Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

One of the world's most sublime architectural spaces

I've been re-watching Robert Hughes' Antoni Gaudi: God's Architect, from his Visions of Space series, in which he examines the legend of Antoni Gaudi, whose buildings have left an indelible mark on the city of Barcelona. Despite his austerely religious lifestyle, Gaudi's innovative genius created some of the most soulful and expressive buildings ever seen.

Hughes noted that the country round Tarragona, where Gaudi grew up, is archetypally Mediterranean, hard stony country where almond trees and olives flourish in the unforgiving soil:

'Growing up there, Gaudí developed a passionate curiosity about its plants, animals and geology. Nature, he said later, was "The Great Book, always open, that we should force ourselves to read". Everything structural or ornamental that an architect might imagine was already prefigured in natural form, in limestone grottoes or dry bones, in a beetle's shining wing case or the thrust of an ancient olive trunk.

He never ceased to draw on nature. Each paving-block of Passeig de Gracia features a starfish and an octopus, originally designed for the Casa Batlló. Turtles and tortoises support the columns of the Nativity facade of the Sagrada Familia, which also has 30 different species of stone plant copied from the vegetation of Catalunya and the Holy Land. Mushrooms become domes, or columns of the Casa Calvet. Gaudí was particularly fond of mushrooms. Most Catalans are, yet Gaudí not only perceived in them a possible origin of the column and capital, but also used a fong, a poisonous amanita mushroom, for one of the ceramic entrance domes of the Parc Güell. The columns of his masterpiece the Güell Crypt are a grove of brick trunks, sending out branches - the ribbed vaults - that lace into one another.'

Similarly, Stephen Crittenden writes:

'"NOTHING IN the world has been invented," Gaudí once said. "The act of inventing consists in seeing what God has placed before the eyes of all humanity." In a small room in the Sagrada Familia's cloister, a permanent exhibition, Gaudí & Natura, offers a key to interpreting all this wonder by revealing the building's "deep structure."

The exhibition's curator, Jordi Cussó i Anglès, was for 50 years the head model-maker in the Sagrada Familia workshop. A naturalist who played a leading role in researching and restoring Gaudí's smashed plaster models, using superb graphics he shows how it was from Gaudí's intense study of the natural world, and especially the plants of his native Catalunya, that the architect distilled the complex geometrical shapes — paraboloids, hyperboloids and conoids — that he used in the church. The cone of the Mediterranean cypress becomes the distinctive five-armed cross Gaudí uses on top of many of his spires. Seashells inspire spiraling stairwells. An undulating rooftop imitates the curved surface of a leaf. The slender branching columns of the Sagrada Familia's nave imitate the cross-sections of tree-trunks and the patterns of plant growth.'

While Hughes considered that the Sagrada Familia (or, to give its full name, the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) is beyond rival the best-known structure in Catalonia and 'is to Barcelona what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris or the Harbour Bridge to Sydney: a completely irreplaceable logo,' it was the Church of Colònia Güell that he considered to be Gaudi's true masterpiece. Gaudi 'started thinking about the design in 1898. The first stones were laid in 1908. Eusebi Güell died in 1918. By then, the crypt was almost finished, but there was not much above ground. What we have now is only a fragment of a dream. And yet its logic of construction, its sheer blazing inventiveness, removes it from the domain of fantasy and creates one of the world's most sublime architectural spaces.'


Barcelona - Come Back When You Can.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Windows on the world (253)

London, 2013
Galactic Cowboys - Fear Not.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Faith With its Sleeves Rolled Up

Faith With its Sleeves Rolled Up is a pioneering publication which explores the practical contribution of faith-based organisations to UK society.

The diverse collection of essays comprises perspectives ranging from theory to practice, activism to policy across our diverse religious heritage. Contributors to the publication include several friends and colleagues with whom I have worked over the years including Dr. Husna Ahmad OBEFrancis Davis and Daniel Singleton, among others.

