I started this decade with a move to England. I am ending it with a year back in homeland.
“You already live and work in London? Then, what are you doing back here?!” I was often at the end of this kind of query for the last year. People are baffled. They wonder why I came back, especially in a country where it seems that one of the biggest achievement you can do is to leave.
I have been here in the Philippines for a year now, when most people thought I wouldn’t last for long.
“You’re too sheltered.”
“You’ve already enjoyed a certain kind of lifestyle.”
“You are not cut out for the grind here.”
“This would not suit you. At all!“
“You have no idea how tough it is.“
“You. Cannot. Possibly. Last.”
Everyone must have thought that I have glazed over eyes coming back. Most would have thought it idealistic, even unrealistic, when I said I am here to pursue my passion.
And for the most part, I believed that maybe they are right. Perhaps this was just me looking to confront a challenge. An exercise of free will in seeking a great perhaps, at best. Or wishful folly, at worst. This might become nothing more than a failed experiment of a privileged petulant young adult in her pursuit for something more. Nevertheless, I also took those wanton remarks on my stride.
So, here I stand. Constantly anxious? Absolutely. Still high-strung? Very much so! But never tired of proving myself – for the things that matter. At the danger of sounding too clichéd… Follow your dreams. Be steadfast in your passion. Know your goals. You might not know if it’s worth it – I’m still not quite sure myself – but you can have tons of pleasures and experiences finding out.
Don’t let the metaphorical ropes hold you. Work those frays instead of letting them scare you. You are always bigger than your doubts. It just takes one to embrace the immensity and all the colours of possibilities.
Paint me red. Paint me brave. Colour me hopeful. I am ready for this decade. Bring it the hell on!
Filipina-British fashion designer Faye Arguelles debuts her collection at #LCF19 Degree Show on 18 July 2019. ‘Ecdysis’ showcases a collection of couture pieces underlying the present need for humans to wear masks as protection from pollution, while also drawing inspiration from nature itself.
Stirred by her birth country’s nature and landscape imageries, Arguelles contrasts heritage lands like the rice terraces – carved into the mountains by the hands of Filipino ancestors and indigenous people – with mining sites caused by urbanisation.
“Ecdysis means shedding the old skin. I wish for it to express the constantly changing ways of our earth caused by nature and the civilisations in it. There is always a layer of new skin to find,” Arguelles said.
The Life in Death installation at Shirley Sherwood Gallery in Kew Gardens offers an “alternative concept of beauty” through the evolving nature of its medium. Best known for her international floral installations, Rebecca Louise Law‘s most intricate large-scale artwork to date is exhibited at Kew from the 7th of October of last year until the 11th of March 2018.
The immense representation of the feminine, the political and the cultural is very palpable and striking in Wangechi Mutu’s latest exhibition entitled Nguva na Nyoka (meaning “Siren and Serpents” in Swahili). Staying true to the title, her collage paintings are of grotesquely deformed underwater creatures which screams surrealism with the contrasting elements of humans, animals and machines. They also manifest hyperbolism and diversity through the way she forced together an overload of materials, themes and references which you don’t ordinarily see together. Despite the initial jarring sense that her works present, they are both seductive and eerie all at once.
The exhibition spans the two floors of Victoria Miro’s Gallery in London, showcasing the art works of this New York-based artist with Kenyan origins. Mutu uses a variety of media – mixing both textiles and art materials – to create her hybrid creatures with magazine cut-outs, watercolours, beads, feathers and fabrics. These distorted chimaeras do not only emulate the mythologic core of the exhibit’s theme, but their faces made up of big eyes and lips lifted from fashion magazinesalso satirise the stereotypes and preconceptions of women’s images and identities in the society.
There are drinks by the entrance; people are holding foot-tall glasses of beers; some are eating dinner; and, there’s the constant buzz of chatter and natter all around. Loud music is playing and there are also strobe lights. But no, this is not a party or a casual social night. In fact, chairs are lined-up in rows to face the stage at the front of the venue and people are just waiting for the event to start.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Salon London… I hope we got something for everyone tonight.” says the host. It is Salon London’s last event for the year, where you get dancing and drinking breaks in between speakers. The Salon is also celebrating its 6th birthday in this intimate venue at The Proud Archivist in Haggerston, with the bar just by the door.
