Miriam Lucia

Producer director actor Miram Lucia CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst
Sam Shepard, theatre plays writer
Encounters with Sam Shepard

Went to see ‘Encounters with Sam Shepard’, a medley of four distinct pieces of Sam Shepard’s work: “Cowboy Mouth”, an autobiographical piece about his relationship in the early 70’s with Patti Smith; ‘Action’, surreal anti Vietnam war piece set in a haunting post apocalyptic world; ‘True West’  a complex relationship between two brothers. ‘Savage/Love’, a set of monologues trying to capture what romantic love is.

This slick production Directed and produced by Miriam Lucia, actor and founder of the Clerkenwell Actors studio, engaged the audience in tense drama that encompassed difficult, emotive often humorous and frighting aspects of human nature, which also revealed our own complexities; the direction and superb performances made me forget where I was.

Theatre producer director sam Shepard
Savage Love, Sam Shepard, CAS Production
Director producer theatre performance
Savage Love, Sam Shepard, Directed Miriam Lucia
Director producer theatre performance
True West, Sam Shepard, Directed Miriam Lucia
theatre performance director producer
Cowboy Mouth,Sam Shepard, Directed by Miriam Lucia
Theatre performance director producer
Action, Sam Shepard, directed by Miriam Lucia

There is an opening title on the poster advert, a quote by Sam Shepard – “I hate endings. Just detest them…The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning.  That’s genius!” –  It could also be a mantra for Miriam’s own journey, which starts in Melbourne Australia.  Her parents, both from Northern Italy, met in Trieste.  Her father, a Photojournalist, met her Mother in the dark room.  Her father left for Australia in 1956 and her mother joined him a year later.  Miriam was born in Melbourne. She commenced her actor training under Helmut Bakaitis, the then artistic director at the St Martins Youth Theatre in Melbourne.  Miriam moved to London at the age of 22 and worked in bookshops and continued auditioning and taking classes.  Met her husband and together they journeyed on to live in Bristol, Sheffield, Florida and Amsterdam, starting over each time and always keeping her finger in the drama pie.

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Scene from Cowboy Mouth, directed by with Miriam Lucia
Sam Shepard actor writer director cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

In Amsterdam Miriam plunged into her career now her two sons were at school.  She met some great creatives in this cultural and popular city, in a few months she was acting, directing and producing her own work alongside working as a dialect coach for some big films. (Glenn Close and Julie Christie were amongst her clients).  She won a bid for a theatre space, started producing and performing several plays “pulling in all her resources” and then went on to set up her first theatre and film company, Minor Miracle Productions.  Alongside her theatre productions she started producing short films fuelled by her work with the Mauritz Binger institute in Amsterdam, a screenwriting institute.  Some of her films were shown at the Cannes and Venice film festivals.

Theatre production director
An Evening on the Couch, directed and produced by Miriam Lucia, CAS Production

Then, boom, another beginning and they are back in the UK and the door revolves the year is 2004. 

Producer director actors american writers
Miriam with her American writers, Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

“Who am I now?” is what Miriam tells me she asked herself, and with that she decided to get back into the UK scene as an actor, found a new agent, started getting theatre work and decided to do an MA in actor training at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  Whilst writing her dissertation she took on the role of understudy for Leslie Manville at the formidable Old Vic Theatre in ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ so that she could interview and observe closely the actors’ process as research for her dissertation.  Interviewing Jeff Goldblum, amongst others, was a real highlight.  Miriam also stepped in several times for Leslie Manville during the run.

Miriam Lucia
Miriam Lucia in Kitty’s Fortune
Actor Miriam Lucia
Miriam Lucia in Guardians of the galaxy

Miriam is an international, having being born and grown up in Australia, she knows that her background inspires and influences who she is and how she works.  She loves being in Europe but also has a great love for American playwrights and film makers, she admires and adheres to the American attitude towards continuing to develop as an actor by taking classes regularly throughout ones career.  In fact this was the inspiration for starting The Clerkenwell Actors studio (CAS) as an ongoing training space for professional actors.  It has evolved into a strong company of actors.  This is something she is very proud of, she believes in constantly challenging yourself as an actor and director.  Her most recent directing work with CAS, includes “An Evening with Tennessee Williams, several mini play Fests producing new writing, and “An evening on the couch ” extracts from David Mamet’s work. 

