Posted in Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

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An embassy is the face of a country in a foreign land. A few days ago, I had the privilege of visiting the South African Embassy in Germany. When this building was designed in the early 2000s, the aim was to portray and honour the diversity of the country, as well as to express something of South African hospitality and openness. In my opinion, they managed to achieve both!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face


Posted in Uncategorized

Sea Fever

796901e42fc1364f536cdfb83a333a19I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

(from: Sea Fever by John Masefield)

There is nothing quite like the sea.  To blow away the cobwebs.  To regain a sense of calm.  To realise how big the world out there is and so to recapture a sense of perspective.

Oh how I would love to have a place like this to sit, to look out over the sea, to listen to the waves lapping (or crashing, depending on the weather) on the shore.  This has got to be almost the perfect spot.  I wonder how much reading, writing and thinking I would get done if I had a place like that.  My place overlooks a courtyard.  Quite a nice one but a courtyard nonetheless.  Which is not the same.  At all.

It’s been too long.  I must down to the seas again…

What is your “perfect place” to think, to read, to write, to daydream?

Posted in Art, Culture


171a9734a9He is there, yet not quite.  Part of the town, yet apart.  Floating.  Luftmenschen, people of the air.  Art depicting what words sometimes struggle to express.

Marc Chagall describing his experience of growing up in a Jewish Schtetl in eastern Europe (now Belarus).  The search for stability, the desire to belong. Yet knowing it could all be over in an instant.  Always expecting to be chased away again, ready to run.

That time and place is gone, the experience is not.  Millions of people live like this.

Some, like me, by choice.  Deciding that the treasure to be gained by leaving home, by planting yourself in another place, another country, outweighs the cost of giving up those deep roots.   At our best, we belong anywhere and everywhere.  At our worst, we feel like Luftmenschen, always floating, never quite landing.

Others never get to make that choice, life chooses for them.  War, persecution, economic hardship drive them from their homes.  They live the life of a refugee, always waiting to go back, grieving what they have lost.  Some choosing to put down roots in the new place.  And yet a part of them left behind in the old place.

A way of life, a state of heart so beautifully expressed in this image.

“Mit seinem über der Stadt schwebenden Mann hat Chagall ein Motiv ins Bild gebracht, das in vielerlei Hinsicht als zentrale Metapher der jüdischen Existenz in der Moderne gelten kann: die „Luftmenschen“, die mittellosen Bewohner der Schtetl Osteuropas, die von Gelegenheitsarbeiten mehr schlecht als recht lebten, in ihrer Region nicht verwurzelt und beständig von Verfolgung und Vertreibung bedroht waren. Der Begriff „Luftmensch“ geht auf die zeitgenössische jiddische Literatur zurück, auf Mendele Moicher Sforim und Scholem Alejchem, und diente zunächst der ironischen Selbstbeschreibung, wurde aber im 20. Jahrhundert zum antisemitischen Stereotyp der Wurzellosigkeit gewandelt. Chagalls Luftmensch hält einen Wanderstab in der rechten Hand, auf dem Rücken drückt ihn ein großer Sack mit seiner ganzen Habe, ein Sinnbild für die historische Wanderschaft des jüdischen Volkes. Das Motiv spielt auf Redewendungen an wie „jeder trägt sein Päckchen“ oder „man geht über die Häuser“ – im Jiddischen ein Ausdruck für das Hausieren. In seiner Schwerelosigkeit wie in seiner Dimension schiebt sich der Schwebende als surreales Moment über die realistische Straßenszene von Witebsk. Chagall hat den Blick aus dem Fenster des Hauses gemalt, in dem er nach seiner Rückkehr aus Paris 1914 ein Zimmer gemietet hatte. Rechts im Bild zeigt er die markante Ilja-Kirche mit dem grünen Lattenzaun zwischen gemauerten Sockeln. Das Motiv des schwebenden Wanderers setzte Chagall mehrfach in Variationen um. Dabei identifizierte er sich oft selbst mit dem heimatlosen Wanderer. Schon im Epilog seiner autobiographischen Aufzeichnungen schrieb er: „Hängen wir denn nicht tatsächlich in der Luft, leiden wir nicht an einer einzigen Krankheit: der Sucht nach Stabilität?“ ” (
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Lost Socks and sugarhigh

Each day, sugarhigh send me the latest on the amazing Berlin arts scene.  Yesterday, they were at their very best.  Sit back and enjoy.

An ever-so-slightly modified excerpt from Plato’s Symposium:

The original nature of socks was not like the present. Once socks were a distinct kind, constituted by the union of the right sock and the left sock—the powerful pair. Great was the pairs’ might and strength, and they planned an attack on the gods. Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. At last, after much reflection, Zeus thought of a way. “Socks shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two,” he declared. After the division, each single sock was sentenced to a life spent searching for its other half. The nature of socks then was originally one and they were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.

Socks have a maddening habit of separating themselves from their predestined other half. But they need not be doomed to lives of heartbreak and loneliness, nor do we need to be left with a drawer full of unusable singles. Artist Tabea Mathern’s Lost Sock Project is an open call for submissions of abject, single socks, which will be woven into a large-scale work of textile art.

Together, forever. —[sh]

Absolutely loving the creativity!  I wish some of it would rub off…

So – be kind to all those lonely socks and send them to the Lost Sock Project!