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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Many hands make light work & powerful statements

Can art ever say anything important about the political issues of the day? This blog looks at ways of learning about the world without having to get on a plane (because this blog is all about travelling without racking up a mega carbon footprint). Words from Nicola Baird.

Inspiring piece by Lorenzo Quinn, Support, 2017 (c) Lorenzo Quinn
Today my hallway is a clutter of boxes filled with Green party leaflets. The idea is that I contact keen local Greens and get them to take a clutch and deliver to nearby households. It's a slog contacting people (there is a politico or SPUD term which calls this something like 'phone banking'). Admittedly it is a thrill when you match a genuinely keen Green with a really useful job.

But can art do the work of politicians? Apart from Picasso's La Guernica and other war pictures I wasn't sure if art could be used effectively in a campaigning way.

But I love this new sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn which shows two huge hands emerging from the Grand Canal as if they are propping up the five star Ca' Sagredo Hotel. Admittedly I know very little about the buildings in Venice - other than climate change is putting them at risk of collapse. But the artist is quite clear about his intent:
"I wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body. The hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy. Venice is a floating art city that has inspired cultures for centuries, but to continue to do so it needs the support of our generation and future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and time decay," says Lorenzo Quinn who calls his sculpture Support.

This sculpture is on show for the Venice Biennale from May to November 2017.

This is the second fantastic artwork about climate change that has really impressed me. The other was of four 3m high horsemen emerging with the low tide along the banks of the Thames by Jason de Caires Taylor visible near the Houses of Parliament in September 2015. I still have a picture of it, cut from the Guardian, pinned up on my fridge. But I daren't add it to this blog as it is a Getty image. But hope to the Guardian site and have a look.

So what?
Both artworks make powerful points about the need to pay attention to climate change in the most witty and thoughtful ways. And that gives me energy to keep on making those calls encouraging people to deliver another run of leaflets... A perfect example of how thinking global can re-energise you to act local.

Over to you
What art work have you seen that helps raise attention to problems like climate change?

  • More info about Lorenzo Quinn @LorenzoQuinnArtist via @HalcyonGallery Halcyon Gallery website (or visit 144-146 New Bond Street, W1) which specialises in "inspirational art". Nearest Tube: Bond Street
    FREE Entry. Visitor Information: 020 7100 7144. Exhibition opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am–6pm, Sunday 11am–5pm

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