Eugenie Absalom

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Chinese New Year of the Snake in London

Flying red Soho lanterns for the Year of the Snake.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Hundreds of thousands descend on central London each winter for traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, the largest outside Asia.   This year was not an exception, in spite of rain and wind.  The actual date of Chinese New Year varies year after year, but always falls between the end of January and mid February.  The Year of the Snake celebrations took place in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square on Sunday, 10 February 2013.

 

The Year of the Snake celebrations in Soho on 10.02.13.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Inside and outside a Chinese restaurant in Soho.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Due to constant rain throughout Sunday, hundreds of umbrellas were the only thing to be seen in every direction.   I still managed to take photos of the Chinese Lion dance in Soho, Trafalgar Square Chinese New Year celebrations and incredible red Soho lanterns.

 

The Lion Dance in Soho the rain.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

The Lion Dance in Soho on Chinese New Year Sunday.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

This annual event is organised by London Chinatown Chinese Association and supported by Mayor of London.  Chinese New Year 2014, the Year of the Horse, falls on 31 January 2014.

 

White Unicorn and red Soho lanterns.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Harrods window for the Year of the Snake.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

My photos of the Chinese Year of the Snake celebrations across London:

Chinese New Year 2013 celebrations in central London

Harrods Store Window Display for Chinese Year of the Snake

Ching-He Huang Live Cooking Demonstration at Harrods Store in London

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom


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London Art Biennale 2013 at the Chelsea Old Town Hall

Three Graces painting at the London Art Biennale 2013.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

First edition of the London Art Biennale took place at the Chelsea Old Town Hall on 23 – 26 January 2013.  It showcased original paintings, sculpture and drawings by 140 artists from 40 countries.  Charity art auction on 23 January brought together art lovers and collectors for an art party in the magnificent 19th century Victorian mansion in King’s Road.

 

Aelita Andre painting auctioned by Nicholas Bonham.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Organised by the one of the most established and long-standing contemporary art galleries in London, Gagliardi Gallery from Kindg’s Road and the Chianciano Art Musem, the London Art Biennale 2013 celebrated variety of styles and forms of contemporary art from around the world.

 

Art display at London Art Biennale 2013.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Biennale opening night saw a charity art auction, conducted by the former Chairman of Bonham’s Auction House Nicholas Bonham.  Proceeds of the auction went to End Polio Now charity and the Salvation Army Chelsea branch.  Lots included an original drawing by Andy Warhal, male suit sketch by Giorgio Armani, acrylic on canvas by the youngest professional artist in the world Aelita Andre, who was born in Australia in 2007, and other celebrated artists.

 

London Art Biennale 2013.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Visit London Art Biennale 2013 Private View and Charity Auction on Demotix to view my photos of the opening art party.  Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London, SW3 5EE    23 – 26 January 2013

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

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Memories of London Snow 2013

First snow of 2013 at Earl’s Court, 18.01.13.  Photo  © Eugenie Absalom

 

Snow in London is a bit of a rarity.  It only comes once in several years and causes havoc  and chaos, leading to transport disruption, school closures and power cuts.   Photos of London in snow give you a good idea of what London does not look like most of the time.  But as everywhere else on the planet snow brings romantic atmosphere and a touch of magic to London streets, historic monuments and parks.

 

Red and white colours of London in snow, 18. 01.13.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Snow 2013 stayed in London for less than in week.  As  a photographer I felt blessed on this very special occasion of seeing red London icons turn white, which created a perfect monochrome setting  for imagery.

 

Westminster Abbey  covered in snow on 20.01.13.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Photography during snowfall is a tricky business.  Camera is getting wet and fingers are freezing. Capturing snow flakes is a skill in itself, without much chance of  perfection in London.  I did what I could without causing too much damage to my camera or to my fingers.

 

London Eye kept going during snowfall on 20.01.13.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Snowfall in Westminster on 20.01.13.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

You are welcome to visit my Demotix pages to view more photographs of mystical, surreal London during snowfall of 2013:

 

First snow of 2013 in London

London snowfall 2013 in Westminster and Lambeth

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

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Symphony of Colours Exhibition at La Galleria Pall Mall

Symphony of Colours exhibition at La Galleria Pall Mall.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Symphony of Colours exhibition, curated by Zina Bercovici took place at La Galleria Pall Mall in London on 10 – 16 December 2012.