Summarising the launch of the book, Daniel Singleton, National Director of FaithAction said,

“The book goes to recognise the unseen armies serving our communities, sometimes appreciated by government and public opinion in the media but often not and certainly not to the full extent.
The many perspectives contained in this publication present a compelling argument for the value of active faith in the twenty-first century. We believe that faith is not merely a list of doctrines but a call to action, a motivation to act selflessly and make a positive change to society. FaithAction is in some ways the transmission unit, we want to connect government and faith-based organisation and the private sectors, and we want to drive change.

I am very pleased to say that Faith With its Sleeves Rolled Up is a testament to that ethos.”


King's X - Faith, Hope, Love.

The deepest theme of the history of the world

Michael Arditti has written an excellent piece in the Guardian on why he writes fiction about faith.

He begins by suggesting that Goethe, who stated that the "conflict of faith and scepticism remains the ... deepest theme of the history of the world," would be surprised by how rarely this theme is explored in contemporary British fiction.

Yet, "religious issues and their exponents remain as vital a subject of fiction today as in the age of Goldsmith or Trollope" with the "conflict between the individual conscience and biblical tradition" offering "the richest seam for a religious novelist to mine today."

Novelists, "who know how books are written, changed, translated, edited and distorted," are even "in a unique position to counter the literalist argument."


Arcade Fire - Intervention.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Father Andrew Greeley: An Irish weakness for words gone wild

I was interested to read the Guardian's obituary for Father Andrew Greeley:

'Once described by America's National Catholic Register as "the dirtiest mind ever ordained", Father Andrew Greeley, who has died aged 85, was a prolific writer who found that his bestselling popular fiction often overshadowed his serious work on theology, politics and society. As arguably the most visible voice of Catholicism in America, he assumed the position of prophet without honour within a church he often saw as corrupt and unresponsive to the needs of its laity. Although he was possibly America's most influential Catholic sociologist, Greeley himself recognised that he was more likely to be remembered for his fiction, forecasting that his obituary would be headlined "Andrew Greeley, priest: wrote steamy novels".'


Luxury - Biography-Autobiography.

Exhibitions update: An entire universe within the human soul

"Inspired by the work of the 13th century Persian poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, ‘What does the vessel contain, that the river does not’ is a traditional fishing boat from Kerala, India that measures over 20 metres and straddles the entire stretch of the gallery [at Hauser and Wirth]. The boat is filled from bow to stern with chairs, beds, window frames, fishing nets, plastic jars, cans, an old radio, cooking pots and pans, suitcases and a bicycle.

The ancient Sufi philosophy embedded in Rūmī‘s poetry speaks eloquently about the idea of the microcosm – the containing of an entire universe within the human soul. With this large-scale work, Subodh Gupta too creates a microcosm containing one person’s entire existence, bundled together and crammed into a vessel which appears as if it is about to set sail. For the artist, this boat ceases to be just a simple mode of transportation, but has evolved into an extension of the greater paradigm of survival, sustenance and livelihood."

Gupta’s suitcases, sleeping bags and cardboard boxes, cast in aluminium, feature in Trade Routes (also at Hauser and Wirth). Rūmī also features here in tapestries by Rachid Koraïchi which are suspended from the main gallery’s ceiling, hanging just above the heads of visitors. "The tapestries chronicle the lives of 14 great mystics of Islam, such as the poet Rūmī, whose writings the artist believes are just as relevant in today’s society as they were in the 13th century. The tapestries are covered in ornate Arabic calligraphy and ciphers from a range of other cultures, as well as symbols imagined by the artist." Adel Abidin’s three channel video installation ‘Three Love Songs’ "brings to the forefront the underlying cultural friction and political tension by creating an uncomfortable juxtaposition between the sexualised performance, replete with Western clichés, and the meaning of the ... odes dedicated to the former leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein." Gülsün Karamustafa's Double Jesus and the Baby Antelope is "a collage of carpets adorned with images of Jesus, a chase scene and a leopard-patterned bed cover, all collected by the artist from the households of migrants new to Istanbul and reassembled into a textile collage."

