I've finished! It meant I had to sit up till one o'clock on Monday morning, stitching. ( This is a big deal for me - I am a lark, not a night owl, and by 10.30 I am usually dreaming of my bed!) This primitive style quilt of the sky pirates was the final piece for my exhibition, which I hung yesterday morning. I'm thrilled with how it looks - which is quite unusual. It mainly features the recent forest paintings, but it also includes the sky pirates illustrations which look amazing framed. Barry, from the Gallery in the village has done a fantastic job of remounting all my work in it's second hand frames. I was just blown away when I went in to collect them! So, if any one is in the area, do pop in for a look and a lovely cup of coffee. It's at The Courtyard Cafe , Chagford for the whole of this month.
I was photo tagged by Linda, of the Briar Rose Gate recently. The idea is to take the sixth file of the sixth folder and blog about it. As you know, I'm a little lukewarm about tagging at the best of times, but out of curiosity, I decide just to look and see what came up. Instead of using my computer files, which are mainly high resolution artworks, I went to the shelf and looked at my photo albums, and then .........You know how it is! I spent ages looking through and remembering people and places that I hadn't thought of in years!
So, I thought you might like to see the picture, and hear the story behind it.
Round about 1998 I was staying in Penang, Malaysia, doing voluntary work at the SPCA. Penang has a large Tamil population, and several of the drivers and kennel workers at the shelter were Tamil Indians. They always showed me great kindness, and during my stay, Anand, the general kennel boy, who was a similar age to me invited to stay with him and his family for the festival of Thaipusam.
Thaipusam is a Hindu festival devoted to Murugan, the god of war. Devotees in their thousands wear kavadis ( a symbolic burden) and make a pilgrimage to the temple of Murugan. Most of these devotees prepare for this by multiple piercings , often of breathtaking complexity. It looks incredibly painful, although devotees claim that there is no pain or blood. The picture above shows Anand's brother Krithiran during the ritual piercing. He had fasted and prayed for 24 hours beforehand, and though I find it hard to believe there was no pain ( especially as a 12 inch spear was inserted through his cheeks and out the other side) there was no blood.
These pictures show Krithiran in full Kavadi, and below, his father, also bearing a kavadi. Anand himself was unable to take part, as his wife was expecting a baby, and so he was not allowed. I followed the procession with his wife, mother and sisters.
This was one of those amazing moments, where you get to experience something through someone else's eyes. I was honoured to be invited to join the family for the celebration, and to stay with them as they made their preparations for the festival gave me my first real insight into how other cultures lived. In their two roomed house, I was treated as a special guest. (though sharing the only bed in the house - a small double, with Anand's mother and his pregnant wife in 32 degrees and 80 % humidity is an experience I'd rather not repeat! Everyone else slept on the floor, which would have been my preferrred choice, but it was one of those moments when it was impossible to refuse without being rude!)
So now, I invite any of my readers who are interested, to take up this 'tag' and show us your 6/6 photo!