark back to a world that once was, one that I would quite like to visit. In fast changing times, it does seem that keep a record of who we once were and where we are in the rapidly receding present is worthy and enjoyable exercise.

'Going Home' by Mary Fedden OBE RA

A larger list of artworks can be viewed on Lena Boyle's web site at www.lenaboyle.com. She will shortly be announcing her summer exhibition as will many other galleries. We will be reporting back on that very soon.

 

Add a comment

Yashim, Jason Goodwin’s Ottoman Detective, Decadent Sleuthing On The Edge of Your Seat

Having been to Istanbul twice in the last 18 months I must admit, the city’s wealth of charm, history, noise, vastness and perpetual motion kept me enthralled for the entire visit. The first trip was to attend a conference a couple of hundred metres away from Taksim Square during the 2013 June protests. Myself and other delegates were unintentionally caught up in the throng and ended up being teargassed by police and running the back streets, identity badges bouncing in the furore. Thousands of young secular Turks challenged brutal police behaviour in an emotional, yet peaceful uprising against the conservative corruption of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Elderly people banged empty cooking pots with utensils from first storey windows in solidarity with protestors and the adrenaline pumped to the sound of ear splitting chanting.

The second visit was more subdued to the Patriarchate to discuss a potential interview with His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. It didn’t materialise but the next few days lost in the Grand Bazaar and surrounding streets were very memorable. Sitting out on roof top terraces looking over the Golden Horn, or towards the Sea of Marmara, watching the passage of endless ships, felt splendid in the February sunshine. We then took a boat across the Marmara towards Izmir at the behest of the wine bureau to meet up with two leading wine producers and taste their produce. The experience was titivating and rounded off nicely with a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus, home of Socrates.

Why all these memories? Well because retrospectively they felt like a small bit of time travel. I wanted more though. I wanted to experience more of Istanbul, ancient Constantinople. It’s been on my mind and I hope to return this year. 

With these latent desires existing just beneath the surface I couldn’t help finger off the shelf a paperback by an author unknown to me, called Jason Goodwin. I was in the Carnegie Library in Herne Hill Road (where I am often!) and the book for some reason caught my eye. I read front cover idly, ‘The Jannissary Tree’, then the back cover and thought, “I’ll have some of this!”

The central character is the decadent eunuch Yashim, humble servant of the Sultan, who is the first call of anyone in the city seeking discreet solutions to problems that often involve affairs of state, life and death, extremely fine Ottoman cuisine and plenty of Polish vodka. 

It is hard not to like Yashim, his integrity is faultless, his will weakened by beautiful, either aristocratic or partially nymphomaniac ladies, described in such a way that makes them the envy of Ottoman society (if not slightly dangerous). The edginess from my visit is echoed in Goodwin’s stories as the people, ever risible, present an ongoing threat to the authorities in both the first two stories. 

The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin

Goodwin’s real charm is to share his infinite and passionate knowledge of a city he knows so much about, right down to inhabitants taste and mannerisms. He does this effortlessly without leaving the reader lingering on the page. The city is brought to life in many forms from the layers of culture to hidden gems such as the ancient colonnaded cistern beneath the old city that is a gem to behold. I had visited it myself but had no real idea of its complexity until reading the sequel to Goodwin’s first book titled, ‘The Snake Stone’. 

The books are fast paced, Yashim’s apartment is an envy, his recipe’s inspirational (I think there maybe a book on the way just to present these fine dishes to a wanton fan base!), the colour in every page undeniable and the adventure insatiable. 

If you are not a Yashim fan yet, step up to the plate… you soon will be! I am about to start number 3!

 

*Please note that the carnegie Library’s copy is no longer available as the copy I borrowed was lost during a mugging incident in Zurich at the beginning of December 2014. I will replace the copy but haven’t had time.

Reviewed by Nick Breeze (Twitter: @NickGBreeze) 

Buy the books:

The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Ottoman Detective)

The Snake Stone (Yashim the Ottoman Detective)

 

 

 

Add a comment

'Autumn' by Siegfried Sassoon - Spoken Word Poetry

Siegfried Sassoon - Poetry - AutumnA series of tributes to the war poet who took a stand against the “jingoism” of war rhetoric. A soldier, poet and writer, Sassoon stands out with Wilfred Owen as one of the 1st World War’s major poets.

This poem, Autumn, is a touching and graphically emotive, depicting the “fruitless harvest” that war delivers and comparing the scattered lives of men to the falling Autumnal leaves.

Narrated by Nick Breeze

Twitter: @InDulwich

{podcast id=2}

 

 

Add a comment

Orientalist Art Works From London Gallery - Darnley Fine Art

The orientlaist period is one that we at InDulwich find quite ethereal and fascinating... full of opiatic wonder. Here is a small selection from the gallery collection at Darnley Fine Art in Chelsea. If you can't get over to Darnley then at least visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery to get a dose of the treasures that lie within. Everyone needs art therapy now and again!

 



Enjoy!

