I have long been an admirer of Frida Kahlo. I am of the opinion that certain artists speak to you on a level that goes beyond simply “liking” or “appreciating” their work. Kahlo speaks to me. One painting in particular that I always reflect on is, The Two Fridas, 1939. It was painted after her divorce from Diego Rivera. The two Fridas are sitting, holding hands with their hearts interlinked. One enrobed in traditional Tehuana dress and the other in westernised clothing.
To me, they represent different facets of her. We are all gems, with different facets making up the whole. I feel it shows her caught between her worlds; who she is, where she has been, where she is going and what she wants to be. This is something that I fully understand; I feel caught between my two worlds.
In catching up with some blog reading this week, I read a post on Chocolate and Zucchini. Clotilde wrote about witnessing a friend’s thesis defence, on the experience of refugee chefs in Paris. She opened with a poem by Nigerian writer Ijeoma Umebinyuo, called Diaspora Blues:
“So, here you are
too foreign for home
too foreign for here.
never enough for both.”
The lines Umebinyuo wrote spoke to me. I’m not entirely where I want to be right now. I’m striving to keep to the motto “bloom where you’re planted”. But I feel caught between my two worlds. England is becoming a place that I don’t recognise. It’s political agendas are disturbing. It appears that there is no room for growth. The people are becoming even less friendly than they already were.
We are running down a path and every time we come to a cross in the road and make a decision about our direction, it turns out that we keep coming back to the same path. Timing is everything and maybe this is where we are meant to be right now. Even if I don’t fully see or understand it. My Grandpa always said, you never see the whole puzzle at once. There is a reason for everything and I truly believe in that.
But, I’m ready for a change. I’m ready to see what comes next. I took a leap a little while ago and it turned into a dead end. So, I’m backing up and going down the next road. I hope it brings me closer to my dream. And I hope the path we’re on, brings us closer to our dreams.
We ventured out to Roskilde during this trip to see the Viking Museum and the Cathedral (which was the first Gothic cathedral to be built of brick in Scandinavia and a UNESCO World Heritage site). The town itself, is just charming. It was a Viking stronghold and became the capitol and center of Danish life during the Middle Ages.
We strolled from the train station down through town. There were lots of stops for window shopping and I just had to go in to one store in particular. It was a gorgeous place with a tea and cake shop on one side and beautiful gifts and antiques on the other. I was very good and just looked, but I could have bought out half the shop!
This was written on a plaque next to the Spring: St. John’s Spring was a holy spring, named after St. John the Baptist. The outflow as it appears today dates from 1834. In 1835 the 11m deep well was excavated. Numerous potsherds and two almost intact earthenware jugs were found, dating from the time when sick persons came to the spring to be healed.
We walked down to the Viking Museum first. As we neared a field just past the church, we could hear the sound of splashing water. We both looked around and discovered a spring. Not just any spring, but the Skt. Hans Kilde ( St. John’s Spring). This was one of three sacred springs within Roskilde. It was a popular pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages, because many of the sick, thought they would be healed by drinking the water.
As we approached the museum, the smell of the sea filled our nostrils. The front of the museum acts as a storage shipyard. Boats were covered for the winter and lined up along the path with descriptions written next to them. I fell in love with one boat from 1944, Brudpiga. It was a church boat that carried people from scattered villages and farms along the Siljan lake in Sweden to church on Sundays. It could hold up to 60 people. It had 20 oars and a crew of 22 men. My imagination was running wild after reading that sign. I am sure I was romanticising it within my head, but I had cozy visions of traveling in that boat by candlelight along the shores, gathering people and meeting friends, who you might not see again until the following week.
The architecture of the building housing the five ships was thoughtfully devised. You felt as if the boats and the sea blended into one. The outside and the inside working together in harmony. The Viking Museum was truly fascinating! It’s incredible that this discovery was even made and then the time it took to excavate and preserve it, is even more astounding. I can’t wait to go back in the Summer to watch them working on boats in the shipyard and if we’re really lucky to ride on one of the ships they take out into the fjord.
I couldn’t help but snap this picture of a picture, of one of the conservationist working on preserving the wood of the ships. Those glasses just rock!
A view over the bridge to the working shipyard and outbuildings.
We stopped for a snack in the cafe. I had hot chocolate and we split a piece of apple cake. The cafe’s menu is inspired by the Vikings. They use the same ingredients that were available during the Viking Age as well as those that were brought home from the Viking’s voyages. They strive to bring to life the five Skuldelev ships through food. I liked that. Food is important on so many different levels and to intertwine the past and the present was a lovely way of bringing the Vikings to life.
I loved this terracotta pink house with it’s green trim. It looked cozy inside.
Next stop was the Cathedral. We only had a short time in the Cathedral and we definitely needed longer. The sun was setting and the shadows that were created were both breathtaking and also eerie. The history within the church, it’s connection to the monarchy and to the artists who worked there piqued my interest.
Frescos c.1460, in the Chapel of the Magi
Tomb of the Scandinavian Queen Margrethe I.
Tomb of Christian IX and Queen Louise.
In the Christian IX chapel the three female figures that flank the double tomb of Christian IX and Queen Louise were designed by Edvard Eriksen. He was the creator of the famous Little Mermaid statue that sits in the harbour in Copenhagen. His wife was the model for these statues and you can particularly see that in the posing of the Little Mermaid and the central female figure at the tombs. We stayed until the bells chimed to signal the doors were closing for the night.
