Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Mervyn Peake Awards 2012 – the awards ceremony – some extra stuff

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After all the excitement of yesterday’s event, and writing it up in the wee small hours as I did, I completely forgot to include:

The three winning entries were, in my opinion, excellent, and very deserving of the awards.  It can’t have been an easy task, judging the competition, for there were many other works that might have won or been highly commended.

I, personally, was particularly struck by the power of the winning painting. I thought that Sylvia Hogg’s ‘Mary Stamford Lifeboat House Rye Harbour’ was quite stunning. Photographs of the building give, at best, an impression of bleak loneliness in a flat Suffolk landscape; many of them represent an unremarkable, disused shed that just happened to be the launch site of one of a tragic lifeboat disaster. The distortions – in both geometry and colour – of Sylvia’s painting seem to give the building a measure of vitality, without losing the bleakness or solidity.

Interestingly, one of Sylvia’s paintings, ‘Sea Bouys Ashore’ was Commended last year (they weren’t using the word “Highly” in 2011). Unfortunately, it did not feature in the 2012 Calendar, and I don’t think it is reproduced online.

I enjoyed Joanne Harris’ reading of the winning poem, Amanda Crane’s ‘Bloodline’, and I very much like the poem’s language and enigma, but I have to confess that I am far less aware of what makes a good poem than I am of what makes a good painting. Perhaps it is, in part, because a poem does not have an instant visual impact; it must be read and absorbed.

Unlike a photograph. I fully appreciate the clever composition, the unusual angle and the interesting effect of the shutter speed of Peter Jones’ ‘Summer Days’. And I like the image, immensely. But – possibly because I don’t think of my own photographs as an art form (they are, variously, records, references, visual notes or simply snapshots) – I feel utterly unqualified to judge photography as art*. Thank heavens that I don’t have to!

Sneak preview of the calendar... link to the Parkinson's UK ShopAll of the winning entries feature in the 2013 Calendar, which isn’t on general sale yet (possibly because they haven’t punched the holes to hang it up with yet… the copies I bought at the awards ceremony are missing this important but easily remedied feature).  I suppose it is a bit early for next year’s calendar.

One thing that I did notice about the winning entries this year, is that they all seem to represent strength, and that they all contain enigmatic elements. Both very valuable qualities.

*This does not mean that I do not consider photography to be an artform. I believe that it can be, but that it quite often is not. (I further believe that you do not need a fancy camera to take a good picture – or even a picture that might be classed as art.)

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