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Mini Play Fest, Directed by Miriam Lucia, CAS production
theatre production CAS cake
Strawberries in January, directed by Miriam Lucia CAS production

As an actor Miriam has most recently worked on the upcoming BBC series ‘Bodyguard’ and ITV series ‘Girlfriends’  Film includes ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘One Chance’.  Who knows what is coming next.  This is not an industry where one can plan too much ahead but one has to feel inspired and creatively fulfilled to stay in it. 

James Corden film director actor
Miriam Lucia with James Corden in One Chance

“Being the creator of your own work is hugely satisfying and makes me feel totally alive and energised” she says, her next plan is to make a short film of Cowboy Mouth, in the pipeline for October.

Sam was right  “The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning.” 

photography director producer cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst, Hair and Make-up: Becky Buriton

Nayan Kisnadwala

Photography art artist banker guru
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

I am looking at this painting bright silver on vibrant cyan red, of two tropical birds mirroring each other and detailed patterns almost like decorations surrounding each bird as it appears perched on a rose.  I gaze at another image of spirals and circles that form a pattern like a rose set in hopeful gold.  Art and geometry or art and maths, this is what artist Nayan Kisnadwala talks to me about when we meet.  Sacred geometry, he explains is everything in nature, a rose, a flower, nature is perfect geometry, it is the repeating circular movement, as he turns his hand a few times in a circular motion.  I am staring at another painting of roses in the moonlight, one of his series for his upcoming exhibition, the roses are delicate and the leaves shimmer, when Nayan enlightens me with something beautiful, “Gold represents the sun, the sun represents the soul, the moon represents the mind and the coming together of soul and mind is meditation”. 

Painting Artwork Nayan Kisnadwala
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala
Artwork artist painting gold geometry cake
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala

Always very good at art and maths at school, he had to choose between both his love of maths and art, he decided to choose maths and finance and turned away from his passion for art, he tells me how he was highly ambitious and that he wanted to succeed, and chose a career in banking.  An MBA at New York University Stern School of Business, completely focused on his success, his ambitions paid off and his life has been happy and balanced with constant travel, collecting art, as well as living in a long list of several cities around the world, including New York, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Lonavla, Houston and Kennett Square in Pennsylvania.  His base is a home in New York, Mumbai and London that he shares with his wife Sonal, and his daughter Karnika Kisnadwala. He married his wife Sonal in New York in 1986, it was during this year he also met Her Holiness GuruMaa Jyotishanand Saraswati at her Ashram, that his spiritual journey also began.

Photo artist banker guru cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Nayan trained in art with the tutelage of David Cranwick, who with a few lessons, turned on his ‘art switch’ like Guru’s do.  When he paints he chants Shri Hanuman Chalisa or listens to the classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj  or Rattan Mohan Sharma, his canvases are his meditation from the universal energy stored in his subconscious mind.  Mesmerising artworks that you will stare at, as the pictures pull you towards them drawing you in.

Artist art painting cake
Artwork: Nayan Kidnadwala

“Nayanmitra Art is spiritual in nature, where I combine learnings and symbols of all philosophies and religions of the world ” he explains, that he has learned that all religions are fundamentally the same and that people just misinterpret them, in his art he combines sacred geometry, colour therapy, numerology to create pieces of art to help with visualisation and positivity.

art artist banker cake
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala
painting roses art cake
Artwork: Nayan Kisnawalda

His recent works for his next exhibition are roses, acrylic on canvas; roses are perfect geometry, the selfless creation of God, a beautiful array of colours and fragrances, and are used as offerings to God because of the emotions they represent.

