I have the heart and stomach of a King… says!

Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth I of England) said that “I have the heart and stomach of a King.” I surmise this as having the heart and stomach of a warrior personally. She made this speech or statement in August 1588 as there were questions being raised that her gender will restrict her from being the commander of the armed forces as the Spanish Armada was assembling in the North Sea ready to invade England.

The character of this speech implies that we must show ‘chiefest’ strength in the face of resistance. We must be defiant when confronted with battles in any of its ramifications. It illustrates that while acknowledging our weaknesses, it is our strength and guts that must reign supreme in the face of battles.

Image result for spanish armada

It echoes the soundbite from the great Nelson Mandela which he uttered at the Supreme Court of South Africa in April 1964, stating that “It is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”. The ideal this astute man was referring to was the total freedom of the African people – a struggle for the right to live on their own God-given land. Here was a political prisoner pleading for his life against an unfair and unjust apartheid state, however he was ready to be condemned to death for his noble principles for advocating for all races in South Africa to live freely and equally.

Image result for nelson mandela

How I wish the leaders in this African region and beyond can borrow a leaf of wisdom from our beloved Madiba when he says that “during my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Image result for nelson mandela

My summation is that life can be a battlefield to varying degrees depending on the battle that one is confronted with, it could be political, social, economical or even internal battles. We must be like the spartan warriors of the past that were ready to fight to the last drop in the face of opposition.

Here are some of the great soundbites uttered by leaders of a long-gone era in the face of political and social resistance –

  1. John F Kennedy (Cold War – “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country).
  2. Jawaharlal Nehru (Indian Independence – “a tryst with destiny).
  3. Abraham Lincoln (Gettysburgh – Civil War – “Government of the people, by the people, for the people).
  4. Martin Luther King (Civil Rights – “I have a dream”).Related image
  5. Winston Churchill (WWII – “their finest hour”, “we will fight them on the beaches”).Image result for william wilberforce
  6. William Wilberforce stood at the House of Commons in May 1789 and said “let us put an end at once to this inhuman traffic.” This was said in the presence of many MPs who were merchants exploiting Africa through the transatlantic slave trade. Of course, and as expected the establishment did not yield to this abolitionist request until three days before his death in 1833 when the Emancipation Bill was passed.
  7. Image result for william wilberforce

Happy Reading!

 

Advertisements

The intertwinement of life and provenance.

A piece of art with a fascinating story can be sold for a staggering $100 millions… Phew!!!

This dawn on me as I recently won tickets to the Victoria & Albert Museum. I decided to do some ‘digging’ – digging for art treasures!

I have always wondered why art works at auction houses such as Sotheby’s can be sold for a cool $100,000,000.00 or more.

Image result for Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice) Image result for Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)

Image result for african original sculpture Image result for african original sculptureImage result for expensive african art

More importantly, why would anyone spend such an amount on a piece crafted, painted, sculpted or drawn in a dinghy workshop some 500 years ago.

I realised that this happenstance is due to the laws of scarcity, perhaps only a few of this works were commissioned by the ‘landed gentry’ or royals of the past. Perhaps, only few survived the wars and looting of such artefacts in the pasts. My fascination is that art has always been valuable throughout the ages and hence the very rich bourgeois and powerful have always seek to acquire those unique pieces of arts and antiquities to add to their collections.

This led me to discover the meaning of the word provenance. In regards to arts, it is the record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.

Provenance allows us to see (to value) things differently when we hear the story behind the art, or the painting or who has had ownership of such a vintage piece of art in the past. This allows the value to change in our minds. An authentic story with provenance is what changes the value of a piece of art or a family heirloom.

Authenticity, stories, dynasty connectivity, royal ownership and historical timelines are the ingredients for the reasons why the handiworks of the long-forgotten artist such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso can be sold for millions, and millions of dollars over a mobile device, bought by new money from Asia or North America.

A piece of porcelain such as below makes time travel possible by understanding the genesis of a piece of handiwork. It helps to connect to the histories, cultures and adventures of the past years or centuries.

Image result for most expensive porcelain

Photo of Samson Slaying a Philistine, Giambologna, 1560-1562, Italy. Museum no. A.7-1954. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London Photo of ‘The Miraculous Draught of Fishes’, Raphael, 1515 – 16. On loan from HM Queen Elizabeth II; rcin 912944, (Luke 5:1-11)

Provenance also intertwined with our lives as individuals, by alluding to what value we place on our own history and heritage. Our true authenticity must be brought to the surface for us to be valued as we rightly should.

Image result for african art

Related image Image result for nigerian sculpture at cambridge

Related image Related imageRelated imageImage result for nigerian sculpture at cambridge Image result for africa most expensive painting Related image  In the Desert (Watercolour)

I am looking forward to visiting the V&A Museum over the summer, it’s been ages since I visited such an institution.

Have a nice weekend…

https://www.vam.ac.uk/