Thursday, April 07, 2011

Botanical Art under fire

Never let it be said that I'm not tempted by a good post title! In this case it happens to be true.

This is a post about Shevaun Doherty who started her latest study for her assignment for her Society of Botanical Artists Distance Learning Diploma Course while under fire during the revolution in Egypt.

Daucua Carota - an SBA Diploma assignment by Shevaun Doherty
Dear Katherine,

It's been a turbulent few months here to say the least!

We were here for the revolution in Egypt which was really quite frightening. I had an assignment to prepare for the SBA Distance Learning Course and so tried to keep myself calm by concentrating on the colours, form and textures of Egyptian Red carrots.  It was quite surreal - there were tanks all around the compound where I live, helicopters overhead, men with machetes, steel bars and guns standing on the street outside my house (neighbourhood watch!) and daily reports of violence and death.... whilst I sat indoors painting my carrots, not even sure just how I would send my work to my tutor!

Anyway, the president was toppled and I DID manage to get the assignment done and posted (and got 91.4%!). 
Egyptian red carrots - the assignment preparatory work
completed during the Egyptian revolution and under fire
We all hoped that life would return to some kind of normality. 

Unfortunately it hasn't. There has been a massive security vacuum here- the police have disappeared almost completely and the army seems unsure as to what to do. Every day we now face riots, sectarian violence, armed robberies, kidnappings and protests. There are wars erupting on all of our borders. Just today there was a shooting outside my daughters' school and a bomb at the pyramids. I am shocked every time I open the newspapers. Egypt is far from safe at the moment particularly for foreigners. Even Egyptian antiquities are under constant attack from looters and there are reports of widespread damage.  Here's a link that describes the situation

The youth groups are now calling on the people to begin protests once again this Friday in Tahrir, to save the revolution.

I love living in Egypt but with two young daughters, I just don't think that it's worth the risk any more. So we have decided to move back to Ireland for the time being - we leave next week.

Shevaun goes on to ask me to take a photograph for her of her assignment work which is on display in the SBA Diploma part of the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists which opens tomorrow.  She can't make it to the Exhibition due to the fact she's in the midst of a move back to Ireland - which is such a pity as it's the first time her work has ever been in an exhibition.

You can read how I came to know Shevaun in Why be an art blogger?

I'm now off to the Private View at Central Hall and tomorrow, on this blog, I'll have news and photos from the SBA exhibition - The World of Plants.

Does anybody else have curious tales of how they got their artwork done on time?  Do write and let me know and I'll feature it on the blog if it's a good story (and good artwork of course!)


  1. I just wanted to say congratulations to Shevaun - I've been following her beautiful work for about 3 years and it's fantastic to see her progression into botanical art - and also wish her and her family safe journey back to Ireland.

  2. Egypt's loss is Irelands gain. Welcome back Shevaun.

  3. Katherine, thank you for this; I've kept up with Shevaun too, but hadn't realized her situation was still so very dangerous. Please pass along my prayers for her and her family.

  4. Her work is beautiful, and peaceful, considering the circumstances! Well done.

  5. Please forward my congratulations to Shevaun! Her work is beautiful. It is sad that she won't be able to see it hanging at the show. Thank you for introducing Shevaun's work on your blog.

  6. I am amazed by Shevaun's dedication to her art in such a trying time. The results are beautiful and I'd like to send her my congratulations on being shown in the exhibition.

  7. I saw this in the flesh last night at Central Hall - well done Shevan, it is a beautiful piece of work, and very unusual.

  8. P.S. Great blog entry title Katherine!

  9. Wow, what an amazing story!! Such beautiful work done under such hard conditions. I think you have taken botanicals to a new level. Sorry that you must move, it will be Egypt's loss definitely.


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