Wednesday 16 January 2019

My cultural life: Pauline Bewick

Pauline Bewick
Pauline Bewick
Henri Rousseau
David Attenborough
Alice in Wonderland

Pauline Bewick was raised on a small farm in Co Kerry, Ireland. Her mother Harry took her two daughters to Ireland in the late 1930s after leaving Northumberland, England. Following their time in Kerry, they went on to live in England once again, moving from progressive school to school, living in a caravan, a houseboat, a railway carriage, a workman's hut, a gate lodge, back to Dublin and to Kerry again where she has settled for the last 44 years.

Bewick started to paint at the age of two and has continued throughout her life. On turning 70, Pauline donated 500 pieces of her life's work to the Irish Nation. She is a member of Aosdana and a Royal Hibernian academician and has two daughters; Holly who lives with her family in Italy, and Poppy who lives with her family near Pauline. Both are respected artists.

The Irish Cultural Centre and the Barbara Stanley Gallery will present an evening of film and conversation with Pauline, hosted by Dylan Haskins on Friday, March 9, as part of the Mayor of London's St Patrick's Festival.

TV: Attenborough's Ark

Last night I watched David Attenborough (below) filling his ark. The creatures he chose, from the tiniest frog to crystal-making worm-like creatures, showed his breath of understanding and lack of sentimentality about all living creatures. Again, it was so refreshing to hear his non-judgemental ways.

David Attenborough

Music: The Wonder

On the feast day of St Brigid, also the night of the blue moon, shining on and off in the navy blue sky and the dark clouds covering its vividness, I hear accordion music and see a group of torchlights, nine or 10 young people wearing white shirts with a Brigid's cross pinned on each, they fill my studio, each wearing tall hats made from straw. Two women with even bigger straw hats encouraged the group to play a kerry set for me, then a brush dance, the music filled my studio. One piece particularly caught my heart - played on a small brown "bosca ceoil" - they called it, The Wonder by Orlaith Burke and Eadaoin O'Sullivan.

Artist: Henri Rousseau

Henri Rousseau

One of the Henri Rousseau paintings that hangs in the Musee d'Orsay, Paris stands out larger than life; The Snake Charmer (above). Standing on the edge of a river in the twilight, the magic completely overpowers one. Sometimes the freshness is not there in a more correct and formal painting, it's made dull by its correctness.

Place: BBC Broadcasting House

It was there I met Jilly Cooper, we were both interviewed together by the great Libby Purves. The first thing I noticed was the gap between Jilly's front teeth - just like mine - and we could not stop talking. By the time we had left the gorgeous building we had become "best friends" that never met again!

Book: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel. In all of my 83 years it has never lost its subliminal philosophical magic. From childhood to old age, this book talks to you, it has a mystery the way life has a mystery.

Pauline Bewick Exhibition, at City Hall, London will be opened by Ambassador Adrian O'Neill on Wednesday, March 7-21,

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