"‘Stream -10, 1984 – 2013, London’, one of Takesada Matsutani’s largest works, is a 10-metre sheet of paper which the artist covers in a blanket of graphite, leaving just one thin white line coursing through the middle of the paper. Matsutani then completes the work by throwing turpentine over the edge of the dense surface, quickly dissolving the graphite in a tremendous surge of energy and an act of cathartic liberation." ‘A Matrix’ at Hauser and Wirth "features never before seen paintings from Matsutani’s early career, as well as recent organic abstractions in vinyl glue and graphite."

Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings and Prints by Leon Underwood can currently be seen at the Redfern Gallery. Underwood studied life drawing at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks. "He also became a founder member of the Seven and Five Society. He began teaching at the RCA in 1920 and opened the Brook Green School of Drawing at his studio the following year. Among his students were Eileen Agar, Gertrude Hermes and Henry Moore. Underwood travelled extensively throughout his life, including trips across Europe, the USA, West Africa, Iceland and Mexico; the ‘primitive’ art of the Aztecs and Africa particularly influenced him. An extraordinary polymath – a sculptor, painter, engraver and inventor, to name a few – he wrote prolifically on a variety of art topics and founded the magazine The Island, to which Moore and C R W Nevinson contributed." His work can also be seen in Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940 at the Royal Academy of Arts.


Rūmī - Only Breath.

Bill Viola: The slowing of time to create meditative space

Bill Viola is described by the American Academy of Religion as a "pioneering video artist whose internationally exhibited work explores universal human experiences - birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness - and has its roots in religious traditions including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism."

Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures is a museum-scale exhibition of nine new works by Viola at Blain|Southern. "Created between 2012 and 2013, both on location and in the artist’s studio in Southern California, the exhibition presents three distinct bodies of works; the Frustrated Actions, the Mirage and the Water Portraits series. Through these works, Viola engages with complex aspects of human experience, including mortality, transience and our persistent, yet ultimately futile attempts to truly and objectively understand ourselves and the meaning of our brief lives."

Much of Viola's work features the slowing of time (see, in particular, the four works from the Mirage series) in order to create meditative space for reflection on his core themes, all of which resonate with religious beliefs and significance:

"In Man Searching for Immortality/Woman Searching for Eternity (2013) a man and woman in the later stages of their lives emerge out of the darkness, pausing to explore their own naked bodies with torches, a daily routine search for disease and decay. The figures are projected onto two seven-foot high black granite slabs, suggestive of tombstones, which evoke a sense of impending mortality. The diptych, Man with His Soul (2013) presents us with a man sitting on a chair, waiting, though we will never discover exactly what he is waiting for. The left hand screen – in high-definition video – depicts his conscious self, while the right – shot in grainy black and white – portrays his soul, his inner being. Thus, the viewer is confronted with a juxtaposition of physical and psychological realities. Angel at the Door (2013) continues to explore this theme of the ‘inner self’; a cycle develops whereby a man hears a knocking at the door, but each time he opens it, he finds no one there – only a dark void. When he opens the door for the final time, however, there is an explosion, revealing a mirror image of himself – offering a thought-provoking insight into man’s inevitable and unavoidable confrontation with his ‘inner self’."

Viola has said that art resides in life itself, "that as a practice it derives primarily from the quality of experience, depth of thought and devotion of the maker": "Everything else, virtuosity with the materials, novelty of the idea or approach, innovation in craft or technique, skill of presentation, historical significance, importance of the venue, in short, almost everything I learned to value in art school - was secondary."


All Things Bright and Beautiful - The Transfiguration Part 1.

Where are today's social realist artists?

