THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA


Forty-six years ago today, on the 18th February 1965, The Gambia was granted independence by the United Kingdom. It was also obliged to join the Commonwealth. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa. It is surrounded to the North, East and South by Senegal. To the West, at the mouth of the River Gambia, which runs the length of the country, is the Atlantic Ocean.

The population estimate is approximately 1,705,000 inhabitants over 4,007 sq. miles. A third of that population live below the international poverty line of $1.25 US per day. It has a history of being buffeted between Britain, Franc and Portugal. According to some sources as many as 3 million slaves may have been taken from the region during the 3 centuries that the slave trade operated. Most of those taken were sold by other Africans to Europeans. In 1889 it became a British Crown Colony.

According to the current president Yahya Jammeh:

The Gambia “is on of the oldest and biggest countries in Africa that was reduced to a small snake by the British Government who sold all our lands to the French”

As a 29 year old Lieutenant in the Gambian National Army, he seized power on the 22nd July 1994. The coup produced no fatalities; however, the constitution was suspended the borders sealed, and a curfew was implemented. Supposedly there were free elections and Jammeh was elected President in October of 1996, and re-elected in October 2001. There was a coup attempt in March 2006, whilst he was out of the country. The coup was put down and he was again elected as President in September of that year.

To give you an idea of the President’s view of democratic elections, he stated at a rally in July of 2010:
“Whether you like it or not, no coup will end my government, no elections can end my government. By God’s grace I will rule this country as long as I wish and choose someone to replace me.” The same month, he added “Come 2011, whether you vote for me or not, I will win,” and “If any area chooses to be with the opposition, let them go ahead and expect no benefit from my government.
Pictures can never quite tell the whole story. The place looks great and worth a visit, save for the attitudes of the President.

On May 15, 2008, Jammeh announced that his government would introduce legislation that would set rules against homosexuals that would be “stricter than those in Iran”, and that he would “cut off the head” of any gay or lesbian person discovered in the country. News reports indicated his government intended to have all homosexuals in the country killed. In a speech given in Tallinding, Jammeh gave a “final ultimatum” to any gays or lesbians in The Gambia to leave the country. There is no freedom of the press and here have been a number of other human rights abuses.

Not exactly a pleasant gathering. What is sad, is that when Jammeh and his ‘Government” took power in 1994, they justified the coup by decrying corruption and lack of democracy under the previous regime. Why does every military coup claim it is taking action to promote and support democratic action as well as sweeping away the previous administrations corruption and and skulduggery.

It should give one pause when one hears the promises of the current military administrators in Egypt. That country had been under British occupation and control from 1889 to 1922. It was then that Britain ended its protectorate and the Kingdom of Egypt was established; however, on June 18, 1953, the Egyptian Republic was declared, with General Muhammad Naguib as the first President of the Republic. Naguib was forced to resign in 1954 by Gamar Abdel Nasser – the real architect of the 1952 movement – and was later put under house arrest. Nasser assumed power as President in June, 1956. And we all know what that unfortunate movement led to:

 

This newsreel gives a flavour of what else was going on in 1956, whilst the Middle East was intent on blowing itself part. Plus ca change. At least the first 52 seconds was on point.

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ARMS, ARMORIES AND ART

Ninety-eight years ago today, 17th February 1913, The Armory Show opened in New York at the 69th Regiment Armory (One of the U.S. National Guard Armories) on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets. It was organised by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and ran to the 15th March 1913

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It was the first show mounted by the Association and exhibited some 1250 painting, sculptures and decorative works by over 300 European and American artists.
The Impressionists, Fauvists and Cubists were all represented; although not greatly appreciated by some of the public. President Theodore Roosevelt declared, “That’s not art”. Reviews were full of accusations of quackery, insanity, anarchy and immorality. There were parodies, caricatures and mock exhibitions:

A Slight Attack of Third Dimentia Brought on by Excessive Study of the Much Talked of Cubist Pictures in the International Exhibition at New York,” drawn by John French Sloan in April 1913.

