Art and the Future

Some Sundays are magical. I’ve just had two in a row. Last night we went, as has become the tradition, to hear the ten shortlisted poets for the TS Eliot Prize. Every single poet deserved the prize. I haven’t looked to see who has been awarded it, but my 50p would be on Sharon Olds.

Another prize in the arts took me to Margate the Sunday before last with Celia: The Turner Prize. I realised the day the winner of the prize was to be announced that I know one of those shortlisted, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, with whom I did some work a decade ago. What I did not know was that the four short-listed artists, when they met, had realised their art all came from the same place, and asked the judges to allow them to share the prize. The judges agreed.

Human rights, racism, the rich legacy of immigration, sexual repression, ecological crisis, are themes common in the work of both groups of short listed artists. To say the last night’s readings and last week’s trip to Margate to Turner Contemporary were inspiring is an understatement. Like many, I am saddened and depressed by what is happening in my country and elsewhere. Narrow minds, racists, white supremacists, revisionist historians, warmongers, nationalists are in the ascent. I have been low in spirits, appalled by events and attitudes, extremely worried about the future. Evidence that there are many people out there still working for good, for human rights, for justice, for truth, the NHS, for victims of indifference, lifted my spirits, despite the sober art.

Let Big Ben toll 31st January. Let church bells ring 1st February. What I and others will hear are the sounds announcing the launch of the Rejoin the EU campaign. And be in no doubt, we shall rejoin. I don’t know how long it will take, but it it will happen. Decency will prevail.

So here are some pictures of our day in Margate. Fabulous.

Turner Prize 2019

Turner Prize

Cider house

Welcome sign

The Eric Morecambe connection

Mammoth knitted

T rex knitted




Oscar Murillo



Sound event


Burned out

The beach


Mixed feelings

9 thoughts on “Art and the Future

  1. Thanks for the Margate preview – it is one of the places I’d like to visit. I am glad you are energized to fight the next long fight to “rejoin”. These are the times when Jessica Mitford becomes a model to remember.

    • I hadn’t been there since the 80s. Now I want to go and stay for a couple of days to explore. The gallery alone is worth a visit. I don’t think I’ll be carving hammer and sickles onto my windows à la Jessica Mitford, but if I can channel some of her resistant spirit it may keep me afloat.

    • Thanks for that. I have candles. They will be lit. I mentioned to some friends we should be ready with champagne 31st January to toast the rejoin campaign, and corks will be popping in south London. How about at yours?

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