Social Realism is "the work of painters, printmakers, photographers and film makers who draw attention to the everyday conditions of the working classes and the poor, and who are critical of the social structures that maintain these conditions."

Good examples of social realism can currently be seen at the Watts Gallery - Frank Holl: Emerging from the Shadows - and the Royal Academy of Arts - Mexico: A Revolution in Art 1910 -1940:

"In 19th-century England the Industrial Revolution aroused a concern in many artists for the urban poor. Throughout the 1870s the work of such British artists as Luke Fildes, Hubert von Herkomer, Frank Holl (e.g. Seat in a Railway Station—Third Class, wood engraving, 1872) and William Small (e.g. Queue in Paris, wood engraving, 1871) were widely reproduced in The Graphic, influencing van Gogh’s early paintings."

The muralists who were active in Mexico after the Revolution of 1910 "emphasized a revolutionary spirit and a pride in the traditions of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Diego Rivera’s History of Mexico from the Conquest to the Future (1929–30, 1935; Mexico City, Pal. N.), José Clemente Orozco’s Catharsis (1933; Mexico City, Pal. B.A.) and David Alfaro Siqueiros’s The Strike (fresco, 1957; Mexico City, Mus. N. Hist.) are characteristic of the movement."

Where are our equivalents today of these artists and groups? The claim is often made that contemporary art is radical but the radicalism of much modern and contemporary art has been an inwardly focussed radicalism concerned with the form of art as opposed to the radicalism of social realism which addresses cultural, economic and political structures that create and maintain poverty.

One contemporary artist concerned with the latter is John Keane: "His work has focused on many of the most pressing political questions of our age, and he came to national prominence in 1991 when he was appointed as official British war artist during the Gulf War. His work has always been deeply concerned with conflict - military, political and social - in Britain and around the world and his subjects have included Northern Ireland, Central America, and the Middle East, sometimes working with organisations such as Greenpeace and Christian Aid. More recent subject matter has addressed difficult topics relating to religiously inspired terrorism such as Guantanamo Bay, the Moscow theatre siege, and home-grown acts of violence against civilians."


The Jam - Wasteland.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Art of Asking


Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra - The Bed Song.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Brilliant Brits: Bomberg, Carrington, Gertler, Holl, Nash, Nevinson, Spencer and Watts

A pastoral visit in South London followed by a funeral in Sussex gave the opportunity for visits en route to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Watts Gallery and Watts Chapel.

C.R.W. Nevinson, Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler, Dora Carrington, David Bomberg and Paul Nash became some of the most well-known and distinctive British artists of the twentieth century. Students together at the Slade School of Art in London between 1908 and 1912, they formed part of what their esteemed drawing teacher Henry Tonks described as the school’s last ‘crisis of brilliance’. As their talents evolved they became Futurists, Vorticists and ‘Bloomsberries’, and befriended the leading writers and intellectuals of their day.

Nash, Nevinson, Spencer, Gertler, Carrington, Bomberg: A Crisis of Brilliance, 1908-1922 features over 70 original works by the group and explores the artists’ development culminating with a selection of their paintings made during and after the Great War of 1914-18 generating some of the most provoking visual records of that epochal event.

First opening its doors to the public in 1904, Watts Gallery is a purpose-built art gallery created for the display of works by the great Victorian artist George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817-1904). After a major restoration project, visitors can now experience the Watts Collection in the historic galleries displaying the original decorative schemes. Over one hundred paintings by G.F. Watts are on permanent display at Watts Gallery. Spanning a period of 70 years they include portraits, landscapes and his major symbolic works.

Designed and built by Mary Watts, the Watts Chapel is a unique fusion of art nouveau, Celtic, Romanesque and Egyptian influence with Mary's own original style. The Circle of Eternity with its intersecting Cross of Faith is from pre-historic times and symbolises the power of redeeming love stretching to the four quarters of the earth. The dome is traditionally seen as emblematic of heaven, the four panels on the exterior containing friezes symbolising the Spirit of Hope, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Love and the Spirit of Light.