Among the artist whose work feature large in the show were the Duchamp brothers:

The brothers, left to right: Marcel Duchamp, Jaques Villon and Raymond Duchamp-Villon. This Photo was actually taken in Jacques Villon’s studio in Pateaux, France in 1914.

Marcel Duchamp’ Nude Descending a Staircase No.2 painted in 1912 attracted a great deal of attention, as did Picasso’s Le Guitariste (1910) and Braque’s Violin and Candlestick (1910)

Among others at the exhibition:

Henri Matisse l’Atelier Rouge(1911)

Maurice Prendergast Landscape with Figures (1913)

Arthur B Davies Reclining Woman (Pastel Drawing)(1911)

Prendergast and Davies were both American artists and members of a group of painters called The Eight, which included Robert Henri, Everett Shinn, John Sloan, Ernest Lawson, George Luks and William Glackens. Out of the group came the Ashcan School of artists.

Ashcan School artists and friends at John Sloan’s Philadelphia Studio, 1898

The exhibition was undoubtedly a success and very comprehensive at the time. It went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then in Copley Hall in Boston. There, due to a lack of space, all the work by American Artists was removed. How sad is that. How insecure of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. It is worth having a look at this entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashcan_School

Your can judge for yourselves whether a judiciously proportionate culling of works – to make way for display in Boston – would have been more appropriate.

Edward Hopper 1908, George Bellows 1909 and Maurice Prendergast 1901

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MONEY+GUNS=REVOLUTION

Fifty-two years ago today, 16th February 1959, Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba. Shortly after he took office he visited the United States for the first time on the 15th April 1959. It was not a state visit, but he went to the U.S. as a guest of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. In fact he had himself invited by the Press Club. Whilst in New York he made an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jack Paar. Paar had only recently taken over as host of the show, which was later renamed The Jack Paar Show, whether because of Castro’s appearance or for some other reason, who knows.

 

 

 

 

 

I recall watching that show. It was not a long interview, and Paar greeted Castro with an embrace. Fidel was still thought of with good will – the man who led the revolution for a more democratic Cuba – the man who toppled the Dictator Batista (who fled the country on the 1st January 1959 with bags containing some $300,000,000). Americans understood all about democratic revolutions toppling dictators and the man was most welcome.
Even the State Department were quick to recognise the new regime. Che Guevara led the Revolutionary forces into Havana on the 1st January, Fidel entered Havana on the 7th and that same day the United States recognised the new Government of Cuba. The honeymoon was on; however, there were problems and rumblings due to approaching Soviet diplomatic visits to Cuba.
By July ’59 American journalist Walter Lippman wrote: “For the thing we should never do in dealing with revolutionary countries, in which the world abounds, is to push them behind an iron curtain raised by ourselves. On the contrary, even when they have been seduced and subverted and are drawn across the line, the right thing do do is to keep the way open for their return.”
By March ’60, the following year, President Eisenhower approved a covert action plan against Cuba, that included the use of a “powerful propaganda campaign to overthrow Castro, which plan included the termination of sugar purchases, the end of oil deliveries, continuation of an arms embargo and the organisation of a paramilitary force of Cuban exiles to invade the Island.

Kennedy then caught all the flack after his election as President in November of 1960. The Bay of Pigs debacle went ahead on the 17th April 1961; however,
…way before any of this a young Fidel Castro wrote a letter in 1940 to the then President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
It reads:

Santiago de Cuba
Nov 6 1940
Mr Franklin Roosvelt
President of the United States
My good friend Roosvelt. I don’t know very English, But I know as much as write to you.
I like to hear the radio, and I am very happy, because I heard in it, that you will be President for a new (periodo)
I am twelve years old. I am a boy but I think very much, but I do not think that I am writing to the President of the United States,
If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green American, in the letter, because never I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.
My address is:
Sr. Fidel Castro
Colegio de Dolores
Oriente. Cuba
I don’t know very English But I know very much Spanish and I suppose you don’t know very Spanish but you know very English because you are American but I am not American.
Thank you very muchs
Good by, your friend
Castro
Fidel Castro
If you want iron to make your sheaps ships I will show to you the biggest (minas) of iron of the land. They are in Majori Oriente Cuba

I wonder if Roosevelt ever sent the money. Perhaps he did and that ten dollars bill green american is what started the money part of the equation. Who can say?

