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 Bad10 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 […]

Lines in the sand erased in the sea of history

Ruth HartleyArt Process, Colonialism, Creativity, History, Power, SlaveryLeave a Comment

‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ There was a regular history exam question at my school that asked students to debate whether ‘the hour made the man or the man made the hour’. It usually related to a period of history that we had just finished studying. For example – did Britain’s survival in WW2 depend solely on Winston Churchill’s […]

Truth and storytelling, minds, hearts and history

Ruth HartleyHistory, Human rights, justice, Politics, Power, Storytelling, TruthLeave a Comment

There are those moments when something you read strikes you so forcibly that you know you must embrace it and consider it carefully. When this happens to me it’s usually for an important reason. It may throw a clear light on something that’s happening in my life or in life in general that I need to grasp intellectually. It may […]

BLACK LIVES MATTER and Zambian art history

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, Mpapa Gallery, Politics, Power, Printmaking, Race, Racism, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Black lives have always mattered – not just since the crisis of George Floyd’s murder. Everyone I worked with in Zambia had always felt the same about the fight against racism and it was fundamental to my own art and my work with Zambian artists. Black lives have mattered for centuries Mpapa Gallery and the best art possible In 1984 […]

Reflections on reflecting screens

Ruth HartleyArt, Art Process, Books, Creativity, Imagination, Power, Reading, Storytelling, Writing, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

The stories we write or tell about ourselves come from within us. Now in lockdown, we turn to a screen and a digital image to make contact with people. Videophones and Skype seemed normal – I looked at you looking at me. I was still inside myself and our gaze was shared. When I Zoom to the “Screen” to be […]