Watts Gallery is currently presenting the first major retrospective exhibition in more than 100 years of eminent Victorian artist, Frank Holl (1845 – 1888). Widely regarded in his own lifetime as a leading figure in social realist and portrait painting, Holl’s early death meant that the artist never fully received the acclaim his work merited. For the first time, this exhibition brings together around thirty of his major works to examine how, during his short career, the artist became a distinct and insightful voice in British painting.


Kirsty MacColl - Days.

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Pirates of Penzance and you!

Meridian Opera is bringing its unique style of community opera workshop to St John's Seven Kings. Come and join them to learn the chorus parts and perform a reduced version of one of Gilbert & Sullivan's best-loved comic operas.
On the rocky shores of Penzance, Frederic celebrates his twenty-first birthday and is released from his apprenticeship to a band of Pirates. He at once falls in love with Mabel, the daughter of a much respected Major-General. But the course of true love never did run smooth, and this is no exception! Members of Meridian Opera will sing the principal roles, but the workshop session will coach you to perform many of the chorus items. There will even be opportunities to be on the stage itself.
Music and words supplied. Refreshments provided. No experience needed, just bring your voice and come and join in the fun! Booty for the best dressed pirates!
Saturday 17th August 2013 - The event includes a full afternoon singing & performance workshop to prepare you for a show for the public:
1.00 pm – Singing & performance workshop
7:00 pm (doors 6:45 pm) – Performance (lasts 1 hour)
Come for the whole event, or just to watch the performance at 7:00 pm.
Workshop – £10 (£8 concession) if booked and paid for up to and including 13th August or £15 after 13th August and on the door.
Audience at 7:00 pm – Free, with retiring collection
Book before 13th August to make the most of the reduced ticket price and ensure your place on the workshop. Simply complete the form below and return it with a cheque payable to "The PCC of St. John's Seven Kings" to Rev. K E Robinson c/o St. John's Church Centre, St. John's Road, Seven Kings, Ilford, Essex, IG2 7BB. Please write "Pirates of Penzance" on the envelope. If you have an email address, please include it in the contact details and a confirmation email will be sent to that address. If you would like confirmation by post, please include a stamped addressed envelope with your booking form.
Alternatively, contact Meridian Opera by email at, or telephone on 07510 195 877 or 020 8520 3771.
Nearest stations: Newbury Park (Central Line) or Seven Kings (Liverpool St. - Shenfield Line).
Also on 364 bus route.
A Meridian Opera production, in collaboration with the Performing Arts Advisor for the Barking Episcopal area.


Gilbert & Sullivan - I Am A Pirate King.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Finding a Myth for the 21st Century

In it he tells the story of how he went from "working as a policy wonk, a special adviser in Tony Blair’s government", to "the belief that a 3,000 year old set of myths about covenant, atonement and renewal are actually profoundly relevant to our current moment of crisis and transition – and might even have the potential to succeed where our politics seem to be failing so miserably."
He draws on the work of Margaret Barker, in particular, to argue that the eternal covenant’s myths should be read symbolically to "offer remarkably clear explanations of social and ecological breakdown as the result of breaches in the creation covenant, and of atonement as the route towards restoration, in both the social and the environmental sense."


U2 and Daniel Lanois - Falling At Your Feet

Windows on the world (252)

London, 2013
Pink Floyd - See Emily Play.

Boundary Breaker VI

The world is full of divisions -
political, religious, national, personal -
‘them’ and ‘us’ - Jew and Gentile,
slave and free, male and female.
Tribal identities, given at birth,
with rich histories constraining love.
I am I, not you. You are a mystery to me.

Stripped, self-emptying, not counting
equality something to be grasped and held,
become nothing, become human,
become obedient to death,
crucified by my own creation.
Stepping beyond identity, renouncing
my inheritance, heritage and lineage.

