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Signs and signals

One of the collective nouns for teenagers is ‘attitude’ and I saw a perfect example of this on Friday.

Cycling to a meeting I caught sight of the Eco- School-Protest in Castle Square, Swansea (I made a mental note to cycle through & show solidarity on the way back). Although they had physically disappeared I could still hear their thrumming- cadence of: “The people, United, will never be defeated” and I followed the sound and feel of their collective- pulse. Eventually I caught the straggle-end of their procession as they went off to do a beach- clean and grabbed my tiny sketchbook:

They had what I call the right attitude…

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Singing with Death

I had my second run in with the phenomenon that is Extinction Rebellion yesterday and I still don’t know what to make of them:

Warming up 4 protest

I arrived early for the midday start of the XR Funeral March, in time to observe & admire the meticulous preparations under way, e.g. coffin, 20 foot high stilt walker (Death, whose face I was invited to paint) choir (whose last rehearsal I joined in with). The final briefing – by the beautifully outfitted woman above left -went over the route and exhorted all to be polite and stick together. I wasn’t expecting to draw as I had planned to drum but luckily I had my tiny sketchbook and pen to hand anyway….

Young Poet

As we got to Barclays in Swansea Centre, the march stopped and XR called a ‘People’s Assembly’ – a kind of open mike for political thoughts. The young man above read out two of his poems about climate change (one of the market stall holders declared we were ‘a cheery lot’). One thing was for sure; everyone was dressed to kill and Barclays were rightly taken to task for their dodgy dealing e.g. Tar Oil Sands https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/what-we-do/climate/barclays-tar-sands/:

Woman in ballgown

To be or not to be an XR protester; that is the question. Whether tis nobler to join and suffer the indignity of being told what global warming is (like using a 16.5 tog duvet in the middle of summer) or to just carry on as an intelligent individual who doesn’t need lessons in ecology, protest or the art of the spectacle?

Its a tough choice.

Sketching at the ‘biggest protest ever’

Over one -million people of all ages turned out yesterday to object to ‘Brexshit’ ( I know it was huge because I went to the Anti Iraq war protest and this was definitely bigger). I couldn’t possibly encapsulate the volume of protesters in my sketches but I  have this selection from 10 I did during the day:

Lion

Above, protesters & children take a break on the lion, Trafalgar Square

As I mentioned previously, this demo was so huge that it felt like being on a conveyor belt packed with hilariously funny slogans & performers; I got split from my friends almost immediately (and had stupidly forgotten to bring my phone) but just gave in to the current & kept sketching. One of the only places you could take a breath was beside some performers (like this samba band):

Samba band 2
Above, the 3rd marching(in this case Samba) band I floated past in the huge crowd

I must admit I eventually panicked a little just as we were moving into Parliament Square and I took refuge in a strip of park near Embankment to eat the cake and coffee I had in my rucksack. I wasn’t the only one in need of a break; I sketched these three pensioners talking about how much fun they’d had:

Friends after protest

Three protestors relaxing  in Embankment Gardens

 

 

Being the change

The wind and rain stung our skin but the solidarity warmed us in Cardiff yesterday on the ‘Stand Up to Racism march:

Led by a percussion ensemble (above) we marched from Cardiff Museum to Grange Park, cheered along the way by well wishers of all nationalities.

In the park, a range of speakers gave testimonies of solidarity:

This amazing speaker made the point that she felt very welcome in our ‘land of comrades’, loved studying/ living in Cardiff and wanted to make a difference. She empathized with people of colour who are rejected simply because of their skin colour and mused that, because of the variation of her skin –tones (owing to having Vitiligo), she is potentially outcast by racists over and over again but remains strong, accomplished, beautiful and defiant!

Young women changing the world

Ladama is a pan- American feminist band surprising in its ability to combine integrity with dance music. I came across them in Summer on the first leg of their European tour and did some sketches of them performing and doing workshops:

I have converted the above into a mono-print (currently being exhibited at Cinema & Co as part of ‘Revolting Women’).

You can help Ladama fund their next album here:‘s Kickstarter.

Playing with poison

What I really meant to say on the eve of our Women’s Day Revolting Women event was: we have been experimenting with blue-prints to put in the show. Its irresistable to me as It allows the use of sketches and photographs together.

Sometimes referred to as cyanotypes, they are created using a controlled amount of deadly cyanide. The first person to create a book illustrated with cyanotypes in 1843 was a woman called Anne Atkins (see her fern llustration below):

Anna_Atkins_-_Pteris_aquilina_-_Google_Art_Project She was also the first person to use a photographic process in a book, preceeding Fox Talbot’s Pencil of Nature by a year!

Its a fiendishly unpredictable process, but Rose and me managed a few successful pieces:

blue prints

Come along to Cinema & Co tomorrow to see more!

Universally ambiguous (more revolting)

Its not surprising that there have been so many representations of the ‘mother and child’ through art. Co – Revolting woman Rosie Scribblah and myself have captured many mums with children on our scribbling adventures:

jo-and-phoebe Jo and Phoebe: detail from Rosie Scribblah’s blog, 2018

However, looks can be deceiving. Look at my sketch on the same theme:

grandmother-child.jpgGrandmother & Child, ink sketch Pattimcjones 2017

This was rapidly captured in an A&E queue. I was so struck by the unassuming serenity and strength of this woman – the little boy had bashed his face but was dozing on her shoulder- that I got into a conversation with her as I sketched (for 5 mins before she was called into the consultation room). She turned out to be the boy’s grandmother.

The nurture of a child involves many unseen participants; Revolting Women will be drawing you in to more like this (in print) very soon!