The buzz around When Shadows Fall continues:
April 3rd 2022
Sita Brahmachari is speaking at The Oxford Literary Festival
May 2nd 2022
Sita and I are launching RAVEN TREASURE, an art and storytelling extravaganza
at The Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival
When Shadows Fall Paperback Launch
RAVEN TREASURE Sita and I perform our art and storytelling extravaganza at
The official Edinburgh International Festival
booking details TBA
I do not remember when the times we live in were discussed as often as they currently are. Given the lockdowns, isolations, and occasional threats of annihilation that root us so firmly in an uncertain present, the constant analysis is unsurprising and seems to come in three distinct genres.
There’s straight forward yearning for life as it was. We would not be human if we did not long for all those freedoms that we innocently took for granted. There’s desperate denial from conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxers and other extremists. Then there’s the stuff that informed and inspired my latest project: MANIFESTO FOR A NEW NORMAL; the voices raised to protest ‘norms and injustices once accepted as ‘just how things are.’ From Black Lives Matter, #Metoo, Extinction Rebellion, Times Up and others, we are examining the pieces of who we used to be and deciding that we can do better.
MANIFESTO FOR A NEW NORMAL is a 10-piece embroidered series made during 2021. It echoes traditional practices of stitching for New Life, such as the Layette, sewed by expectant mothers for their babies and the carefully initialled household linens and bridal finery layed in ‘bottom drawers’ and trousseaux. The working title was, at one point, A REBEL TROUSSEAU. The language of this project explores social demands I no-longer wish to conform with and the precious hopefulness that thoughts of shedding them inspires.
HAD ENOUGH? UNLEARN IT. Is one of three embroidered mazes representing the mires of convention that I am interested in challenging. Are you, it asks, good enough? Kind enough? Masked enough? Hollowed enough? Filled enough? Fearless enough? Skilled enough? Wise enough? Wise enough? Seen enough? Hidden enough? Tame enough? Quick enough? Sorry enough? Strong enough? Measured enough? Thin enough? Empathic enough? Shown enough? Obedient enough? Wary enough? Non-Threatening enough? True enough? Feminine enough? Hard enough? Perfect enough? And concludes HAD ENOUGH? UNLEARN IT. This call to unlearn old rules first appeared in the concluding work of my 54-piece series KisforKevin. It seems to be my go-to clarion call for breaking the rules and making real, positive change! I love the joy of the christening gowns and bonnets: BEGINNING AGAIN? BE TRUE THIS TIME, THE WORLD IS IN NEWNESS. THIS IS A TIPPING POINT, JUST BE TRUE.
This is my manifesto. Let's explore what needs to change!
I'm so proud to have illustrated When Shadows Fall, latest book by the force of nature that is Sita Brahmachari! We have been talking about this project for many years. It's Book of the Month at Hive Books who are giving a 25% discount on the £12.99 retail price. It's also book of the month at LoveReading4Kids.
Sita in Conversation with Michael Rosen, celebrating When Shadows Fall
I'm not too used to illustration but working with Art Editor Charlie Moyler, I was allowed to be playful, taking textures from existing etchings, ink blots, scorch marks and good old bubble printing to make imagery that does justice to the drama and emotion of the tale. I even got to feature some classic North London Brutalist Flats. Here are some images from the development process, some of the final illustrations and some of examples of the marriage of text and image on the page.
You are invited to my talk and Q&A for Ro2ART
Host: Jordan Roth.
Time: 8pm GMT on Sunday May 16th.
YES! THAT’S TOMORROW!
Just click here: http://ro2.us/nataliesirettarttalk to join the Zoom meeting.
I'm having an actual (NOT virtual) exhibition, opening this month in Dallas, Texas. With everything in Europe so thoroughly locked down, I am feeling very, very lucky. This slideshow shows some of the works on show. Details of the exhibition and opening event are below.
Kevin, Wishes & Charms
WHERE: Ro2 Art in The Cedars 1501 S. Ervay St. Dallas TX, 75215
WHEN: April 17 - May 15, 2021
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, April 17, 2021, 12-8pm
Ro2 will be hosting limited entry opening reception, reserve your FREE ticket via Eventbrite: RSVP
Natalie Sirett is a British artist trained in academic painting and printmaking. Her newest body of work is informed by the survival of her own body, now in remission after undergoing ten months of treatment for cancer. Sirett hand embroidered over fifty antique handkerchiefs as she processed coming to terms with her own mortality.
The intimacy of these textiles; square patches of fabric that hold joy, uncertainty, sadness, loss, happiness and hope, are a compelling choice of substrate for the artist’s words to exist on. The images take shape on a background of memory, pierced, looped, and needle-worked into Sirett’s compositions. These fiber art pieces, as well as several assemblage sculptures have never before been exhibited.
Sharing Rebecca Elson's Antidotes to Fear of Death because a vision of the vastness of time and space knocks me out of myself and into an appreciation of LIFE; a much-needed tonic on days like these. Happy New Year!
Antidotes to Fear of Death
Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.
Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.
Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:
No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
But unconstrained by form.
And sometime it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:
To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.
It is possibly unfair to have christened my carcinoma Kevin. I’m sure there are many delightful and honourable Kevins in this world, but when I was first diagnosed with cancer, my terrified brain could not get close to imagining this thing inside me, which, unless it was dealt with, would eventually kill me. I took to calling this 48mm triple negative carcinoma Kevin because, as Lionel Shriver’s novel states, ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’. This new series of artworks K is for Kevin documents the experience of addressing Kevin. Each phrase embroidered on handkerchiefs is taken from my steroid-fuelled chemo diaries. Together these pieces tell the story of Kevin’s demise in 54 chapters.