I in you, you in me, one with you,
you with me, breaking boundaries,
becoming other, other becoming me.
The scapegoat removing mimesis,
the cross road uniting nations,
lion and lamb lying down together.
All roads lead to heaven,
a pilgrim people
in a new Canterbury Tale,
unresting till they enter
the green and pleasant land
of New Jerusalem.


Hubert Parry - Jerusalem.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Sentimental Journey

We enjoyed a sentimental journey this afternoon at St John's Seven Kings with a sing-a-long featuring songs from the 30s and 40s led by pianist Eileen and MC Iris and supplemented by solos from Margaret Streeter and Santou Beurklian Carter. In addition, to joining in with the likes of 'White Cliffs of Dover', 'Roll Out The Barrel' and 'Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner', among many others, we also feasted on cakes and cream teas. This very English of occasions was our latest social and fundraising event, raising funds not only for the church but also for our Christian Aid Partnership Project.


Vera Lynn - White Cliffs Of Dover.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Boundary Breaker V

Party-man, un-ascetic, no hair shirts,
locusts or wild honey for me.
I keep the party going, turning water into wine
sit at table with those despised
and those esteemed.
Prostitutes pour perfume on my feet,
wiping those same feet with their hair;
preparing me for sacrificial service.
I then make washing others’ feet
the mark of those who follow me.
I welcome women to sit at my feet
as disciples, to choose the better part,
for all are welcome to sit and eat
at my Messianic feast;
just as each then becomes
the servant, not Master, of all. 


Larry Norman - I Am A Servant.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Are we more Christ-like than when we first began?

"Are we, each of us, further along the path to deification? Are we beginning to lay aside our selfishness and pride? Are we learning to love? Are we learning to pray? Are we learning how to suffer? In short, are we more Christ-like than when we first began? That is the only measure by which we are held accountable." Fr. David Bozeman

With the rock band Luxury, D. E. Lee Bozeman "made four albums of sensual, nervous rock in the vein of the Smiths and Radiohead, then made an astonishing masterpiece of guilt and spiritual longing, Love and Affection, under the name All Things Bright and Beautiful." He is now ministering as an Orthodox priest and continues to release haunting stripped-down ballads such as the EP Mea Culpa. "Joel Hartse writes, "As he has throughout his career, Bozeman has married sadness and hope in a woundingly beautiful collection of songs."


All Things Bright and Beautiful - Third Trumpet, Fourth Trumpet Sounding.

We've started - but we won't finish!

Here is some of the local coverage in the Ilford Recorder and Yellow Advertiser of last Saturday's photo-call at Newbury Park Station organised by Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association (SKNPRA). My letter to the Mayor of London based on our campaign is below: 

Dear Boris,
You have a reputation for candour and non nonsense talk. I am writing to ask you to use some of your famous candour with planners on the transport system in London who have been consistently promising step-free access to residents in Newbury Park and Seven Kings at our local stations and then failing to deliver.
Transport planners have been playing cruel tricks on local residents over step-free access at local stations. First, at Newbury Park where work started and then stopped, later at Seven Kings where Crossrail promises were made, then broken. As Chair of the local Resident's Association, I call on you to ensure London's transport planners make good on these broken promises and deliver the step-free access that has repeatedly been promised to local residents.
Extensive preparatory work for step-free access at Newbury Park Station was carried out in 2009/10 as detailed at This work cost £3.5m, public money which will have been utterly wasted unless TfL complete what they began and deliver step-free access at this Station. 
At the time this work was cancelled, London Underground said: "The status of the Undergrounds step-free plans is very disappointing to us - after years of planning and development work." They also stated that "the enabling works which had taken place will as far as possible ensure future SFA routes can be preserved" in order that "These projects could be restarted in the future" (
These have proved to be weasel words because this project has not been restarted and, although work is happening to make certain stations step-free, this does not include Newbury Park.
This is not the first occasion that TfL have agreed to action in our local area only to later change criteria in order to, in effect, renege on earlier promises. Through our Residents' Association, local people are saying that we have had enough of this practice. The reasons why Newbury Park Station warranted step-free access in 2009/10 still stand and we call on you to ensure that TfL finish what they started. 