Art artist banker cake guru
Artwork; Nayan Kisnadwala

His parents were originally from Mumbai, but later migrated to Nigeria; however, Nayan grew up in Mumbai where he was born and he reveals that they had humble beginnings and that studying and education was the way out; he tells me that Indians had very little disposable income at the time during his youth to make money in art. 

Artist artwork cake Kisnadwala
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala
silk scarf fashion painting
Scarf: Nayan Kisnadwala

However, five years ago in his early 50’s whilst walking through Soho he walked into an art shop and decided to start painting again.  He booked a gallery space for one year later, he filled the gallery with 36 artworks, inviting friends, relatives and colleagues and 50% of all works were sold in one day, donating the proceeds to three different charitable organisations, including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.  Meanwhile, he has since completed more than 201 artworks and has held nine exhibitions in London, New York and Mumbai.  He is also a floral artist, and introducing Nayanmitra Scarves in the near future.

artist photography art
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

He refers to himself and Sonal as being global nomads, citizens of the world and how travel equals education.  Nayan’s passing words to me before I leave for the day is that life is full of ups and downs, if you deal with both of them with same emotions, then you have equanimity.  Accept the rose with its thorns! 

Artist artwork painting Guru banker
Artwork: Nayan Kisnadwala

 I now recognise the symbol of Aum or Om, as some of us know it, it’s in many of his paintings. Aum, a primordial sound, represents the coming together of the soul, represented by the first alphabet of Aatma (soul) in Sanskrit, and the symbol for moon (mind), and the curved line joining both to reflect the meditative state! 

Photography artist Guru banker Cake
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

 

Kimberley Gundle

Kimberley Gundle
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

I first saw an exhibition of Kimberley’s work exhibited at Art First in London in 2009 titled ‘A Slice of London’.  I remember looking at these paintings and thinking, these are views of a South African seeing London as some Londoners can’t; Londoners believe they are progressive thinkers, yet these paintings are an illustration of how London really is in a traditional sense and how a foreigner may view this city, juxtaposed with what is about to happen or what passes you by somewhat like the film Sliding doors with Gwyneth Paltrow.   Kimberley moved to London in 1988, she lives in a leafy suburb with her family, her studio overlooking the back of the garden. 

Artwork by Kimberley Gundle
Slice of London, Kimberley Gundle
Ceramics Sculpture artwork
Ceramics sculptures, Kimberley Gundle

I first met Kimberley in primary school in Johannesburg South Africa, as friends we played together, visiting each other’s homes after school.  At the age of 12 we both went our separate ways, completely lost touch and never saw each other again until we both turned 47 and bumped into each other at friend’s house in London. Hard to explain what that feels like to meet someone again that you remember only as a child.  Slowly getting to know each all over again as mature woman, whatever that means really.  

Artwork art contemporary art photo portrait
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Gundle’s home and studio invites an unparalleled feeling of escapism from grey city pavements and beige -washed walls, with an interior shaped by her artistic vision, swathed in intense colour and eclectic décor.  The perfect backdrop for our photo shoot.  We sit down at her kitchen table (which she designed and painted) sipping coffee and chatting before the shoot.  Then over lunch, I am updated about her work inspired by the Maasai tribes of Kenya and Tanzania.

Maasai drawing by Kimberley Gundle
Maasai artwork, Kimberley Gundle

 

It has been almost a decade since Kimberley Gundle first encountered the Maasai, semi-nomadic pastoralists of East Africa. She continues to be captivated by the physical adornment of these bold and dignified people living a fragile existence in a changing world.  Gundle’s  first experience of the Maasai was during a charity hike across the Great Rift Valley in 2009, where she witnessed their struggle for survival during a terrible drought. Yet the woman were magnificently adorned in their ornate beadwork and flowing cloth.  She has resided in many remote settlements, making drawings and taking photographs of Maasai communities in both Kenya and Tanzania,  absorbing their culture and tradition.  She explains how she feels like an anthropologist recording a culture and tradition, that is slowly being eroded by the changing world: some positive and some negative changes. 