This is part of the the new trend emerging across the capital. The need for intellectual spaces where you can think, debate, socialise and drink at the same time. It’s an academic and aristocratic 18th century concept bleeding into the 21st century of pop culture and mainstream society; it’s the new age of modern-day salons.
“Prepare to be Varjacked!” This is how fellow artists in the performance scene describes or, more appropriately, warns the audience of writer and contemporary performer Paula Varjack. It refers to the idea of being hit with real and immediate impact with a certain act. “I’d like to kind of leave with something that I think has either a message or creates a certain feeling or makes you think afterwards.”
For more than 6 years now, this British-American performer has been working as a full-time artist and her works has taken a variety and hybrid of forms ranging from spoken words, monologues, devised performance, videography, audio-visual pieces, stories and poems. Mostly in London, Berlin and Washington DC, she has also been touring in different cities not only in the UK but also around Europe.
Paula’s disposition of being from all the places and prancing around practically everywhere inspired the title of her latest two-month tour Always Back From Somewhere, which sees her performing in England, Belgium, Scotland, Germany and Denmark. The tour started on the 7th of October with the whole month spent guesting in events around London and eventually the rest of the UK. With half of the tour remaining, she’ll be spending most of November outside the country culminating to her last performance on the 21st of the month at South Bank Centre in London as part of the celebration of Polari’s (multi award-winning LGBT literary salon) fourth birthday.
Over a decade into the boom in Young Adult Literature and 2014 looks like it is still yet the year that the Young Adult genre is going to be cemented as a true force.
There were 30,000 Young Adult titles published in 2009, which is a massive increase from the 3,000 titles in 1997. In the same year, publishing companies’ total sales for YA exceeded $3 billion and it has been publishers’ favourite bet ever since. To add, according to an artice in The LA Times, more than a dozen publishers has launched young adult imprints. And finally, with websites such as Epicreads releasing lists of “The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books Coming” every month since September in 2013 to date, it is evident that YA popularity is as strong as ever if not growing even stronger.
Cats are running the interweb, that’s a fact. Now, it seems like they are taking over the real world.
Shoreditch is set to be the home to London’s very first cat cafe.Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is opening soon, near the trendy Brick Lane, at Bethnal Green Road. The café was granted planning permission in September and ever since, the team behind Lady Dinah’s have been busy taking care of the cats and working on the building to get the Emporium fit for cats and people.
Lauren Pears, an Australian-born entrepreneur, introduced the idea of a cat café in the UK in a crowd funding campaign at the beginning of the year. It proved to be really popular and garnered much support and raised a total of £109,510. As we draw closer to Lady Dinah’s grand opening, the excitement hasn’t wavered. Continue reading “Shoreditch ‘Meows’: The Rise of Cat Cafés”
I love butterflies. I am obsessed! From bookmarks to candle holders, I love everything butterfly. I bought books because they have butterflies on the covers; they are such an eye-candy on the bookshelf.
As much as I love the metal, plastic or wooden butterfly decors, nothing would beat the real ones. The adorable flutters of their wings and their amazingly vibrant colours are just some of the simple miracles of nature. It just so happen that they are my favourites. Unfortunately for me, the blasted weather here in England doesn’t allow for much butterflies. I came from a tropical country where the butterfly population thrives, so it comes as an immense frustration that I don’t see them around. Even during the freaking summer! Continue reading “My favourite insect. Actually, the only insect I like.”
A horde of eager fans flocked to Waterstones Piccadilly and waited in line from dawn to twilight for a chance to meet bestselling author Stephenie Meyer. Out of the hundreds of people who willingly sat in one of London’s busiest pavement, 23 year-old Sinead Tobin Belmont claimed the place at the top end of the line.
Faithful fan, Sinead, arrived outside Europe’s biggest bookstore way before it was even open, sat at the foot of the door and patiently waited for the event to start. She said: “I arrived at 5:30 am and was waiting for twelve and a half hours before the event started at 6pm.” Now, that’s what I call dedication! Thankfully, for her, the day turned out to be England’s rare, dry and even sunny kind of day.