It presented artworks by 30 well-known artists from 19 countries and showcased eclectic mix of paintings, sculpture, silk prints on lithographic paper, tapestry and handmade jewellery.

 

Symphony of Colours exhibition in London, 10 – 16 December 2012.

 

Artists Patricia Armour, Ehud Bassis, Dr Dirk Beckedorf, Zina Bercovici, Abhijit Bhattacharya, Latife Birenheide, Claudia Birkheuer, Marissa Calbet, Orly Coffler, Sonia Eisenberg, Lizzy Forrester, Vera Gelert, Larisa Golubeva, Ilona Van Hoek, Astrid Jacobs, Eugenie Jan, Anne Lise Kaaby-Aas, Grace Keller, Spyros Kolyvas, Peter Koschak, Waltraud Kunz, Paul Landerl, Bruno Maximus, Manuella Muerner-Marioni, Bratislav Leonid Mušicki, Marco Paseri, Anna Ravliuc, Christel Sobke, Masakazu Tatebayashi and Yaffa Wainer took part in the Symphony of Colours show.  They come from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the U.S.A.

“It is deeply inspiring to see the enthusiasm and drive in these works.   I can see an orchestration of color and ideas within stories told through a massively eclectic collection,” – said art connaisseur Philip Firsov at the exhibition opening night on 10 December.

“All of the works are exhibited in a professional context and show a commitment to originality and unconventionality.   We can see sculptures, installations, paintings, tapestries, etc – both abstract and figurative.   It demonstrates the power of art in all of these countries around the world with inspired fantasy, storytelling and proficient use of materials.   It shows just in how many ways it is possible to develop as an artist across different genres, being able to capitalize on the materials at hand and pull out the best aspects of materials to work to the artists’ advantage in their self-expression.”

 

 

Symphony of Colours entertainment was brilliantly handled by musician Oleg Lapidus on clarinet and saxophone and seven foot tall living art work Pandemonia, who’s appearance at exhibition launch caused a lot of excitement among numerous guests of the show at La Galleria Pall Mall.

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

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Coldplay and Paris for Kids Company at Proud Camden

Coldplay Graffiti Wall Mylo Xyloto at Proud Camden galleries.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Original Mylo Xyloto album artwork by Coldplay band members and Paris raised £500, 000 for Kids Company charity at Proud Camden galleries at the beginning of December.  Fraser Kee Scott of Album Artists commented on Facebook:   “I just sold the Coldplay Mylo Xyloto wall for £500,000, which all goes to Kids Company!  That means total sales are now over a million dollars which all goes to the charity!  This has been a mind blowing week for my new company Album Artists.”

 

At Coldplay and Paris charity art show at Proud Camden.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom.

 

The exhibition featured three original paintings on canvas by Coldplay and the band’s Mylo Xyloto artwork collaborator Paris, as well as the original 7m x 2.5m graffiti wall that became the album artwork.  A second wall painted by children from Kids Company and Paris was displayed above the stage opposite Coldplay’s graffiti wall.  A collection of never seen before Coldplay tour photo prints by their photographer Matthew Miller was one of the highlights of the show.

 

 

Fraser Kee Scott at Coldplay and Paris charity art show.  Photo ©  Eugenie Absalom

 

New venture by Fraser Kee Scott, Album Artists, makes art for musicians and provides fans with original and limited edition artwork by their favourite stars.

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

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Pandemonia at Eleni Gagoushi Show at BAKU London

Pandemonia at Eleni Gagoushi art show at BAKU London.   Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Extravagant living pop artwork Pandemonia, wrapped in tight-fitting khaki rubber dress and holding her pet dog Snowy, showed up at Eleni Gagoushi private viewing of abstract paintings at BAKU London restaurant in Sloane Street.

