At the time of writing (in September 2010) Tom had just finished his Lafrowda painting. Inspired by the St Just festival in 2009 which culminated on the final Saturday with the Viva Lafrowda processions. The painting was again for him a celebration of this brilliant local community.
The Latin theme that year led to the appearance of several giant sombrero’s in the parades. A huge Mexican skull puppet towered over the foreground revellers with their patchwork of coloured hats, flags, banners and costumes, a figure that rivalled the houses themselves in scale. In the spirit of the well know Mexican Day of the Dead this was a figure of jollity. As http://www.mexonline.com/daydead.htm puts it: “……….for Mexicans who believe in the life/death/rebirth continuum, it’s all very natural. This is not to say that they treat death lightly. They don’t. It’s just that they recognize it, mock it, even defy it. Death is part of life and, as such, it’s representative of the Mexican spirit and tradition which says: “Don’t take anything lying down – even death!”.
Tom reflected: ‘Maybe we can use something of that defiant and carefree approach to lighten-up our lives!’
This painting was exhibited at The Broadway Gallery, New York in May 2011. Tom was very proud to ‘fly the flag for Penwith and Cornwall.’
For the last eight years I’ve been doing paintings based on the Lafrowda Day parades that are the culmination of our Lafrowda Festival in Cornwall’s most westerly town of St Just-in-Penwith. Seven years ago the picture I’d made based on the 2003 Festival sold at a benefit auction for the Cornish art archive and every year since then I’ve run benefit auctions of these paintings for the Lafrowda Festival itself, an event that is expensive for our local community to put on and that is well worth your support.
This year I again ran such an auction. This time the piece was my Lafrowda 2008 painting based on groups of drumming, banner waving school-children as they processed past my studio to the accompaniment of Samba bands. Again I was able to raise a substantial sum to donate toward the running of future festivals in the town.
This year it was the New Orleans style marching band heading up the lantern procession at the end of Lafrowda Day in mid July that provided my inspiration and led to the recently completed Old Glory New Orleans Jazz band painting. The bold shapes and brassy colours emerging from the night were irresistable to me and I lost no time in getting to work so that now at the beginning of September as I write the new piece has just appeared here (click on the title above to view the picture).
This year I’m running things a little differently for the benefit sale of the picture. First of all I’m currently intending to include it in my Lived-in landscapes shows next spring and to this end I’ve put an exhibition price on it. However from now until the New Year a 25% discounted price is available to anyone prepared to take delivery of the picture (postage and packing included) after the last showing of the exhibition which ends on 11th June 2010. Apart from £75 retained to cover materials and publicity costs the proceeds will be donated as before to Lafrowda Festival.
It may be that it doesn’t sell in this way in which case it will be up for auction on Lafrowda day 2010 like it’s predecessors and as before I’m starting the auction online. Bids start at the figure of £75 so that I can be sure to cover costs as explained above. This year too I’ll be sending a rolled unmounted print to everyone who makes a bid and will do so straight away when you send me the address to send it to! You can be a part of this by making a bid for the painting through the contact page. Of course if it sells through the exhibition or online in the meantime, or if someone else tops your bid, you’ll have won a free print as a thankyou for supporting this fund-raising effort!
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(click on the thumbnail for a much clearer view)
This painting was based on the second in the cycle of Cornish Miracle plays from the fifteenth century known as The Ordinalia. It was performed in the Plen-an-Gwary, ( playing place ) in the centre of St. Just-in-Penwith in August / September 2001 by The Ordinalia Company, made up of the people of St. Just and the surrounding area (and a core production team of professional theatre practitioners). The third play in the cycle, The Resurrection, was later presented in August 2002 and THE FULL CYCLE in August 2004.
In the spring of 2007 the Ordinalia’s much loved director Dominic Knutton tragically died and there was an appeal for funds to purchase the hut adjoining the Plen, which was used as a vital backstage area for the productions. The sale of Tom’s painting, along with funds raised by the community helped to bring this about. The splendidly rebuilt and refurbished hut was renamed The Knut in memory of Dominic. It remains a much valued and well-used community and cultural centre for the people of St Just. theknutstjust.com