Painting artwork artist Maasai
Maasai collection, Kimberley Gundle
Art sculpture artwork
Maasai series, Kimberley Gundle

Physical adornment is integral to Maasai culture and tradition.  Kimberley celebrates the beauty of the Maasai.  The Victorian Art critic John Ruskin states “cameos are miniature sculptures.’’  In the cameo series Kimberley depicts each member of the Maasai community within this oval shape to reference historical miniature paintings.  Traditional cameos often depicted royalty, and could be presented within a locket.  The oval shaped portrait makes each work feel small and loved, a keepsake.  She wanted each portrait to feel special and preserved within the cameo; likened to a loved one, worn close to the skin, kept warm, shielded and protected.  Portrait miniatures reflected the social history of the times. Whilst her portraits may not be in miniature form they encapsulate the essence of the miniature.  Like a loved one, the existence of the Maasai people, their culture and tradition needs to be preserved, protected and cherished.  In October 2018, Kimberley will  be exhibiting a series of detailed bronze sculptures set onto reclaimed wood, the reclaimed wood having had a former life works well with the pieces as both have a story.

a series of detailed bronze sculptures set onto reclaimed wood,
Sculpture  Kimberley Gundle
Artwork painting contemporary artist
Painting Maasai collection, Kimberley Gundle

A percentage generated from the sale of all her work returns to the communities.  She has recently completed funding a water project bringing fresh water to 5000 in the Ololosokwan community in Tanzania. Kimberley has been invited to exhibit installations inspired by the Maasai at Palazzo Bembo during the Venice Biennale 2013, 2015 and 2017.  This year Kimberley Gundle will be having an exhibition end of October in London at the A&D gallery 51 Chiltern Street, London W1 6LU.  The sales generated from this exhibition will go to Enkiteng Lepa School in Kenya which Kimberley Gundle visited in June 2018.  This school  provides education and a safe-haven for girls, rescuing them from FGM and protecting them from early marriage.  It was founded by Helen Nkuraiya.

minature sculpture contemporary art
Sculpture, Kimberley Gundle

Kimberley majored in Psychology and Fine Art. After completing her postgraduate in Fine Art at Michaelis in Cape Town she moved to London for her Postgraduate at The Slade School of Art completed in 1990.  Kimberley has lived and worked in London ever since. Her work is a combination of both her understanding of the psychology of people and being an artist.  Figurative as opposed to abstract, colour and line is what matters she tells me.  As demonstrated in her series of paintings ‘Below the knee’ she explains the thoughts behind this concept to me “You cannot choose your face, but you can choose the shoes you wear.” These portraits are about lifting the lid of the letterbox revealing an intimate part of who we are.  She often has commissions by families who want their portraits done this way. 

artwork painting Maasai cake
Maasai, Kimberley Gundle

Her artwork extends to scarves and clothing printed with her works of the Maasai, and silk rugs colourfully designed with each commission almost as a portrait of her clients character she once explained to me.  Kimberley reflects a strong work ethic and responsibility, extremely gracious and humble.  Mother of three girls and a marriage coming up to 30 years.  However when you meet her everything about her is progressive and colourful, she is constantly on the move, always creating, frequently traveling, open minded and stretching boundaries.

She exhibits internationally. Recent exhibitions include 2017 Venice Biennale , Palazzo Bembo, Head of Society German Ambassador’s Residence London, 2016  SCOPE Basel, Johannesburg FNB art Fair, Discerning Eye London, 2015  Venice Biennale , Palazzo Bembo2015,2013. 

Portrait photograph artist CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson on Waterloo Bridge
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Sometimes you meet people who no matter what they put their mind to, just think out the box. I remember the advertising industry in the 80’s  and 90’s when the UK produced the best adverts in the world.  Everyone looked to this place for inspiration and no-one could do it as well as them.