Add a comment

War Poets: Wilfred Owen, 'Dulce Et Decorum Est'

wilfred-owenWilfred Owen is the most celebrated of the "war poets" and his work captures the tragedy of war, stripped from glamour and propaganda. One hundred years on, humanity still has much to listen to in the torturous words of these young men, breaking down in mental and physical agony to defend the values of their society.

Dulce Et Decorum Est is the first line of a popular phrase used at the beginning of World War I that translates as "It is sweet and right". The second part of the phrase, "Pro patria mori." means, "to die for your country."

Narrated by Nick Breeze

 

{podcast id=1}

Add a comment

Most important movie of 2014? ‘Cowspiracy’ explores the darkest driver of environmental destruction on the planet.

By Nick Breeze 

As someone who spends a great deal of time interviewing climate scientists and writing articles on what climate change really means for us in our lifetimes, I have often overlooked the minutia elements in my own daily routines that are unnecessarily contributing to the destruction of the Earth’s life support system.

 

cowspiracy

 

For parents striving to do the very best for their children in every aspect from education to exercise and social mobility, there is now the greater understanding by scientists that the challenges they will face in the next few decades alone will be driven by the impacts of climate change, only currently visible in the form of weird weather or remote extreme climate events.

 

However, the IPCC conservatively estimate a 2 degrees centigrade rise in temperature by mid century if we continue polluting as we are today.  At 2 degrees centigrade we will have already triggered other warming processes within the Earth system that will accelerate the heating further. The predicted impacts on regional climates and other factors such as agriculture, mean that we will see an exponential rise in conflicts, food price spikes and shortages, mass immigration on a scale never before witnessed (and certainly not on UKIP’s radar!!), and much more.

 

Words like “sustainability” or “global warming” are now so tired, we tend raise our eyebrows in mock fatigue when ever they’re mentioned as if their relevance was a matter of yesterday, as opposed to today. However, our problems have never been more severe and one of the biggest drivers of climate change and environmental degradation, is virtually omitted from the national and even international discourse.

 

What is this hidden driver? I’ll give you a clue: Cowspiracy! 

 

 

I am not a vegetarian and neither have I considered any radical shift in my dietary make-up. Over the last few years I took a lead from the McCartney’s ‘Meat-Free Monday’ campaign and started eating much less meat, trying to buy better quality meat and seeing its consumption as more of a treat. Earlier this year I was made aware that eating meat accounts for between 30-50% of a persons carbon emissions. 

 

The makers of Cowspiracy have been very brave in uncovering an industry that is so unsustainable and environmentally destructive that we have to take notice. If we really see ourselves as animal loving, community loving, good and honest people, then this is one issue that will not pass the viewer by without some serious consideration.

 

In the film’s journey we see exposed how organisations such as Greenpeace in the US are refusing to discuss agriculture despite the fact it is the biggest driver of rainforest destruction in the Amazon (1 acre every second cleared mostly for livestock grazing), also water depletion (staggering amounts of water that go into producing 1 kg of beef), and associated disastrous impacts from producing the feed required for all these animals. The facts keep pouring out of the movie at an alarming rate.

 

Aside from all this there is also the wellbeing of the animals. One of the lasting images is of the cows being marched around the industrial meat complex, resembling the images we have seen from broken individuals in concentration camps or such like environments. This is surely not the mechanism for how an intelligent and empathetic species sees itself in harmony with the natural world? 

 

I urge you to watch this movie and form your own opinion on the content. The more these issues are engaged with then the more we can encourage a change that will create a better world for the next generation.

 

Nick Breeze

Follow on Twitter: @NGBreeze

Review originally posted on Envisionation.co.uk

Add a comment

#Clifi - IDP: 2043 - New Climate Fiction Graphic Novel

Depiction of our not-so-distant future are looking pretty beak... should we take them seriously?

Contributors to IDP:2043: Enfant terrible of Scottish letters and author of Trainspotting Irvine Welsh and graphic artist Dan McDaid, celebrated French graphic novelist and illustrator Barroux, Costa Award winner Mary Talbot and artist Kate Charlesworth, ‘godfather of British comics’ and creator of 2000AD Pat Mills and graphic novelist Hannah Berry, graphic novelists Adam Murphy and Will Morris. Story editor: crime writer and graphic novelist, Denise Mina.

 

idp-2043-cover


Fiction is, by its' own definition, dredged from the recesses of the imagination, but our identification with it usually implies some kind of connecting cord to or from the real world. In the “Cli-FI” genre (shortened from “Climate-Fiction”), authors are increasingly depicting the world as it might be towards the end of the century, or perhaps even a decade or two away. Needless to say, the depictions are seldom desirable, but are these storytellers reflecting an unnecessary internal pessimism, or are they derived from visible seeds of decay, visible now in our current existence?

Having spoken to many scientists about their findings on climate change I am intrigued by the often appended line to the dialogue that goes something like, “…but I am an optimist and I am confident humanity will make the necessary changes before it is too late.” Of course, the trouble is, instead of slowly turning the carbon effluent monster of human civilisation around towards a sustainable future, the rate of consumption, and thus pollution, is actually going up.

