Pick a Painting – Any Painting….

Creative Future, a local charity that works with marginalized and disabled writers ran a creative writing course at Brighton Museum in January. The following piece is one of the many great pieces of writing that came out of the course. More of the participants’ work can be read in the pamphlet Museum Tales on sale now at the Brighton Museum shop, price £5.’

Creative Future run the creative writing workshops in partnership with Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

Museum Tales, Poems and prose inspired by artefacts in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Museum Tales, Poems and prose inspired by artefacts in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

I slip into the gallery upstairs and lose my footing straight away:

drowning in a pool of paintings on display – all

clamouring for attention – I’m out of my depth.

My head barely clears the engulfing waves of pigment

and composition that lay claim to be admired:

I’m lost for choice, with no ground to stand on.

I don’t want the lady in the bed, just beside the door,

looking provocatively up at whoever’s looking back,

patting the empty space beside her. Too much a mirror.

Nor, Gertler’s Dutch Doll – an artist’s model – with no

distinguishing features of its own – to be manhandled

amidst colourful miscellany: that’s too close to home.

Daunted by paintings at every turn and corner,

I head for the relative haven of Ivon Hitchen’s Forest,

but am assaulted by a daub of yellow taking a flying leap

across the canvas: a paparazzi of paint – a flash of alarm.

I oscillate between waves and vibrations that push my limit

of endurance. I’m gasping for peace and stability.

When did Art get so predatory? And precarious?

I clutch at the straw of Nash’s Granary; the grace of

understatement; the quiet respite of muted tones, and

a simple rustic staircase I can grasp, so I can

rise above turbulence; gain a higher view; and

head out of bedlam – one wooden step at a time.

Janina Aza Karpinska

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