I met someone who was equally inspired by this world, at an exhibition opening, Richard Wilson who enjoyed a career in advertising and was the mind behind ‘Care for the Rare’ a creative programme for global brand J&B Rare to help save rare species.  Perhaps one of the advertising campaigns which led the way to our awareness of endangered animals and acknowledged by Prince Charles at a midsummer party at Highgrove.

Care for the Rare brand

Richard Wilson Care for the Rare
Care for the Rare
Richard Wilson
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Richard is now predominantly a filmmaker, directing, producing, editing but still works as a creative consultant.  Richard’s filmmaking journey began when he was working for WWF as a brand and creative consultant. 

Riche Rich productions Wonderful World
Wonderful World

He worked closely with inspirational film director, Ossie (Osbert) Parker, to create the most heart wrenching film a ‘Wonderful World’.  The film flips the memorable lyrics of Louis Armstrong’s iconic song to emphasise how the human race is destroying the planet.  The film paid for itself before it was launched and was adopted by the WWF global network as their new brand film.  It was later partnered by Disney for their film, Brother Bear. 

Film by Richard Wilson and Osbert Parker
Our Living Planet

Richard worked with Parker to produce another successful film for WWF Our Living Planet’ and this gave him the confidence and appetite to shoot some films for himself.  In 2005, armed with a simple camcorder, a laptop and a hunger to explore Africa, he headed off to Ethiopia, Mali and Morocco and made his own film.  Just like that.  The result is an extraordinary collaboration of various cultures converging with the most exotic locations in breathtaking footage edited into a nativity story.

WWF animation Richie Rich Productions
One Planet Future

One of Richard’s favourite films is his animation ‘ One Planet Future’ for WWF made and illustrated by primary school children.  A beautiful example of how innocent illustrations can capture our emotions and consequently the result is a compounded message, more powerful than you would expect. 

Richard Wilson on his scooter with CAKE
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

 

 

 

Richard is the genuine free spirit, impelled to follow his own calling and find meaning in his work.  He resigned from a senior job in advertising to explore his spiritual and creative quest in the nineties.  After a short trip to South India to ‘think things through’ he decided to return to London, set up as a consultant, and use his advertising skills to help causes he cares about. His first challenge was to build Care for the Rare into a successful global programme

Trouble a film by Ben Steel
Trouble

Richard also works with aspiring young filmmakers – writers, directors and actors – mentoring them and helping them to create poignant, stories, like ‘Jasmine’ and  Trouble’  which was nominated and screened at the London Short Film Festival 2014.

Film by Richard Wilson
Seconds Out

With any creative person and their ideas is the devotion to what they do and the discipline. Although Richard is a free spirit it’s his sense of community, diversity and understanding of the world as it truly is that gives him meaning, provides him with his own niche and shapes his creative ideas.

Richard Wilson Film Maker
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Jonathan Wright

Artist Jon Wright
photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

If you go down to the sea in Hove you will notice a new installation, looking up at the sky the gold shimmers against the blue, the sculpture is like a golden charm bracelet, a skateboarder, a beach hut, a windmill, a ship, a seagull, all gracefully moving in the wind or breeze twinkling at you.  It appears delicate like a baby’s mobile that hangs above a crib, each object turning aimlessly.  It is strong and solid however ready to withstand all gales and hurricanes that should hurl their way across the UK, as it stands 3 meters on a 3 meter solid plinth.  You may have seen it in the news recently, as this famous seaside town presented the ‘Constellation’ for ‘Fourth Plinth’,  the sculpture, a model of planets orbiting, created by award winning contemporary artist Jonathan Wright

Constellation by artist Jonathan Wright

Jonathan once a local Crouch Ender borne and raised, attended the reputable Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ in London, although there was no spare cash in the bank with Jonathan’s single mother, she astutely had her two sons, Jonathan and his elder brother, sit exams for them to obtain their scholarship for this prestigious school.  He tells me how much he loved the school and the size of the art department, smiling his ever charismatic smile, that gets the girl on the opposite side of the road to reverse her car into another, as she tried to catch his eye with him through the car window, this had me laughing loudly.

