Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The image is the invitation to the opening of an exhibition of the drawings of Hassan Harouni. Hassan had been working on a book called Hassan Everywhere but he unfortunately drowned before he finished. Hassan was a Palestinian artist and this card fell out of one of my diaries yesterday ,as I had attended the exhibition opening. It came at a moment when in a sense I was being overwhelmed by the world and it suddenly caught my breath as I remembered the feeling that the exhibition had engendered in my head and heart. You might think that the unfinished drawings for an unfinished book do not warrant an exhibition, but there was magic in that room the day I was there- it was palpable and it was special. The thought of magic and whimsy cheered me up immeasurably- it seems to appear so little in our busy lives.It also started me thinking about art- which has to be serious, weighty, intellectual and thought provoking and whatever else- but where is whimsy in all of this? Those little stolen moments of magic which I felt in the exhibition of Hassan's drawings.

We read stories to children full of whimsy and magic. My children built many fairy gardens in the hope of attracting a fairy ( and I still find the remains of some around my garden)- they were wonderful little collages of moss, twigs,mushrooms and flowers often placed in hollowed logs- every bit as whimsical as the delightful installations of Andy Goldsworthy - not "art" but on the other hand designed to transport into the world of the imagination and magic.

Just like piles of wood are installations of an almost bygone era- the image that it conjures of woodfire, leaping flames,crackling and skipping,glowing and glinting;imagine camping without a glowing fire to talk into the night.

Sometimes living is an art;I watch my children , nearly all teenagers pulled and tugged by peer pressure,tv and media and the internet; there are few moments of whimsy in a teenagers life. I know this is part of growing up but I do hope somewhere sometime they will seek to find a refuge from the madding crowd and indulge in moments of whimsy- of immersion in the world of magic. The power of imagination is strong- we need to indulge it now and then and fly on whisps of whimsy.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I was just thinking if there was a contemporary version of the P.G.Wodehouse and S.J.Perleman kind of writing: excellently done silly humour. It's good to have a magical world to disappear into for a break from time to time.

Mirjam said...

Maybe you should take a look at my cousin Katja Esser's website: http://www.ritualexpressions.com/re/ We almost grew up together, seeing each other every holiday, playing with Barbiedolls, sewing for them (Sissi - Austrian Empres-style), dressing up and creating a fantasy world for ourselves. Katja has managed to find this world back again, I try to put it into my art in my way. We were of one mind until she moved to the US. Now we have more or less lost contact. I miss those days of magic.

Nicole and Phil said...

Hi Dijanne,
I love looking at your wonderful quilts, I have added your blog to my list of favourites, so I can pop by from time to time to see what wonderful things you have made
Nicole, Berlin, Germany

MargaretR said...

I love that sketch and I'm sure the exhibition was wonderful, but sad? Reading about it has made me realize what a waste of time procrastinating is. I have so many things I want to do while I can. Thanks Dijanne.

Rosemary said...

"If life is so serious, why is there yellow?" So asked my younger daughter (now 25) after a couple of days of heavy debate about study choices for years 11 and 12. I mentioned it a week or so ago, and found she had totally forgotten she said it. I never have -- and have a smile tugged into place every time I see something yellow. At 50 and 5 foot 1, I can say: "life is short, make fun of it".

The whimsy is also there in movies, sometimes. The set designers for the Jim Carrey movie "A series of unfortunate events" obviously had a whimsical ball.

Oh, and Omega might try Terry Pratchett for whimsical humour. He does make the odd point that hits hard because you weren't expecting it, so he's heavier than Wodehouse in that respect, but the dance of words is in the same style.