 

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REMEMBER THE MAINE

SEEDS OF IMPERIALISM ?
The USS Maine, commissioned on the 17th September 1895, sank in the harbour at Havana, Cuba 113 years ago today at 21:40 hours on the 15th February 1898, after only three years service. It just exploded in the harbour.
Investigation revealed that more than 5 long tons of powder charges for the ships six and ten inch guns had detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship. What was left rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbour. 284 men lost their lives. The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish-American War that began in April 1898. The rallying cry became “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!”

Although various explanations for the explosion were put forward, no satisfactory account was published in the press. Indeed, the press were clamouring for war. Political pressure from the Democratic Party pushed the government of Republican President McKinley into a war he apparently wished to avoid. Ultimatums were eventually sent to Madrid, which were not accepted. First Madrid and then Washington formally declared war.

There had been rumblings throughout Spanish territory in the Caribbean, as well as the Pacific Ocean, and American public opinion, fuelled by the Hearst press, grew angrier at reports of Spanish atrocities. All over the Spanish main people were seeking their independence, and the US Monroe Doctrine was flourishing. Cuban independence in particular was the stated reason for the conflict, which in the end was pretty one sided. The war lasted ten weeks and ended with the Treaty of Paris 1898.
JohnHay, Secretary of State, signing the memorandum of ratification on behalf of the United States
This treaty was very favourable to the United States. It left the Americans with temporary control of Cuba and indefinite colonial authority over Puerto Rico, Guam and the Phillipines. The defeat and subsequent end of the Spanish Empire was a profound shock for Spain’s national psyche. The victor gained several Island possessions spanning the globe and a bitter new debate over the wisdom of imperialism.

This ‘land grab‘ by the United States was an inevitable result of the Monroe Doctrine, a policy introduced 75 years earlier in 1823. It was first stated by President Monroe in his state of the Union Address to Congress, but the author of the policy was the then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams.

The doctrine stated that further efforts by European countries to colonise land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention. The doctrine asserted that the Western Hemisphere was not to be further colonised by European countries, but that the United States would neither interfere with existing European Colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. (Ho, Ho.)

This doctrine was issued at a time when many Latin American countries were on the verge of becoming independent from the Spanish Empire, and the U.S., apparently reflecting concerns raised by Great Britain, hoped to avoid having any European power take over Spain’s colonies.

Clearly, the only way to do that was to interfere with the internal affairs of those colonies or former colonies That is what the U.S. has been doing ever since, e.g. Chile in 1973, which is another reason for viewing the current demonstrations in the middle east and U.S. support of certain powers in Egypt and elsewhere , with a certain degree of caution. “REMEMBER THE MAIN!” and everything that went with it.

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BENJAMIN KUBELSKY

 

Benjamin Kubelsky was born 14th February 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. His parents had emigrated from Europe to the United States. His father from Poland and mother from Lithuania. He went into Vaudeville and became the comedian Jack Benny. He had a long running radio show, which ran from 1932 to 1955. His television show ran from 1950 to 1965.
Group photograph of Eddie Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Jack Benny, Don Wilson, and Mel Blanc

This clip has Marilyn Monroe making her first TV appearance. Not classic stuff, but just a touch of nostalgia. A date with Marilyn is some Valentine for Jack Benny’s birthday.

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THE UNVEILING OF A DIGITAL HEART

 

65 years ago today, Valentines Day, 14 February 1946 , ENIAC, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was unveiled. I had a bit of a freudian slip initially as I had typed Electronic Numerical Interrogator and Computer. Not surprising as it was first used by the American military to prepare artillery-shell trajectory tables and perform diverse military and allegedly scientific calculations.
We have come quite a long way from a machine that weighed 30 tons, filled an entire room, used some 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors and 10,000 capacitors. All that has been reduced to an item we can purchase in the high street and hold in the palm of our hand. We can also at the press of a button send a to a favourite person.
Is that progress or what? HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

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WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA !?

