Pic­ture took me right back to the class­room

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

UN­LESS you have been on Mars, you will have no­ticed there are some ter­ri­ble things hap­pen­ing in the Mid­dle East and North Africa to name but two, and I would not wish to swap places with those with a Fin­ger on the But­ton, nei­ther would I fancy liv­ing among the tur­moil, dodg­ing bombs or pick­ing up pieces.

On a per­sonal note, my bril­liant and brave nephew, is cur­rently wait­ing in Jor­dan, for his visa to get into Ye­men, where he is to work for an NGO mon­i­tor­ing refugees.

He’s done the same work in Iraq over the past three years, and his new post­ing is a pro­mo­tion.

I don’t think my sis­ter sees it that way and I am sure she is se­cretly de­lighted that the visa is be­ing de­layed, es­pe­cially as it means he’ll be home for Christ­mas.

Un­for­tu­nately th­ese days, even if you live in ru­ral Pad­field, in the Peak Dis­trict Na­tional Park, you can­not pre­tend to be once re­moved and dis­tant from the likes of Syria or Iraq, as mod­ern day com­mu­ni­ca­tions, trans­port and weapons, make it a mere stone’s throw away...

When I was at sec­ondary school I re­mem­ber be­ing fas­ci­nated by pho­to­graphs and sto­ries of the var­i­ous tribes and cul­tures of th­ese trou­bled re­gions, not least be­cause our teacher had been posted to In­dia and Africa dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and he was able to bring the peo­ple to life dur­ing his lessons.

He talked af­fec­tion­ately about the Ber­ber peo­ple of North Africa, and in par­tic­u­lar of the stun­ningly beau­ti­ful women.

It’s funny the things you re­mem­ber from school, and it all came back to me re­cently when artist Gor­don Clegg, who used to re­pair wash­ing ma­chines for a liv­ing in Had­field, de­liv­ered a col­lec­tion of his draw­ings to the Laugh­ing Badger Gallery for his cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion.

When I un­wrapped the Ber­ber Girl, seen here, cre­ated with pen­cil crayons over 40 hours, I was in­stantly trans­ported back to the class­room of long ago, my great sto­ry­telling teacher and his col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs from the Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Mag­a­zine pinned to the walls of my youth.

Truth is, I fell in love with this beau­ti­ful girl, and when I posted her im­age on Face­book, so did hun­dreds of oth­ers, and al­though this might sound naïve, wouldn’t it be great if we could all travel safely to th­ese places again.

In the mean­time her eyes fol­low me around the gallery ev­ery day, and con­tinue to at­tract much ad­mi­ra­tion and at­ten­tion.

Of all the artists to ex­hibit so far, Gor­don’s have cre­ated the most con­ver­sa­tion and read­ers are very wel­come to come and have a look them­selves over the next few weeks.

The cof­fee is al­ways on but give me a shout on 07736 175866 in case I’m off chas­ing birds and mam­mals.

The Laugh­ing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glossop

●● Gor­don Clegg’s the Ber­ber Girl, cre­ated with pen­cil crayons, is ex­hib­ited at Sean Wood’s Laugh­ing Badger gallery.

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