Corporations have taken over our democracies, assuming the status of living entities (extremely wealthy entities), and proceeded in buying up vast quantities of the natural world, before converting it into carbon pollution and wasteland. Conflict among humans and the number of failed states is rising. The amount of food being produced is required to go up to feed our burgeoning populations but it can only go down due to pressure from climate change and poor use of land. Corporations are manipulating seeds, patenting them and desecrating the future potential for organic agriculture. Water is running to all time lows as fossil acquirers that supply much of China, India and other regions are drying up. Huge food baskets like California is collapsing to drought. The Ukraine is being destroyed by war. The list goes on and with it the hopes for a stable, secure and plentiful future  diminish.

It is hard to comprehend the reality of all this when one lives in a wealthy western culture like the UK (where I am), and the supermarket shelves are stacked with plentiful supplies of everything and anything. Stalls on the street are bursting with colourful fruit and veg, whilst restaurants and coffee shops are everywhere. The UK imports around 40% of its produce, a figure likely to rise as the government offers up more agricultural land to housing developments. The impacts on food prices from a range of impacts, largely all with a root cause of climate pressure, will be a steady rise with some shocks along the way. Conflict around the world will continue to rise and be exacerbated by these issues. We in the west may feel safe from harm now but the seeds of dystopia are most definitely being sown around us.

In this graphic Cli-Fi novel, titled IDP-2043 (IDP standing for Internally Displaced Person/’s), a number of distinguished writers and graphic artists have contributed to one flowing storyline. Perhaps the most recognisable name in the list is Irvine Welsh but this is very much a collaborative effort and each contributor makes a mark. The story extrapolates out all the trends of our current course, starting with massive sea level rise that leaves the UK about half its current size in area. The government is largely a corporate dictatorship ruling with fear and hardship, with dark plans to save it self.

book-inside

The lead character in the story is a woman from the ghetto who’s growing celebrity and outspokenness is causing problems for her superiors. Even the hit men sent to execute her have some logic to their own psychotic disposition as they lament the burden of human population. The unfolding story is fast paced and makes for good entertainment. It would be great to see many more of these stories being published with strong links to the challenges that we can see in our own societies. For instance, the restriction of education and fairness, and the subjugation of democracy for corporate power, in order than money can continue to flow into the hands of those who least deserve it.

The narrative points to one conclusion, which humanity should try to grasp sooner rather than later. True value does not reside in the blind acquisition of inanimate objects. True value will always be in the balance of human life with nature, the ability to feed to satiety, to sup water when thirsty, to remain warm when outside it is cold (and vice versa), to be stimulated intellectually and to live our lives with respect for the social dynamics of our society, as much as for the individual private worlds which we inhabit.

Cli-Fi is a growing genre and this graphic novel is a worthy contribution, beautifully packaged with its own troupe of talented storytellers to lose oneself in. It is available to order online from Freight Books: http://www.freightbooks.co.uk/idp-2043.html

 
by Nick Breeze

Add a comment

The Monastery Of Saint Catherine - Out Of Reach & Removed From Time

A few years ago at the Royal Academy there was a show of Byzantine Icons, many of which had been sourced from the Monastery named after Saint Catherine 5000 feet up near the spot where Moses received the commandments from God. The Monastery itself is now a small fortress and the treasures within have survived their own existential threats including those posed by the iconoclasts where much art work of substantial beauty was destroyed throughout Byzantium. The monastery being so hard to reach was left alone.

Monastery of Saint Catherine

Image Source: Darnley Fine Art (Orientalist Paintings Specialist)

The British Artist, David Roberts RA spent a great deal of time traveling through the Holy Land circa. 1839. He produced a number of spectacularly beautiful works that bring to life the whole region. His journey started in the Egyptian capital and he traveled to the Sinai Peninsula and on to Petra in Jordan and on to what is now Israel. 

Roberts does perhaps epitomise the “orientalist” period and his pictures are as much a travelogue as they are great art. They bring the viewer in, offering a taste of the landscape, the period, even a chat with the local people of the day; a rounded insight that is cerebral in impact. 

Saint Catherine's Monastery
The Chapel of The Monastery of Saint Catherine (Source: Darnley Fine Art)

A few years ago I spoke to the artist Maggi Hambling about repeating David Roberts journey in a contemporary context. Maggi said, “Great idea but I am not a topographical artist!” She did however, suggest one of her students whom she described as “brilliant”. We contrived a documentary series in the footsteps of Roberts where Maggi would be the mentor and advisor, offering her own brand of sincere and charismatic advice. I still think it would have been a wonderful journey to take but sadly the Arab Spring was break out just at that time and the whole region became unstable. Trying to consider any documentary commissioner to fund such a project would have been a waste of time. 

Maggi Hambling - Oscar Wilde
Maggi hambling sitting on her Oscar Wilde Scuplture near Charing X, London (Source: Nick Breeze)

Provided the treasured icons survive this current period of tumult that is still lingering in the Middle East, we can but hope that one day we’ll be able to travel in the footsteps of David Roberts and taste the landscape and experience that he felt nearly two centuries ago. In these ancient landscapes nothing much seems to change, even conflict is nothing new!

Nick Breeze

@InDulwich

Add a comment