Storytelling in words and pictures and & what it means for history, fiction and our lives today

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Books, Colonialism, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, War, Zambia2 Comments

The importance of art and photos – Gallery 37d Lusaka Zambia

A woman in black is silhouetted as she walks down a long gallery with paintings on either side

37d Gallery at the stART Foundation in Lusaka Zambia

Its wonderful when things come together to help enrich our lives and our understanding of the world. There is an art gallery in Lusaka Zambia – Gallery 37d – that is the home of the stART Foundation which supports Zambian artists. Apart from this important work they have been behind a very beautiful book about some of the people of Zambia. Gareth Bentley and Johan Rahm are the authors but there are other sponsors and contributors.

 

The Extraordinary Zambia Book

An old white-haired Zambian man in a suit with a medal bar on hs chest sits on a stool in his concrete block house with his possessions arounf him. Behind him his bed is hidden by curtains.

Mr Aaron Katonga Veteran of the 1941 – 1945 Burma Campaign in the Far East

Extraordinary Many of the extraordinary people in this book are known to me but there is one portrait in the book of someone I have never met which has special significance for me. It is the image of Mr Aaron Katonga, a veteran of the Burma Campaign in the Second World War. Nowadays few British people know of or celebrate the contribution made by colonial soldiers to the defeat of Germany, Japan and the Axis. It is a theme in my novel The Tin Heart Gold Mine. Samuel, one of the characters in my book fought in Burma for the British. (pages 229 – 233) Read More and Comment …

Billy Holiday singing Strange Fruit, James Baldwin on America’s racial problem and Charlottesville.

Ruth HartleyPolitics, Race, Racism, Writing Process9 Comments

 

 

We are the same flesh –

– we are brothers and sisters – we are parents and children – we are lovers and friends – we are all one people – humankind. Until we stop hurting each other in our desire for power we will never know peace and happiness.

The first two films are from more than 60 years ago – the third is from last week.

 

Robert Loder and his gift to Zambian artists of the Triangle International Artists Workshops

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Art Process, Creativity, Zambia6 Comments

Making Art

This blog is a tribute to Robert Loder, a great and generous person.

Some of the best things that happened to me in Zambia were because I met Robert Loder and he involved me in his passion for setting up artists’ workshops.

“Making art is what is important,” Robert said to me one day. I have never forgotten those words.

They have informed my life, my teaching, my art, my involvement with Cambridge Artworks, as well as my  work as a writer. My experience as a participant at the Mbile Workshop, now known as Insaka Workshop, was an enormous help in my development as an artist.

 

Mpapa Gallery, Lechwe Trust and art in Zambia before 1991

I had the unique opportunity of working at Mpapa Gallery alongside Cynthia Zukas, Joan Pilcher, Patrick Mweemba SiabokomaLutanda Mwamba, and Style Kunda.  At that particular time in history, 1984 – 1991, Mpapa Gallery was the only resource working for Zambian visual artists. There had been other initiatives before and other dedicated people had always done their best to support the arts. Bente Lorenz‘s ceramic studio was a creative space for Zambian potters and sculptors. Gwenda Chongwe and Diana Fynn’s Zintu Crafts were doing essential work for Zambian crafts. The Zambian economy, however, was in a disastrous state Read More and Comment …

Gabriel Ellison – artist, writer, designer and extraordinary woman

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Books, Zambia25 Comments

 

Gabriel Ellison

Gabriel Ellison, MBE and Grand Officer of Distinguished Service, was a very private person. You would never have guessed from her manner what an important role she has played in Zambia or that she was decorated by both the British Government and the Zambian government for her services to the arts in Zambia. She worked tirelessly all her life and did everything to the highest standards possible. She was a writer, artist, designer and loved to cook. Zambia was the country of her birth and she was devoted to it and known all over the world for the beautiful Zambian postage stamps that she designed.

 

 

 

The artist and designer

I personally, never knew Gabriel well but I did know that she was greatly respected by my friends in the arts in Zambia and that they valued her friendship enormously. In spite of her quiet, and rather reclusive life, her art is to be seen everywhere. Gabriel had painted murals at the Lusaka Airport and in many other public places. Every time you saw the Zambian flag or the Zambian coat of arms or any Zambian stamps you were looking at a design made and executed by Gabriel Ellison.

 

 

Celebrating Zambia and its women

For years I assiduously collected her stamps, Read More and Comment …

And still we rise…! 84%! – Tanvir Naomi Bush

Ruth HartleyFamily, Racism, Society, Storytelling, Writing5 Comments

Dear Readers – introducing my extraordinary novelist daughter, Tanvir Naomi Bush, who is crowdfunding through Unbound for her next novel – please read her post for a flavour of the story. If you like you can help through Unbound.

CULL has hit 84% of total and is on a roll!

A woman is lying on her back, hair curling out around her head. She has a big grin on her face and her eyes are shut. She is covering her face with one hand

84%! Yikes!

For those of you unsure about what this is all about, what the hell kind of novel it is and why on earth you should pledge and become part of this wonderful project, please allow me to shed some light!

CULL is my second novel, a literary fiction set in ‘another England’ where austerity has set the country’s teeth on edge. Hate crime is on the rise and the government has just passed The Protect and Care Bill as a cost- cutting method demanding the elderly and vulnerable, no longer able to afford care, are housed in huge residential centres for their ‘own good’.

Alex, a hard-bitten journalist, has fallen on hard times and is struggling to find enough work to pay her bills and keep her off the street. She is visually impaired and lives with her wonderful and compassionate canine companion, her guide dog Chris . . .

Read More and Comment …