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Boundary Breaker IV

Scar-man, cutting yourself with rocks.
Among the tombs, in the place of death,
screaming among the hills,
breaking chains that bound.
You have the force and voices
of a mob within.
Internal torment visible in skin.
Scar-man, cutting yourself with rocks.

See my hands, my feet, my side.
Nails and spear bit in skin.
Hands, arms, hammers raised
with force to force spiked metal
through flesh to nail sin and death.
The mob without make me
to carry the mob within.
I am scar-man too, one with you.


This Picture - The Offering.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940

In 1910, revolution brought years of instability to Mexico but, in its aftermath, the artistic community flourished under state sponsored programmes designed to promote the ideals of the new regime. 

Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940 brings together work by Mexican artists at the forefront of the artistic movement including three larger-than-life painters - Diego Rivera (1886-1957), José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) - (who revisited the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution, and much of the country’s history, in creating powerful political murals), plus Rivera's wife, Frida Kahlo. Also on display is work by international artists and intellectuals who were drawn to the country by its political aspirations and the opportunities afforded to artists. Among them were Marsden Hartley, Josef Albers, Edward Burra, Paul Strand, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Breton and Robert Capa.

Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910-1940 is a fascinating exhibition. The photography included is exceptional in its awareness of pattern and detail through close-up. There are wonderful spiritual landscapes by Hartley, Burra's vivid, detailed and disturbing Mexican Church, and Blakean watercolour sketches by Leon Underwood. The exhibition provides an interesting and engaging introduction to the period in question but is extremely limited in the range of work shown, with the key artists - Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros and Kahlo - restricted to one piece each. In amongst the mass of artists noted as visitors to Mexico, there are significant figures such as Leonora Carrington missing, while the broader influence of the Mexican muralists is not fully explored, including, for instance, the influence of Siqueiros on the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock. As Jonathan Jones has written in The Guardian it could and should have been so much more.


Transatlantic - We All Need Some Light.

Fulham Palace: Chairman's Garden Party

This evening I enjoyed the Chairman's Garden Party in the Walled Garden at Fulham Palace, where the guest of honour was the Bishop of London. I was there at the invitation of commission4mission artist Ken Ashby, who volunteers at the Palace and whose series of watercolour views of the Palace will be on show in the Palace art gallery in the autumn.

Fulham Palace is the historic home of the Bishops of London. Screened from the river by trees, the building is a fascinating mixture of architectural styles, set within its own beautiful grounds, including a knot garden, close to the Bishop’s Park and the River Thames between Putney Bridge and Fulham Football Ground. Visitors to Fulham Palace have a wealth of things to see and do from exploring the museum that charts the Palace’s eventful history to having lunch in the Drawing Room restaurant that looks out onto the beautiful gardens. There is also an art gallery and a diverse programme of events, for all ages, throughout the year.

The current chapel is the fourth chapel at Fulham Palace, though not on the current chapel site. The Victorian Chapel (Butterfield 1867) was altered in the 1950s for Bishop Wand following damage during World War II. Containing murals by Brian Thomas (1953), a window by Ninian Comper (1953) and with Victorian glass by Clayton & Bell it is consecrated and remains the private chapel of the Bishop of London.

Among those that I met at the Garden Party were staff from the Counselling Pastoral Trust (CPT), which has offices situated within the Courtyard at Fulham Palace. CPT is a charity dedicated to keeping families together and provides affordable professional counselling services to families and individuals to help resolve problems that lead to family breakdown.


Aretha Franklin - Are You Sure?