Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Otterton sculptress's work honoured courageous journalist

Journalist Najam Sethi, speaking up for the free press in Pakistan

A Cambridge college honoured one of its distinguished former students last year at a ceremony marked by the presentation of an artwork sculpted by a Friend of Fairlynch.
Sculptress Angie Harlock Wilkinson, who works from a studio in Otterton, created a bronze figure 'Isadora, Joy' which was presented to the journalist Najam Sethi.

A prominent journalist in Pakistan who studied at Clare College from 1967 to 1970, Mr Sethi is known as a convinced democrat, an advocate of moderation in foreign policy, and an opponent of religious extremism and violence.

On numerous occasions he has incurred the anger of autocratic governments. He was imprisoned for two years by the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto regime in the 1970s for siding with the Baloch nationalist movement. In 1984 General Zia ul Haq imprisoned him for a month for publishing a book - From Jinnah to Zia - by a former chief justice of Pakistan, Mohammad Munir, which was highly critical of the 1977 coup. In May 1999, he was imprisoned for one month without trial but was released after an international outcry. In 2009 he was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers.

'Isadora, Joy', inspired by the courageous dancer Isadora Duncan 

Angie felt that the choice of this particular figure in recognition of Najam Sethi's courage was highly appropriate, showing as it does "the brave and inspirational Isadora Duncan absorbed in dancing her instinctive and emotional style of free dance which she performed tirelessly and taught to girls all over the world."

The Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award made to Mr Sethi by the Clare Alumni Council is designed to provide a role model to current Clare College students, to demonstrate that it is possible to contribute to society without necessarily achieving financial or professional 'success' in traditional terms.

Clare's Alumni Council has elected Dr Alice Welbourn as Alumnus of the Year for 2012. Dr Welbourn has spent her career working to raise the profile of HIV-positive women. She is the author of Stepping Stones http://www.steppingstonesfeedback.org/, co-founder and chair of trustees for the Sophia Forum http://www.sophiaforum.net/ and the Director of the Salamander Trust http://www.salamandertrust.net/

Local sculptress and Friend of Fairlynch Angie Harlock Wilkinson

Originally from the Cotswolds where she grew up, Angie, who also studied at Clare College, has had longstanding family links with Devon. She feels that she has come back to her roots in the West Country after a career which included teaching modern languages for a number of years in local Cambridge schools. During the 1980s and 90s, she helped her husband start and develop a successful English language school.

In 2000, she started to devote more time to her passion since her late teens. Working in wax, she tries to capture these fleeting moods and sensations in her dancers, figures and many studies of lively horses.

Angie's bronze figure of a shire horse "enjoying a satisfying roll in the grass after a hard day's work"

"Expressing my sense of what is exhilarating and elemental in nature is intrinsic to my work," she says. "Amusingly, I created a female figure called Devon Woman - for the 'Coast' exhibition at Otterton Mill two summers ago - which was inspired by the rugged Jurassic coast along the cliffs by Ladram Bay, and was a rusty-reddish bronze nude in several pieces, suggesting the stacks broken off from the beaches, but only a few people really 'got it', and my own mother wasn't one of them!"

Angie often creates pairs or little groups to better express the elusive flow of feelings. RHS Rosemoor http://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/rosemoor has put her four bronze 'Dancing Maenads', pictured above, in its celebrated Winter Garden as part of its Winter Sculpture Exhibition. "The Maenads would entertain revellers at their feasts with their music and dancing," she explained, "so I thought they would make a nice subject to inspire joy and freedom of spirit in the viewer."

Angie only recently joined the Friends of Fairlynch although she had visited the Museum on many occasions.

"I do love history, and look forward to learning more about the area from the archives, in part so as to feel a deeper understanding for, and gut connection with where I live," she says. "And also how the landscape that means so much to me, and to my artistic well-spring, has evolved."

For more information about Angie's work, click on http://www.angieharlock.co.uk/

Click on http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/aboutus.php to see how Najam Sethi is defending the freedom of the press in today's Pakistan.

This post is linked from http://www.devonmuseums.net/Otterton-sculptress-work-honoured-courageous-journalist/Latest-News/Fairlynch-Museum/Museum-News/

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