Originality in art pays off. Once you see Pandemonia and her inflatable companion Snowy dog appear at London art and fashion events, all heads turn their way. I felt very lucky to have a chat with Pandemonia at BAKU London restaurant cellar last night.  Seven foot tall blond lady spoke in a male voice about conceptual character of her art, aimed at exposing cellophane celebrity culture and the spreading popularity of her artistic pursuit worldwide, referring to recent photo shoots in China.

 

Two artists: Eleni Gagoushi and Pandemonia at BAKU London restaurant.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Our chat took place against the backdrop of abstract paintings by London artist Eleni Gagoushi. Her famous Angel paintings were glowing mysteriously in the dim light of the BAKU cellar bar while renowned DJ Albert de Paname from Paris played atmospheric music from Edith Piaf and Prince to Latin.

View my photos of Pandemonia at Eleni Gagoushi private art viewing at BAKU London restaurant on Demotix

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

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Symphony of Colours Exhibition at La Galleria Pall Mall

 

Plunge into Christmas spirit with the Symphony of Colours exhibition, coming at La Galleria Pall Mall in the Royal Opera Arcade on 10 – 16 December 2012.  30 artists from 18 countries will show paintings, sculpture, silk prints on lithographic paper, tapestry and handmade jewellery during this spectacular multinational show in the heart of London, off  Trafalgar Square and Pall Mall.

Symphony of Colours exhibition launch is on Monday, 10 December from 6:30pm till 9:30pm.
Welcome drinks and greetings by curator Zina Bercovici and art connaisseur Philip Firsov will be followed by live music performance by Oleg Lapidus, featured in BBC Four Klezmer series.

 

 

 

Symphony of Colours exhibition proudly presents artists: Patricia Armour, Ehud Bassis, Dr Dirk Beckedorf, Zina Bercovici, Abhijit Bhattacharya, Latife Birenheide, Claudia Birkheuer, Marissa Calbet, Orly Coffler, Sonia Eisenberg, Lizzy Forrester, Vera Gelert, Larisa Golubeva, Ilona Van Hoek, Astrid Jacobs, Eugenie Jan, Anne Lise Kaaby-Aas, Grace Keller, Spyros Kolyvas, Peter Koschak, Waltraud Kunz, Paul Landerl, Bruno Maximus, Manuella Muerner-Marioni, Bratislav Leonid Mušicki, Marco Paseri, Anna Ravliuc, Christel Sobke, Masakazu Tatebayashi and Yaffa Wainer.  They come from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S.A.

 

Royal Opera Arcade dressed up for Christmas. Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

The show demonstrates endless creativity and inspired artistic vision by artists from around the globe.  Whether you are an art lover, interior designer or you are looking for a Christmas gift to your loved ones – visit the exhibition and enjoy diversity of contemporary art at the Symphony of Colours!

 

Christmas lights at the Royal Opera Arcade in London.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Venue:  La Galleria Pall Mall, 30 Royal Opera Arcade, 5b Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 4UY
(tube: Charing Cross, Embankment, Piccadilly Circus)

Opening times: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: midday – 4pm

 

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The Diamond Recollection Presentation to HM The Queen

HM The Queen at the JTC Diamond Recollection presentation.  Photo © RCS.

 

2012 has been marked by HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations across the Commonwealth.  The Royal Commonwealth Society marked the jubilee with the world’s largest online history project, called the Jubilee Time Capsule (JTC).  The Capsule represents a collection of videos, photographs, drawings, essays and poems that reflect life in the Commonwealth over the past 60 years.

37, 163 people from 66 countries submitted their memorable moments to the digital archive that will be preserved online as a memory of the Diamond Jubilee year.  Their Royal Highnesses Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie, the Dean of Westminster Dr Hall, BBC presenter George Alagiah, television presenter and a former BBC Royal reporter Jennie Bond, Oscar Pistorius and Richard Branson were among the contributors.

On Wednesday, 14 November HM The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, visited the Royal Commonwealth Society headquarters in London to officially seal the Jubilee Time Capsule and accept the Diamond Recollection of the top 60 contributions into the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.  12 year old Malawi boy John Samson presented HM The Queen with a gift of a Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 computer tablet, containing the Diamond Recollection, chosen by a panel of judges out of  the 80, 000 entries from across the Commonwealth.

