Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Krysia Michna Nowak (Schooldays)

"The Mulatto" 1978
I found this interesting video on line:

Its fascinating, but then I love to watch an artist at work.

Krysia and I were at Catholic Convent school together, though not in the same year. She is younger than me. Mind you, nowadays, who isn't?   We knew each other briefly many years later when we all lived in my Northern hometown.  I remember her mother baking a lovely cherry cheesecake for us.

And we have a Krysia Nowak on our wall still - it has travelled with us and now lives with us in retirement. We bought it many years ago when she had an exhibition at the excellent Philip Francis Gallery (long closed sadly).  Glad she is still painting.   I would be if I had any skill in that direction.

It is dated 1978, titled "The Mulatto". I think it is of Toussaint L'Ouverture - the leader of the slave revolt in Haiti.  Wordsworth wrote this about him:

   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.

390. To Toussaint L’Ouverture
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

TOUSSAINT, the most unhappy man of men!
  Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
  Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon’s earless den;—
O miserable Chieftain! where and when        5
  Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou
  Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
  Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;        10
There’s not a breathing of the common wind
  That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
  And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.

It is a wonderful poem - and a sad story.  Toussaint L'Ouverture's people had it as tough as anybody has.  However, Jehovah does warn us not to rebel, but to trust in Him with all our hearts.  He also warns though that "man has dominated man to his injury".  And that if you oppress people you will in the end drive them to madness.  A lesson that we, the children of Adam, do not seem to have learnt to this day.

I got out on the doors yesterday - managed three widely spaced calls, all with a bit of walking attached. Unexpected in the last case - the private road was blocked by a large truck delivering windows, and I had to Park and Walk (totter).   I found two of my regular calls at home and got a nice warm welcome.

One, Bob, is on the same kind of medicine I am, and we compared notes about how impossible it is to stay out in the sun (one of its many side-effects).

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