Thirty seven years ago today, on the 13th February 1974, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was kicked out of the Soviet Union and stripped of his Soviet Citizenship. He had already been awarded, in 1970, the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

Between 1958 and 1967 he had been working on The Gulag Archipelago, which followed from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962). Both are based on his own experiences.
The Gulag Archipelago was also informed by his own researches and the testimony of 256 former prisoners about the history of the penal system in the Soviet Union. He discusses the origins, from the beginnings of the Communist Government in Russia in 1918, alleging Lenin himself had responsibility, detailing interrogation techniques, prisoner transport, prison camp culture, uprisings and revolts, and the question of internal exile. None of this easy stuff for the Soviet Government to live with, considering the impact it was having in the west.
Of course he ended up for some time in the United States, being feted as the prime witness to the horrors of what President Reagan referred to as ‘the evil empire’. Whilst in the United Sates and travelling through Europe, he made a couple of comments about the West:
“...the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer that those offered by today’s mass living habits…by TV stupor and by intolerable music.”
In a speech to the international Academy of Philosophy he implored the West not to “lose sight of its own values, its historically unique stability of civic life under the rule of law – a hard won stability which grants independence and space to every private citizen”. But he later added a caveat. “A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities
The Berlin wall came down in 1989 and his Soviet citizenship was restored. He subsequently returned to Russian in 1994. He lived in a dacha to the west of Moscow until his death , aged 89, on 3rd August 2008, the same day in 1914 that Germany declared war on France. He was born a the end of the first world war in December of 1918.

Like all of us he had his problems. He was anti-Semitic. He was a vocal supporter of the Vietnam War, yet condemned the bombing of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War, comparing NATO to Hitler. There were a number of inconsistencies which do not make sense to me. He was clearly very conservative in his views, particularly about western culture – television and their intolerable music. He admired the principle of the rule of law, and was right about the West not losing its sense of values, but didn’t quite understand the letter of the law. He had no idea of the imagination lawyers have of human possibilities in understanding and applying the letter of the law. Perhaps Russian Orthodoxy didn’t allow for that.
He had little idea of the law in relation to his initial arrest in 1945 for writing derogatory comments about the conduct of the War by Stalin. But that was not surprising at the time; however, as a result, the Gulag, Stalin and Soviet Communism, became for him, like Captain Ahab, his white whale. He spent most of the rest of his working/writing life trying to harpoon it.
I must confess feeling a bit like Ishmael watching the Pequod going under “…at that instant, a red arm and a hammer hovered backwardly uplifted in the open air, in the act of nailing the flag faster and yet faster to the subsiding spar.” and I ask myself “So what’s the big idea?”

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>Freedom – Witches and Slaves

>WHO IS BEST REMEMBERED?

The 12th February marks a birthday shared by two of America’s more controversial figures:

Cotton Mather (12/2/1663 to 13/2/1728):

and Abraham Lincoln (12/2/1809 to 15/4/1865)


Mather came from a pretty well-heeled family, born in Boston Massachusetts, attended the Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard at the age of 16. A great Puritan Minister and prolific writer. He was clearly well educated and believed in science. During a smallpox outbreak in Boston, he fought for inoculation against the disease with vigour and against strong opposition. There were many who considered the practice outrageous. He aligned himself with a Dr. Zabdiel Boylston to start a program of inoculation. Boylston and Mather’s inoculation crusade “raised and horrid Clamour” amongst the people of Boston. They were both “Objects of their Furies; their furious Obloquies and Invectives” So Mather recorded in his diaries. Not only laymen were against them, but there was medical opposition as well.