 

Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, The Very Reverend Dr Hall and Pearl Amoateng at the RCS HQ.

 

I submitted 37 contributions to the Jubilee Time Capsule and I was thrilled to find out that one of my memories was chosen to become a part of the Diamond Recollection.  Notting Hill Carnival 2011 followed London riots very closely and there was an atmosphere of uncertainty about this annual August bank holiday event.  But over a million revellers came together to celebrate Europe’s biggest street festival, that has been held in the best traditions of Rio in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea since 1966.

 

Eugenie Absalom next to Notting Hill Carnival 2011 screen at the JTC Diamond Recollection presentation.

 

Notting Hill Carnival is a magnificent British tradition.  It has its roots in the 19th century Caribbean carnivals, celebrating the emancipation of slavery.  And it has high artistic values.  Dance and music are at the heart of the carnival:  Calypso, born in the sugar plantations of Trinidad, steel bands and drummers accompany the 20 mile vibrant procession.  Afro Caribbean community of London, represented particularly by British Trinis, show off their cultural heritage at its best and provide tons of fun for the onlookers.  It is very important to preserve this fascinating event, that combines the spirit of  liberation with a deep rooted theatrical tradition, for generations to come.

 

 

The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world.   It is running more than a million objects and  is held in trust by The Queen as Sovereign for her successors and the nation.

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

 

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Diamond Jubilee Union Flags in Regent Street

 

140 Union Flags over Regent Street.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

 

Regent Street was draped in rows and rows of the Union Flag as the country celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  The blue, red and white spectacle stretched for miles down the iconic shopping centre of London’s West End and set up the spirit for celebrations.

 

Union Flags next to BBC.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Commencing at the BBC building a sky of 140 flags lead to Piccadilly Circus before continuing into Regent Street in the South.

 

Union Flags over Regent Street.  Image © Eugenie Absalom

 

I am not an artist, but this stunning display of Union Flags over Regent Street inspired me to create photography based art works.   Enjoy the Diamond Jubilee in Regent Street!

 

Union Flags over Regent Street.  Image © Eugenie Absalom

 

Jubilee Union Flags in Regent Street in the Diamond Jubilee Time Capsule.

 

Art/ Photo copyright © Eugenie Absalom

 

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The Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Flypast

The Diamond Jubilee RAF flypast over Trafalgar Square.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Soaking rain did not dampen spirits of the Jubilee fans, who cheered the Royal Air Force Thanksgiving flypast in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday, 5 June 2012.

The fly over went ahead in spite of wet weather conditions and marked the climax of the Diamond Jubilee Weekend. It followed the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and the Queen’s carriage procession through the streets of London.

Getting to Trafalgar Square was quite a challenge on Tuesday.  Thousands of fans descended on central London for the final day of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.   The square was blocked on every side when I first tried to get in.  Eventually I made my way through the crowds with umbrellas and I found a suitable spot to watch the ceremony on the giant screen.

A cute pug, wearing Union Jack scarf and chewing a souvenir flag of its owner caught my eye.  I couldn’t resist taking out my camera in spite of the rain.

 

 

Pug dressed appropriately for the occasion.   Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Suddenly a deafening roaring of engines sent waves of excitement through the crowds.   All heads turned towards the cloudy skies.

The Dakota flanked by two King Air aircraft ahead of the nine Red Arrows were flying over Trafalgar Square.  Red Arrows were leaving a spectacular multi coloured trace behind them.  The formation headed towards the Mall as the Royal Family were watching the flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

18 aircraft flew over the palace.  The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows saluted The Queen on the celebration of her Diamond Jubilee at 3.30 pm.  The Land of Hope and Glory and God Save the Queen in Trafalgar Square echoed a singing tribute to monarch by thousands of fans down the Mall.

 

 

Thanksgiving RAF flypast over Trafalgar Square.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

The Land of Hope and Glory and God Save the Queen in Trafalgar Square echoed a singing tribute to monarch by thousands of  fans down the Mall.

