Is anyone going to come?

This is the question I was asking myself all night. And is exactly the reason I don’t like throwing my own parties. If anyone wants to organize my next birthday party, please let me know. I hate doing it. It is far too stressful. However, I can’t get out of it for my own exhibitions even though it turns me into a shivering mound of royal jelly.

We spent the day messing about with the projector, putting in the final ventilation unit, and overseeing the various frills. I have learnt some valuable lessons about where not to go for stenciling in Jeddah, and that Alaa al Shuwayer (my partner from BMG) is a remarkably resourceful person and an inspirational multi-tasker. When I have three children and a husband (so ok, 4 children) remind me not to put on anything more taxing than an apron. How she managed to help me pull of an entire exhibition I have no idea.

The day passed, the sun set, the lights went up and the show was on the road.

And here’s a little video to illustrate!

We had four hundred people walk through the exhibition, and it was a resounding success (Thank God! Tangible relief!!!). The feedback was fantastic. Everyone was so enthusiastic and encouraging and most of all excited about the art, we were all thrilled with the response.

The best part of the evening though was when the sponsorship banner fell on Teresa’s head as she delivered her speech. Fortunately she is very thin, so it just slipped over her.

Over the next few days we had the delightful and incredibly rewarding experience of working with children and teenagers in our various workshops and school visits, and never a truer word was uttered than this: ‘out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.’ Some of their comments were just so profoundly moving, if I could have I would have tripled the number of workshops we did.

That said it is worth noting that although I have a strong maternal instinct, attempting to entertain a group of 4 year olds was probably the most difficult thing I had to do that week.

Forget the 400 worldly, well-educated adults that came through with critical eyes: 4 year olds… Argh! It was like herding cats. Problem solving is my forte, I like the challenge of it, but I had to give up and let Alaa – who has infinitely more patience than me – take over. She had the genius idea of making them count the trees in the photographs. This would never have occurred to me. I kept trying to talk to them about living in the present and being connected to the universe. Never had I been looked upon with more disdain and boredom than that handful of toddlers, shortly before they started trying to break things and hit each other.

Which is when I made my swift exit.


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