Despite this education and support of science, he was also a man who believed in witches and witchcraft and was a supporter of the notorious Salem Witch trials. He was apparently very zealous when it came to the execution of certain ‘witches’. There is an account of his behaviour during one such hanging of a Mr George Burroughs (Harvard Class of 1670):

Mr. Burroughs was carried in a cart with others, through the streets of Salem, to execution. When he was upon the ladder, he made a speech for the clearing of his innocency, with such solemn and serious as were to the admiration of all present. His prayer (which he concluded by expressions repeating the Lord’s Prayer) was so well worded, and uttered with such composedness as such fervency of spirit, as was very affecting, and drew tears from many, so that if seemed to some that the spectators would hinder the execution. The accusers said the black man stood and dictated to him. As soon as he was turned off, Mr. Cotton Mather, being mounted upon a horse, addressed himself to the people, partly to declare that he (Mr. Burroughs) was no ordained minister, partly to possess the people of his guilt, saying that the devil often had been transformed into the angel of light…When he [Mr. Burroughs] was cut down, he was dragged by a halter to a hole, or grave, between the rocks, about two feet deep; his shirt and breeches being pulled off, and an old pair of trousers of one executed put on his lower parts: he was so put in, together with Willard and Carrier, that one of his hands, and his chin, and a foot of one of them, was left uncovered

What can one make of that? Here was a man who had attended two of the most prestigious schools in the colonies, The Boston Latin and Harvard. Many of the founding fathers and signatories of the Declaration of Independence attended Boston Latin, including Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Benjamin Franklin, William Hooper to name but five. Other alumni include, believe it or not, the Spanish philosopher George Santayana, as well as Leonard Bernstien, composer and musician and Wade H. McCree, the first African American appointed to the US Court of Appeals, and the 36th Solicitor General of the United States under President Jimmy Carter. Yet Cotton Mather believed in witchcraft.

As to Abe Lincoln he was supposedly born in a log cabin in Illinois.

Lincoln’s formal education apparently consisted of around 18 months of classes from several itinerant teachers, but was mostly self educated, being an avid reader.

When he was 23, he and a partner bought, on credit, a small general store in New Salem, Illinois.
Sketch of a young Lincoln

New Salem could hardly have been anything like old Salem. In any event the business did not prosper and he was forced to declare bankruptcy, finally paying off the debt after 17 years. This is hardly an auspicious beginning for one of the most revered Presidents of the United States. But he was a man of his time. There was a fresh look at him on a recent Documentary on BBC4 Abraham Lincoln: Saint of Sinner. Well worth a look at if you can find it. Try iPlayer /BBC4 if it is still available to watch:


Despite his own prejudices he moved with the times and did eventually sign the Emancipation Proclamation 1863. He wrote and delivered one of the best dedications of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on the 19th November 1863. Now one of the most quoted addresses in history. Just 272 words and one of the best statements upholding the principles of freedom. Worth a read:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

A speech that could be made in any place where people are protesting for their democratic rights. Not bad for an uneducated boy from the backwoods of Illinois. Cotton Mather for all his privilege and education was nowhere near his class.

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>Thatcher

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On the 11th February 1975, 36 years ago today, Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservative Party. She is not someone I particularly have a lot of time for, but under her leadership something happened which gave a boost to human rights and access to justice. It was most probably not something she quite intended, but it changed the way people who had been arrested were treated. This came about with the introduction of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Even although she repealed the old ‘suss’ law under the Vagrancy Act 1824, her primary concern was extending police powers, which led to the current stop and search regulations we have today. However, she also added s.58 and 60 which gave detained persons the right to consult privately with a lawyer:
s.58(1) A person arrested and held in custody in a police station or other premises shall be entitled, if he so requests, to consult a solicitor privately at any time. Also under s.60 she introduced the tape recording of interviews, provision of transcripts etc…
The days of being arrested for just looking bad, being ‘verballed’ and held for indefinite periods of time without access to a lawyer were done.
For some serious offences there were limitations that could be imposed as to access; but, access had to be granted eventually, and if delay was authorised, the detained person had to be informed of the where and why and the reasons recorded in the custody record. Everything had to be recorded. It also led to the creation of a full time, 24/7, duty solicitor scheme.
These sections did cause some annoyance to certain police officers, time spent keeping records and other paperwork, but it helped to keep everybody honest and up to the mark. If someone is arrested and in custody there is nothing wrong with being careful about the liberty of the subject.
And then something happened:
Everybody got scared.