The Queen could be seen on the giant screen smiling and saluting the Royal Air Force flyover.   A soft mint coat dress of silk tulle with an elegant drape and a matching hat, designed by Angela Kelly, Swarovski crystals, pearls and snow white gloves added a fresh touch to the image of Her Majesty.  Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh was missing at the celebrations after being taken to the King Edward VII Hospital from Windsor Castle.

The Prince of  Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry stood next to the  Queen on both sides on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and waved to the crowds as they watched the RAF flypast.

The Duchess of Cambridge looked an epitome of style in a delicate blush overlay lace dress by Alexander McQueen with a matching Nude Beaded Cocktail Hat and subtle veil over her eyes by Jane Taylor.

The Duchess of Cornwall added glamour to the event with a graphic coat by Bruce Oldfield and extravagant Philip Treacy hat.

 

 

The Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving RAF flypast .  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

A celebratory cascade of rifle fire ‘feu de joie’  brought the historic moment to finale with a bang.

Singing in the rain and taking photos of the RAF flypast will certainly stay with me for years to come.

 

The Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Flypast in the Diamond Jubilee Time Capsule.

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

Photo Copyright © Eugenie Absalom

 

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The Diamond Jubilee Concert From The Mall

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

It was the sea of joy and the best celebration ever outside Buckingham Palace to honour 60 glorious years of Queen Elizabeth II as Monarch on the 4th June 2012.

Thousands gathered outside the Queen’s residence for the Diamond Jubilee Concert, organised by Take That frontman Gary Barlow and performed on the elegant jubilee stage, surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial.

I was in The Mall, which was covered with blue, red and white Union Flags and outfits as far as the eye could see.   Giant screens in St James’s Park and all along The Mall made it possible for thousands of fans to watch the concert steps away from the palace.  One could move freely down the Mall and enjoy the show from a variety of screens, which I did.

 

Colours of The Mall on The Diamond Jubilee Concert night.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

Rays of descending sun added a finishing touch of glory to the hot party atmosphere that reigned over the star-studded show with the Queen as the guest of honour.  Presenter Rob Brydon kept the crowds warm with  his jokes.  The Jubilee Concert  featured almost every music genre under the sun and became a true celebration of the six decades in music.  It brought together a constellation of knighted music legends like Sir Tom Jones, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Elton John and Dame Shirley Bassey.

Celebrity performers on the night included Robbie Williams, who opened the show with Let Me Entertain You, backed by Cold Stream Guards, Kylie Minogue with Flawless, Annie Lennox wearing Angel wings, extravagant Grace Jones with hula hoops, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, classical pianist Lang Lang, Ed Sheeran, Cheryl Cole, Stevie Wonder and pop veterans Madness, who brought the concert to finale with Our House on the roof of Buckingham Palace.  The palace façade represented live canvas at that point with intricate 3Ddesigns created by lasers.  It was a totally unforgettable spectacle, thanks to 600 technicians who worked on the show behind the scenes.

 

The Diamond Jubilee Concert artists.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie could be seen on giant screens singing along to popular tunes.

The Queen, dressed in gold colour gown with crystals, arrived mid way through the concert.  It was announced that Prince Philip, the Duke of  Edinburgh was unwell and had been taken to hospital.   Crowds were chanting ‘Philip, Philip, Philip’.

One of the most magic moments of the concert was the premier of a new inspirational piece of music called Sing – the song of tribute to the Queen by distinguished composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and award winning song-writer Gary Barlow with over 200 people on stage.

The Jubilee anthem was performed by the Military Wives choir conducted by Gareth Malone and musicians from across the Commonwealth including the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Band, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Slum Drummers of Kenya and the African Children’s Choir.  For one performance only the Commonwealth band came together and filled the hearts with hope and light with its beautiful singing to the video track, featuring special moments from the life of  Her Majesty.

 

“You brought hope, you brought light
Conquered fear, it wasn’t always easy
Stood your ground, kept your faith
Don’t you see
Right now the world is listening to what we say

Sing it louder, sing it clearer
Knowing everyone will hear you
Make some noise, find your voice tonight
Sing it stronger, sing together
Make this moment last forever
Old and young
Shouting love tonight”

 

The Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace. Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

The proceedings were closed by Her Majesty the Queen, lighting the national beacon outside Buckingham Palace.  Spectacular extended fireworks marked the end of the Diamond Jubilee Concert at 10:30pm.

