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 […]

Blame it on the man in the brandy barrel – Admiral Nelson

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Books, Colonialism, Family, identity, Migration, Politics, Power, Racism, South Africa, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, When I Was Bad11 Comments

Art and storytelling 200 years later by a distant descendant. Born into the British Empire during the Second World War in a colonial country that no longer exists, I’ve been flung around in a turbulent vortex of political and personal change. My art and my writing are the ways I hang on to the world spinning around me. I have […]

Stories about wars that stop us remembering to forget

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Migration, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, The White and Black Blues, Truth, War, Writing, Writing Process7 Comments

Black Cowboys in the Wild West and African-American soldiers in WW2 There are facts we don’t know and facts we choose not to know because they don’t suit us. There are facts that are hidden from us by politicians and power-hungry people and there are facts which are distorted by the media, by myth-makers, advertisers and film makers. When it […]

Tears, fears, longing, belonging and living.

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, identity, justice, Migration, Poetry, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Religion, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Why I cried about who I might become “Why do you want to become a French citizen?” I was asked this question at the end of a gruelling two hour naturalisation interview. I burst into tears. “It’s such a difficult and important decision,” I replied, sniffling. “I’ve had to leave too many places I thought of as home. I want […]

Issam Kourbaj, artist and mentor – “Dark Water, Burning World”

Ruth HartleyArt, Art Process, Burning World, Cambridge, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Human rights, Migration, WarLeave a Comment

Wonderful good fortune Sometimes you know that you have been really lucky! I was when I met Issam Kourbaj, a Syrian artist in Cambridge. I can’t remember who told me about Issam’s workshops but I went along to one without a clue about what to expect. Possibly I heard about Issam from someone at Cambridge Artworks where I had a […]