Artist Jonathan Wright
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

 

He is understated and humble but ferociously intelligent.  He builds most of the art himself, a secret engineer, scientist, and carpenter he received a 100% in a biology exam that no one had ever accomplished but Jonathan is an artist first.  He tells me, he already knew he wanted to be an artist age nine. Always drawing in school, and when you are good at something people reinforce it, he says.  His inspirations are looking up and being grateful. 

I ask Jonathan about his golden boats, ‘Fleet on foot’  that you see curated along Tontine Street, high up on posts.  3D printed replicas, of actual boats with a history in this town, covered in 24 carat gold leaf, complimenting the paintwork of edwardian architecture in pretty Folkestone.  This is his new home since eight years, with his wife, actress Zigi and their two children Archie and Daisy.  Jonathan also has two elder children from his first marriage, Lottie 22 and Rufus 24.  His inspiration for ‘Fleet on Foot’ came from the golden lions in St Marks’s Square, Venice, he explains.  

Art work Jonathan WrightFleet on FootFleet on

What fascinated me abut Jonathan, when I ask him about this work, is that he gave me a whole new meaning about how to understand boats, educating me on what the hull actually does.  The pressure from the water below versus the weight from above, as I gaze at another art work in his studio ‘Hulls’, the sculptures are boats that are open on one side to reveal the hollow structure, the other inscribed with words.  One of them from Hemingway’s book Old Man and the Sea, the other sculpture the emotionally charged words from broken refugees fleeing Syria to come to Italy.

Water tanks Jon Wright
Artist: Jonathan Wright

 

Artist Jonathan Wright
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

His other passion is clear as he patiently explains how incredible water tanks are, as we discuss his paintings of them, the engineering, the energy they provide, the importance of living near water and why they stand high up tall on iron stilts.  His respect of water tanks and celebrity as an artist now has his work permanently featured in Folkestone as well.  The sculptures, known as the ‘Penthouses’ not one, but five of these artworks shine in silver in strategic parts of this seaside town.  Some large, that stand above the former public baths of Folkestone following  the small and sometimes disappearing Pent stream others almost hidden above buildings and the final one at the mouth of the stream going into the harbour, where we take one of the last portraits.  He shows me all of them as he takes me around Folkestone, giving me the guided tour, including a visit to the previous residence of the late  H G Wells. You have to come to Folkestone to find them, and his golden boats.

PenthousesPenthousesPenthouses Folestone

Artist contemporary Jonathan Wright
Harnessing light by Jonathan Wright

Jonathan graduated at Middlesex University, Chelsea and Royal College of Art, only to become a senior lecturer himself, teaching at Middlesex, RCA and Chelsea for 12 years, which clarifies why he is so good at engaging your interest.  He then began focussing more on being an artist himself painting for about seven years and working on shows, it is during this time  when I first met him, and encouraged him during a party session to contribute to the book, Reflections on Nelson Mandela: Icon of Peace,  later he turned to sculpture.  Accomplished as an art director for film, advertising and TV, including Candy Crush,  he is predominantly established as one of the United Kingdom’s respected artists, showing his work internationally, New York, Lisbon, Belgium, Madrid and at home at the  Folkestone Fringes, Triennial,  plus many awards under his belt, including the prestigious 3-D Verbier residency, three months in Switzerland with everything paid for.

Jon Wright on the beach in Folkstone
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

Elspeth Gliksten

 

Marie Antoinette Cakes dog corsett
photo: Antoinette Haselhorst

I took a friend of mine to see Ellie’s work exhibited in North London, and whilst we ate our salads and enjoyed a deep dark slab of gluten free chocolate cake, we observed Ellie’s work.  Colourful and thought provoking collage; layers of it, and it’s the layering of it that makes some of the pieces really interesting.  On closer inspection you will see how they layer over and over each other, whilst revealing sections of earlier work – the hidden subject is something that intrigues.  Another aspect of Ellie’s work is the surreal, and English people love lateral thinking.

