How do we remember?

Autobiographical Note by Helen de Mouilpied

Autobiographical Note text p1

Text from autobiographical note exhibited in How do we remember? at Highgate Gallery 2019. Read the rest of the text on the website project page.

3 replies on “How do we remember?”

Dear Adam, i.e. Dr. Forman,

I have attempted to contact you via your contact page however it doesn’t seem to allow me.

I’m not sure if you remember me, Micaela Pizarro Bell. My mother was Carole Bell and you also saw my sister, Carole Concha Bell. We were a Chilean family who used to see you at Hoxton Surgery many years back. I believe you also saw my late grandfather, Santiago Bell.

I am writing to let you know about our local arts and heritage project.

Santiago Bell (my grandfather) was a sculptor and politician that arrived in Cambridge in 1975 as a refugee, after being expelled from Chile following the 1973 coup. The first sculpture he exhibited was in 1976 at Lion’s Yard. In the early 1980’s Santiago moved to Bow in London’s East End and along with Lord Andrew Mawson (OBE), founded what would become the Bromley By Bow Centre, working with marginalized people to help them realize their full potential.

During the 80s and 90s he created an impressive body of work using his ethos that scrap wood, just like people overlooked by mainstream society, could be shaped into something incredible. His work was exhibited widely and gained recognition. However Santiago’s concept of what becoming a successful artist meant, was different to most people’s. He refused to sell his sculptures and challenged the notion of art as a commercial commodity.

He passed away in Hoxton in 2005 quite suddenly and it has taken us a number of years to rescue the collection and bring them back home to Cambridge.

Our aim is to restore the sculptures to their former glory and exhibit them in an accessible venue for local people to enjoy and engage with, and perhaps be inspired by his message that art can be a transformative tool for both individuals and society.

Please take a look at our crowdfunding initiative on the website below. Any ideas, comments, contributions or partnerships will be most welcome.

Many thanks for your support!

Kind regards,

Dear Dr Forman

I’m a research fellow at the University of Sussex, and am currently working on a journal article about women’s work in non-theatrical film distribution that expressly highlights your mother’s prewar work at the Gas, Light and Coke company and at the MoI in wartime.

I’m afraid I’ve only just come across the photos from your exhibition ‘How do we remember?’ and am very sorry to have missed it in person, it looks fascinating. If possible, I’d like to quote from some of the fascinating papers you have included in the journal article and I’d be very interested to find out more about your mother’s life, work in film distribution and experiences at the MoI.

It would be brilliant to talk to you more about this and if you would be kind enough to reply to my email address –, that would be very much appreciated.

All best,

Hi Hollie
Interesting you are researching film distribution in the thirties, I think my mother’s story may be relevant. I hope I can help.Send me an email on my home email with times you could do and we can arrange a phone call or zoom meeting. Pity you missed the exhibition. Adam

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