We walked back through town in the dark. The twinkle of Christmas lights glowing all around us. I couldn’t resist peeking through the gates of the convent to see their lights, a welcoming beacon on a frosty night. This city is on our list to keep exploring, there was just too much to see in a day! But, I’m not going to complain about that, it’s a good excuse to go back!
A trip to Denmark, never feels complete unless we get to walk through the breathtaking halls of the Louisiana Museum. It holds a special place in my heart. Strolling through the sculpture gardens; staring at Sweden across the sea; absorbing all the light from the floor to ceiling windows; taking in the architecture and the lighting, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
This was a special trip for me, as we were going to see the Louise Bourgeois Exhibition. I have long been an admirer of her work and to see her Cell series put together like this was hair-raising. It featured all 25 cells and was the first exhibition to do so. To be able to touch and see what she had touched, seen and created, made the experience a deeply moving and intimate one. I noticed on a few of the cells, her hand writing scrawled across the upper part of the doors, labelling them as the “top”. There was a realness to these nooks, they existed within their own worlds. Worlds that we were, at once, a part of and an intruder. I was overjoyed that we had the chance to see this particular exhibition.
Louise Bourgeois, Cell I
Louise Bourgeois, Cell I (a peak inside)
Louise Bourgeois, Cell VI
Louise Bourgeois, Spider
Louise Bourgeois, Spider (detail)
Louise Bourgeois, I Give Everything Away
Louise Bourgeois, Cell XXVI
Other highlights on this visit were the Daniel Richter paintings and work by the Spanish artist Juan Muñoz. Of course we made a pit stop to step inside Yayoi Kusama’s Gleaming Lights of the Souls. It is always worth the wait to go in to that magical little room.
Juan Muñoz, Half Circle
Daniel Richter, Tarifa
Daniel Richter, Alles Ohne Nichts
Daniel Richter, Amsterdam
Daniel Richter, Winter Journey 4
As always it is a treat to stop and eat lunch at the Louisiana. The fire was lit, and there was a beautiful view from the windows of the ocean rocking and rolling at a steady pace just beyond. The air was damp and clean. We feasted on sparkling apple juice and Christmas sausages with the most divine orange sauce; bowls of Jerusalem artichoke soup; and a variety of salads and fresh bread. It is simple, yet elegant.
Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Powerless Structures, fig. 11
This is my last Copenhagen post for this visit. We explored two new spots this time and some old haunts as well. The Arken Museum for Modern Art and Frederiksborg Castle have been on our list for awhile. We had beautiful sunny days on both occasions so the walk around the lake and on the beach in both instances were breathtaking.
A visit to Copenhagen never seems to be complete unless we stroll around Tivoli’s beautiful gardens. The night we were there we hit the dance floor and took a spin along with the Big Band that was playing. They were fantastic! Afterwards we stayed to watch the fireworks and stayed cozy under the heaters, while sitting on sheepskin rugs and drinking hot chocolate. It was a perfect evening.
Oh Copenhagen, as always, I can’t wait to return!
Arken Museum, Homage to the Hunters from Mande, Abdoulaye Donate
Arken Museum, Lady with Anemone, Gerda Wegener
Arken Museum, Circle of Animals, Ai WeiWei
Arken Museum, National Career Lamp, Olafur Eliasson
I’ve been catching up on a few things since our return from Denmark (photos coming soon, I promise!). One thing on my “To-Do” list was to go through the things I saved in my Instapaper account. As I slowly started combing through the articles I had put in there for rainy day reading, I re-discovered this one on Colossal.
A Canadian couple have spent the past 24 years building their own floating island. Today they are currently moored off the coast of Vancouver. I was completely fascinated by this idea. I would love to follow them through the seasons and see how their life changes when the snow begins to fall.
I sat down yesterday afternoon to catch up on a bit of blog reading that I had saved and I watched this. I was mesmerised. Created by Thomas Blanchard, using a mixture of paint, milk, oil and liquid soap. I was completely entranced. I felt that I was watching a cosmic explosion, a carnival of candy colours, a film showing biological matter in all it’s minutea. It is a metamorphosis of colours and shapes. I found it to be almost meditative. Enjoy!
I have a secret! Mr. Michie surprised me on Valentine’s by telling me he was taking me to our beloved city for a short break! I almost passed out with delight! We bundled up and walked through the snow to some of our favourite places and made some new discoveries along the way too. We ate delicious food, lit candles in our apartment and watched the river go by at night. It was very hygge!
Our view of the river.
Le Gourmand on Værnedamsvej. This street is the “mini Paris” of Copenhagen.
Blomsterskuret, the most amazing flower shop. Also located on Værnedamsvej.
Tulips for sale at Blomsterskuret.
Snow laden branches.
A walk in the snow.
Lunch at the Louisiana Museum.
Physichromie 497, Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Louisiana Museum.
A different way to view the world, Louisiana Museum.
Juicy Burger Order.
Juicy Burger potatoes.
Brisket, sweet pickles and mac ‘n cheese at Warpigs.
Mr. Michie met me last night in town after work and we went on a walking adventure: Lumiere London. A selection of international artists lit up London and it was magical!
These are just a few of my shots. It was freezing outside, but the atmosphere was just incredible! They had shut down Regent’s Street so you could easily manoeuvre around, which was fantastic. Seeing Westminster Abbey lit up like that was amazing; it was surreal. I’ve had a few opportunities to work on projection projects like this, which made me appreciate what these artists have done even more. It was a really fun date night in London.