I spent several hours at the British Museum yesterday. There was so much to see and I'm sure I only scratched the surface. I saw the Rosetta Stone and a lot of stuff from the Acropolis, and a lot of ancient British stuff.
One thing stood out to me though. There was an exhibit from artists in Mozambique. Mozambique has been in a lot of civil wars and conflict for years. Tons and tons of guns were being poured in to support the wars. Now that it's over there are millions of weapons spread throughout the country. A group, Arms for Tools I think, started a program to turn in guns in exchange for farm tools and other things. There is a story of one whole village who turned in all their guns for a tractor. Then a group of artists take these weapons and make sculptures out of them. There was a huge tree, the Tree of Life, made out of tons of guns. You can still see it all, pieces of triggers, etc. It was amazing, hard to describe when you see that many weapons turned into art...
I spent several hours trying to track down some Yorkshire tea and managed to make it to the Indian/Muslim area where there were a ton of stalls out. People were selling everything! Beautiful clothes and scarves, shoes, toys, fruits and vegetables. This went on for blocks and blocks and blocks. I wish I had discovered this area sooner! I could only linger so long though since I had a dinner date to keep.
I had arranged to meet Nancy Irving, the general secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation, for dinner. (I think that's her title.) I had gotten way over to East London to find a big enough Sainsbury's that sold big boxes of tea and I knew I would be late. It was a rush back through the street stalls and the tube to get back to my hostel and unload all my purchases, then a quick turnaround back to the tub.
I made it to Friends House fifteen minutes late, but all was well. Nancy and I caught a bus over to the Thames area. The Tate Modern is over there and a lot of theatres (for live shows). There was a theatre show going on in a park area and we stopped for a few minutes. The setting was a barber shop and there were three actors. They never said a thing, just interacted with the set and the radio. They would occassionally change the station and then would interact with the radio. We came in and the radio was doing war of the worlds type broadcast. The actors were terrified, trying to hide, etc, etc, acting like the world was ending. Then a soothing voice came on saying that this was episode 6 of such-and-such show, tune in next week... The actors became embarrassed and acted like they knew all along. The radio was changed to a different station, and they were off on another skit. They just kept going and going! We finally left and meandered along the river. We had a lovely dinner at a pizza place then went to visit the Tate.
This museum was made out of an old power company building. It is absolutely enormous! The 'atrium' area inside has to be something like 10 stories high. They did a wonderful job converting the building into a museum. We only had time to visit one gallery. It was titled something like 'beyond painting.' There were a number of 'artists' who had created these pieces with clay, sacking, bits of fluffy stuff, etc. One was simply a large piece of burlap stretched over the canvass with a slice right through the middle of it. This particular artist had really gotten into poking holes into his canvass or slicing through it to give a sense of infinity. Hmmm. I think that one gallery was enough for both of us!
I went across the Millenium Bridge straight to St. Pauls and made my way 'home.' I had a good last day in London and wonder if I'll every get back here again.
Well, the St. Paul's bells just rang 9:00. Time for me to gather my luggage and head for the airport! See some of you soon!