Last weekend has been truly rewarding as well as inspiring.

Saturday – I spent the day with a group of young artists and designers – delivering a course on communication and presentation skills. We’ve been talking about setting up something like this for a very long time – and then life happened. Everything slowed down and the entire 2011 – went by the way side.   I’m glad to be back in my element and am now working on building a partnership project with IlangoArtspace, Chennai in India.

The training session went really well. The participating young people were thoroughly engaged and I was deeply moved by their openness to learning.  The best session was in the afternoon when they had to work on their own presentations and the range of styles that came out as a result was simply mind blowing. I would love to create this magic again..

Sunday – I was invited to give a talk at Spaces, Chennai on ‘Artists and Leadership’. This was part of an arts market organised by Prakrit Art Gallery. Again, I was amazed at the quality of work that was presented there. Lot of sales… it was really heartening to see the direct contact between the buyer and the artists.  My talk was part of the artists support organised by the trade fair organisers. Initially it seemed like a difficult concept to get to grips with but a short summary with lots of personal anecdotes got the juices flowing and the questions were put forward. There was also the language problem, some of them didn’t understand English.  But quickly that disappeared too. From what looked like a formal session, it turned out to be a very inspiring afternoon for all of us. Prakrit Art Gallery and Meena Dadha have done a great job in putting this fair together.  Artists from all corners of India came to showcase their work. The plenary was about how the artists should look at other areas to strengthen their personal development – such as presentation skills, marketing and publicity etc.

More initiatives like this are needed to put Chennai on the art scene along with Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai and to stop the talent drain that it often suffers with.

Like many I wondered where did 2011 go? What can I do differently this year? How can I make it count for something?

Well, it starts now with this posting.  And I couldn’t start without mentioning the verdict on the Steven Lawrence case and the sentences given to the two killers.  All of us have been touched by this case in one way or the other… directly or indirectly. Having worked in the field of diversity and racial equality, I know how this case has brought fundamental changes to the way institutions had to look at the way they dealt with issues of race and equality.  Yes, things are not the same as they were twenty years ago, but we still have some way to go. .

The loss of Steven can never be fulfilled. A mother will always want her child over any precious social change or a policy change, but if it wasn’t for this case, who knows where we would have been in terms of race relations in the UK.

The Arts Development UK Professional Fellowship Programme is now open for members to register completed professional development and training experiences and to be able to qualify for one of three AD:uk Fellowship classifications.
For further information on the programme and how to apply, please visit: http://artsdevelopmentuk.org/training-and-cpd/professional-fellowship-programme/.  Please note that this is restricted to members only, so if you have not yet joined (or rejoined) AD:uk, now is the time.  Don’t miss out.

Trying to set up artsconnectuk has been a real challenge. It’s been a year since Nick, my co-director and I dreamed up the vision for artsconnectuk, but where has the year gone.  When I look back, yes, we’ve been busy – with life generally.  But for the past four weeks, I’ve dragged myself out of the tunnel and am now moving forward to a future where the concept of making a difference in the arts community finally comes to fruition.

Sometimes it’s good to talk through your vision – it comes alive and that’s what happened when I met with Steve Donkin from Sentientcapacitydevelopment.  While talking about artsconnectuk and the different threads developed so far, I realised that it’s time I pulled all this together.  Steve called it ‘mapping’.  Well, that’s my next task now.

Onwards and upwards.

Autumn abstract

I’ve been working on this for the past one week. It’s beginning to take some shape now in an abstract sort of way. The autumnal red is a mixture of:  Cadmium orange (hue), cadmium yellow and indian yellow with a hint of crimson red. I also made the blocks of green a bit more pronounced. I would work on the patch of red on the right hand side tomorrow. I’m not sure it’s sitting comfortably from a composition point of view.

IThe photograph looks somewhat greener – a kind of emerald green, but the original is slightly warmer. However, my real challenge is bringing this painting together. The ochres, oranges and the yellows ought to balance out with the other colours, but I’m not able to capture the mood of this painting. I’m loving this challenge though and frankly, I don’t know what the finished painting would look like.