Artwork glass mirror cake
Remover of Obstacles, by Elspeth Gliksten

You will notice her work is all about India. Indian images, Indian art and culture. It’s obvious and it’s a question how a blonde, petite, lively creative, super exuberant, open minded and liberal has found her inspiration from India.  Most of her work thus far is of Indian inspiration.  So of course I ask her, as anyone would, if she has been to India and she tells me of one of her several trips to this country, a month long back packing adventure around Rajasthan.  Not only with her husband but their then two year old daughter, Nell, seven year old, Al and nine year old, Grace.  They toured this exotic country, famous for its religions, spices, history and all that is colourful, beautiful and exotic, but all that is hot and over populated, sticky and sexist.  Yet I don’t know anyone who hasn’t wished to go there and do know people who have been lucky enough to visit, however, not enough to inspire most of your art work.  So I dig deeper…

Collage art India
Collage artwork, by Elspeth Gliksten

Idi Amin, we all remember him as the notorious murderer, president, psychopath, power hungry leader of Uganda in the 1970’s.  So Ellie explains about growing up in Leicester. During her childhood the Gujarati Indians, who had been kicked out of Uganda and forced to emigrate to the United Kingdom, were sent to Leicester to reside and start a new life in safety.

collage art cake m
Collage artwork, by Elspeth Gilksten

Ellie recounts how her Grandparents were one of few families who stayed in the street, surrounded by the life, colours and culture of those Indian refugees, and how they framed her life and how her family integrated.  Ellie, an English girl with blonde hair and beautiful green eyes in the cold winters of urban Leicester, with the glowing orange of living room fires in England, embraced the traditions of her Grandparents’ neighbours.  Ode to the beauty of multiculturalism!  Who could have inspired this English rose, then growing up around the scent of the Indian Ugandan friends from the centre of Africa making home in this midlands town?

How a ruthless African dictator, ordering his Indian doctors, engineers, and scientists to get out of his country, Uganda and how this piece of African history and it’s refugees make home in England and this shapes the mind of a young English artist.  Like all stories and links and connections, there is always that element of surprise.  Although familiar with what happened in Uganda, and I remember Idi Amin and I remember what happened in the airport very well, for those of you not familiar with the story, I recommend you watch the film ‘The Last King of Scotland’.

Collage Art colourful
Collage artwork, by Elspeth Gliksten
tiger glass India tobacco mirror
Mixed Media artwork on glass, by Elspeth Gliksten
Artist Elspeth Gliksten
Photo Antoinette Haselhorst

Elspeth Gliksten and her family she grew up with were all artists she tells me; Art Directors, Creative Directors, Advertising, Dance and Film. Ellie is also a dancer, a specialist tap dancer and she runs a dance school in North London. I have seen her perform, tap dancing like Fred Astaire on the stage at Jacksons Lane Theatre, Highgate.  She was photographed during this performance, and a great photo of her appears in the book ‘Reflections on Nelson Mandela: Icon of Peace’ along with her written contribution. “I always felt I was an artist”she says and although discouraged by her father because of the competitiveness of the creative industry, it was her elder brother who really nurtured her interest.

collage mixed media artwork
New Dehli, by Elspeth Gliksten

However, it was her husband Matt, whose bohemian and fascinating upbringing amidst a family of antique dealers , who finally gave her the confidence to express her almost dark and eccentric side through her art, she tells me.

layered collage Jesus
Jesus, by Elspeth Glisten

The creativity in the family is encompassed by a solid family unit and admirable energetic work ethic, whilst shooting Elspeth, her daughters actively participated in providing the cakes and helping style the set.  Grace works as a City Forex Trader, Al is a professional Rugby player & Nell has just chosen her GSCE subjects, Art being one of them.

Ellie’s first works had a massive response, which she admits surprised her, and she watched her pictures sell rapidly with her first exhibition.

Indian elephant
Collage artwork,  Elspeth Gliksten
Eating cake cakes Marie Antoinette
Photo: Antoinette Haselhorst, Hair and Make – up:  Aston Davies