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Time Is Short: (B)old Festival, Southbank Centre

I was asked by the wonderful Entelechy Arts to make an artistic response to their work as part of (B)old Festival, a high-profile celebration of artists over 65 that took place at Southbank Centre, London (UK) in May. As an artist less than half the age of those being celebrated, I wondered what the best way to respond might be.

I've worked with Entelechy before on larger projects (their work in the festival was large in scope, but my response would be a small thing) and their specialist focus on older people as a source of knowledge, inspiration, creativity and leadership is something, as a younger artist, I've gained immeasurably from. I decided that, rather than develop a complex response with an 'angle', I'd do what more people should do around older people and just listen to what they had to say.

I took portrait photos on archive quality film of ten people who were present - artists, performers, audience members - and asked what they had to say about the importance of creativity in their own lives. I then asked each person to write a few words of advice to a younger artist.

The finished photo series is called Time Is Short. This was one of the pieces of advice written by a participant in the project, but it's also the title of a photograph by Weegee, taken in 1942 and which I hung on my wall at home for many years. Some of the people I spoke to were alive when that photo was taken - a reminder of the many lives older artists have led and which might not be apparent upon first meeting. it's also a reminder of the never-ending urgency of time being short when you have a lifetime's work to make, however much time you might have.

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