John Lennon - thank you
John Lennon played a huge role my life as a young artist and I will never forget how much he gave to me. In 1970 I was a student at Winchester School of Art, homeless and sleeping in a bus shelter. I used to go into college early morning to keep warm and listen to John Lennon singing "Across the Universe" . Listening to his words I started to see colours breathing, showing emotions, talking - not in words but in vibrations and singing. It was when I saw that the colours had a soul I knew I had to bring them alive but no idea how. I started experimenting by growing colour and working outside in the sunlight.
I saw that people had emotion, movement and a soul and were the perfect base for my living colours. I started putting colours and shapes onto people but wanted the face to be the centre of the sculpture so in 1972 I travelled overland intending to go to Australia and ask the Aboriginees if I could study their make up.
I never reached Austrailia, I got off a train at the wrong stop in Kerala, India and accidently found the Kerala Kalamandalam, the place where Kathakali artists are trained, and began training with the legend Kalamandalam Govinda Warrier Ashan as the first female Kathakali makeup [chutti] artist in thew world.
I returned to the UK in 1976 and created Centre Ocean Stream Performance Company to explore the idea of "Living Colour". My work didn`t fit into the arts council`s categories and I became frustrated as I was advised to add more drama and develop the dance. I found it hard to explain that I wasn`t doing dance and drama in costume but Living Colour.
Thank you John for giving me the inspiration to believe in myself.
Totally confused we were on our way to Italy when I heard John Lennon say "Be true to yourself". As I sat on the beach in the warm Italian sun I cleared my mind and went back it time to no light, no sound and no movement. Stillness became the basis of Centre Ocean Stream where all movement was contained in the stillness and I called this state "Neutral". Neutral became the foundation of Centre Ocean Stream and every movement came from, and returned to, neutral.
Thanks to John Lennon Centre Ocean Stream was born as an expression of living colour not dance or drama in costume.