Saturday, 11 March 2017

Thoughts on Saturday - Iraq & Afghanistan Memorial and Howard Hodgkin

Thoughts on Saturday

Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial

A memorial to those who fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan was unveiled on Thursday. It is two Portland stone monoliths with a bronze medallion between. Three sides of the stones are smooth whilst the third is rough hewn, to represent that the conflict is not resolved. The memorial, by sculpture Paul Day, commemorates the contribution by both military and civilians, those who survived and those who died. No names are inscribed, the military that lost their lives are remembered at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Even with something so poignant there is always controversy. Tony Blair attended, in his role as an ex-Prime Minister. But he is blamed by many for the unnecessary war and the deaths of their loved ones. In contrast many grieving families were not invited, not as an oversight we are told, but because the monument celebrates the living and the dead and not everyone could be invited. I think that is a poor excuse. Each and every service personnel that died in these conflicts should have had a member of their family invited. This monument was paid for by the generous donations of the public, the same people who were denied.

I have no idea what it must be like to lose a loved one during conflict, many were young, just sons and daughters, not old enough to become fathers and mothers. Many returned permanently disfigured and disabled by the effects of war. It is a beautiful and fitting memorial.

On lighter note I watched the unveiling live, I had Bear, my two year old grandson, sat next to me. Cameras cut to a couple dressed in their army uniforms with a wriggling two year old in his mothers arms. He wriggled and wriggled and tried to escape. He did not want to say hello to the queen or present her with a bouquet. The queen, herself a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother smiled. She knows how stubborn two year olds can be. I am sure the parents were really stressed but I hope they smiled afterwards, we did all the way through. We just love two year olds.

Howard Hodgkin 1932 - 2017

Howard Hodgkin, painter, died on the 9th March 2017 aged 84 years. I must admit until his death I had never heard of Howard Hodgkin. He is described by Tate director Nicholas Serotaby in the Guardian newspaper as;

one of Britain’s greatest contemporary artists, known for his explosively coloured paintings of what he once described as “emotional situations”

Ummm. No. I am thinking The Emperors New Clothes. I'm sure that my grandson can do much better paintings. Am I just a philistine or is Howard Hodgkins work wonderful? I'll leave you to judge. If you'd like to see more, his gallery is here.

Howard aged 84 (By Source, Fair use, Wikipedia)

Grass and Sea - Bear aged 2

Artist at work



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