Andy Anderson

Ruth HartleyArt, Mpapa Gallery, ZambiaLeave a Comment

My friend and a friend of Zambian art and artists

Andy Anderson, a very kind and good friend died recently. I remember him with great affection and gratitude. He was not only a personal friend but a committed supporter of art in Zambia. As an architect, he had a love of design and the visual arts as anyone who visited his beautiful home at Buckridge could see. At his memorial service, I found myself wondering if any of the younger artists in Zambia’s vibrant arts community know about his significant contribution to Zambian art. You can find the memorial service for Andy on Facebook here.

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Ruth HartleyDisplacement, History, Journeys, Migration, Race, Regulation, Sidelines, Writing2 Comments

Writers and journalists

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Things & Thoughts, Objects & Non-objects, Zen & Zoom

Ruth HartleyHome, Objects, PhilosophyLeave a Comment

‘Things are points of stability in life,’ the South Korean-born, Swiss-German philosopher Byung-Chul Han writes in his new book, Undinge (Nonobjects), ‘Objects stabilise human life insofar as they give it a continuity,’

A small and beautiful bowl made by Bente Lorenz who loved to experiment with different glazes she made herself. This is a bowl she was pleased with and loved. She made a present of it to me so it’s very precious.

I read this article titled Byung-Chul Han: How objects lost their magic by Gesine Borcherdt in the online Art Review and felt it was important for me without being sure I fully grasped it. It’s easier to hold a ‘thing’ – an ‘object’ –  than it is to hold onto a philosophical idea.

Han says, ‘Today we chase after information, without gaining knowledge. We take note of everything, without gaining insight. We communicate constantly, without participating in a community. We save masses of data, without keeping track of memories. We accumulate friends and followers, without encountering others. This is how information develops a lifeform: inexistant* and impermanent.’

This sugar bowl belonged to my great grandparents. It was their wedding present in 1850. I use it every day since my father gave it to me. I love it and I love sugar in my coffee. It’s central to my life.

*I have only found this word in French where I understand it to mean – nothing – absence – vacant – null- void.

Objects and Objectification

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Simon Zukas

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Family, Freedom Fighters, History, Mpapa Gallery, Zambia10 Comments

Simon Zukas, a kind and principled freedom fighter

Memorial Candle lit for Simon Zukas

There are people in one’s life who are so important and yet so much woven into the fabric of that life that you take them for granted. This is true even of the people in our families, parents, siblings and also spouses. There comes a sudden moment when you realise that you love a person and need them in your life but in reality, you don’t know a great deal about them. Simon Zukas was significant in every important aspect of my life, but I didn’t know it fully until I found myself crying hopelessly at the news of his death on Monday morning, 27th September.

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Belonging and longing for home

Ruth HartleyDisplacement, Family, History, Home, identity, Journeys, Migration, pilgrimage, Slavery, Zambia, Zimbabwe2 Comments

Settlers and the unsettled

I grew up in a settler community of new homes but the land we took was already the home of African peoples. Many of my school friends’ families were Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe who had nowhere else to go and hoped one day to go to Israel. I quote from a friend Paul M who wrote that ‘the Festival of Sukkot is to commemorate the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the Wilderness after leaving Egypt until we came to the Land of Israel.’ He says that ‘the sukkah (an outdoor pavilion roofed with leaves and branches) is a reminder of the temporary dwellings used to protect the wanderers from the elements.’

Where do I belong?

I had been talking with friends about the rupture of Brexit, about citizenship, about our changing homes and what we might claim as our nationality and rightful home so Paul’s post meant much to me.

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