You would be forgiven for thinking that the Terrorism Act under Tony Blair came into force after the twin towers attack, but you would be wrong. It was introduced in 2000, well before 11th September 2001. The Terrorism Act 2000 changed s. 58 with an additional clause (12) Nothing in this section applies to a person arrested or detained under the terrorism provisions.

The Labour Party, which was the first to bring in legislation against terrorism containing lengthy detention provisions without access to legal advice in relation to Norther Ireland’s problems, came through again and continued to seek even lengthier periods of detention.

How is it that this party of the left is so bent on curbing civil liberties? One could expect it of the Conservative Party. Indeed one always expect such reactionary legislation from the Conservative Party; however, the complicity of the Labour Party, and Tony Blair in particular, to aligning itself with the United States’ covert repressive measures, even before 9/11, is a very sad legacy for liberal subjects in this country. They have a lot to answer for.

Margaret may be everybody’s bad poster lady now, but she did do one thing that was pretty good (even if by mistake). Anyone whose liberty is at stake has a statutory right to legal advice. It wasn’t so clearly defined until the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984.

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>Duncan MacAskill’s Nervous System

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I listened with half and ear to Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time this morning discussing the Nervous System, that network of nerves which allows various parts of the body to communicate with each other, through the brain, with a number of neurotransmitters in action enabling sensation and action. I have at various times had discussions with various friends, but in particular with my friend Duncan MacAskill. He is an artist who lives and works in Vauxhall/Stockwell, as do quite a few others.
One of Duncan’s pieces of work is a continuous mail art piece which has spread out across the world like the various branches of the nervous system.

Duncan MacAskill’s mail art is an open secret that has been going on for years. I count myself fortunate to be amongst many of Duncan’s friends who have been receivers of his postcards. They began as small versions, ‘diminutives’, of his larger abstract work. They were of course works in their own right and they were posted by him to his friends on various days throughout the years as the mark of a birthday, an anniversary, a holiday, an exhibition, a journey, and many other reasons or for no reason at all, just to say hello.

He would also ask his friends, when going on a journey, if they wouldn’t mind posting a few cards for him from wherever they were going. The collection would usually contain a card addressed to the person’s own address. The cards are now treasured possessions and I know of many people who would like to be part of Duncan MacAskill’s mailing list and it is quite some list.

Abstract art is not always easy to understand and it is not an art form that is to everyone’s taste. A work where the artistic content can depend on internal form rather than pictorial representation is not necessarily an easy form to understand or to be moved or enlightened by. That is not to denigrate pictorial forms of art. All artistic endeavours consist of a combination of colours, hues, shapes, balance, depth, composition, scale and context.

I think any artist hopes that her or his particular combination of elements is understood and will lead to some kind of shared emotion or enlightenment. I believe we look at works of art with this in mind. We like to follow the journey and we all like a good story.

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

This work is part of a much wider project. As well as being a record of friendships, musings, thoughts and images that have travelled around the world, a simple telling of where the names and places of things have meaning. They are also a stamp collector’s dream.

There is something rather special about the creation of this work. It is not just a collection of individual cards and sundry bits and pieces, but a very large and extended work of art. This is mail art participation on a grand scale. Duncan has made each of us a party to his grand scheme. We become extensions of his hands and arms, another pair of eyes. We are the neurotransmitters and the work is a continuing living piece enabling sensation and action throughout the world.

One might be lucky enough to get a number of cards which you find at some point down the line all come together to create yet another story.

Anyone travelling anywhere? If you are interested in joining in the piece post a comment and let me know. I have not told Duncan I am doing this, but what the hell.

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