14.7 million people tuned into the BBC’s coverage of the concert on Monday night.  It was totally overwhelming to  celebrate  the Queen, the country and the Commonwealth with thousands of well wishers in the Mall to crème de la crème of the music world.

 

Visit my  Diamond Jubilee Concert entry to the Diamond Jubilee Time Capsule.

 

News and photos by Eugenie Absalom

Photo Copyright © Eugenie Absalom

 

 

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St George’s Day Festival 2012 – London

St George’s Day Festival urban oasis  by Sarah Eberle in Trafalgar Square.  Photo ©  Eugenie Absalom.

 

What could be a better way to celebrate England’s patron saint than with a cup of tea in an English garden?  Thousands gathered for St George’s Day Festival in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, 21 April 2012.  The feast coincided with the actual birthday of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrated it privately at Windsor Castle.

 

I was passing by Trafalgar Square on Friday, 20th April, when I thought that I had a mirage with lots of trees in front of me.  I could not quite believe my eyes.  The only plant that I could recall seeing in this landmark London location was the Christmas tree.

 

I asked the workmen, who were busy installing artificial green lawns in the square, what was happening.  I found out about forthcoming St George’s Day Festival that was to take place on Saturday, 21 April – two days ahead of the National Day of England (23 April – the day St George was beheaded in Palestine in 303).

 

I will hardly ever forget Trafalgar Square the way it looked the next day.  It was transformed into one of England’s greatest treasures – its Garden.  Fountains, fruit trees, herbs and flowers with mythical creatures and angel statues, both real and human, live music from a floral bandstand, created an atmosphere of an imaginary film set for a Garden Party with many thousands of happy participants.

 

St George’s Day Festival 2012 video to Angel by The Robbie Boyd Band.

 

Live entertainment featured up and coming musicians, The Robbie Boyd Band among them.  Families enjoyed the April sunshine and music, relaxing on the “grass”.  Children, wrapped up in the flags of England, had fun playing with floating flowers and swans in the fountains.  The maroon mechanical Dragon, skillfully crafted by Keith the Jelly Roller was everybody’s favourite.  The Dragon moved its head, opened mouth amusingly, spread wooden wings and produced horn-like sounds to the joy of the audience.

 

Traditional English delights continued in a special terrace where English tea was served with a twist – cakes were made of flowers.  Creativity had no bounds.  Garden trail, face-painting for children and origami lessons alongside inspirational workshops in planting techniques provided the best of time for all the family and became a “wow” garden party to remember.

 

Dragon Machine Jelly Rollers in Trafalgar Square.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom.

 

The Mayor of London joined efforts with innovative landscape designer Sarah Eberle to bring to life the urban oasis that saw the square-a-bloom for one day.  The award-winning horticulturalist took modern garden design to the level of fine art.

 

Celebrations made it clear that keeping in touch with nature is something that people really like.  20 000 – 25 000 people visited St George’s Day Festival 2012 in Trafalgar Square, according to the Greater London Authority.

 

My St George’s Day Festival entry in the Diamond Jubilee Time Capsule.

 

My photos of St George’s Day Festival 2012 on Demotix.

 

Text and Camera by Eugenie Absalom

 

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HRH Princess Michael of Kent at 150th SWA Exhibition

HRH Princess Michael of Kent by Tom Chilton portrait at 150 SWA exhibition. Photo © Eugenie Absalom.

 

Official opening of the 150th SWA Celebratory Exhibition and presentation of Awards by HRH Princess Michael of Kent, the Society of Women Artists Patron, at the Mall Galleries in London.  29th June 2011.

The SWA exhibition featured over 500 works in a variety of media – paintings, sculpture along with original prints, etchings and ceramics by professional women artists.  A retrospective show in the East Gallery celebrated the work of prominent women artists who played an important role in the development and life of the society, including Dame Laura Knight.

 

HRH Princess Michael of Kent at the 150th SWA Exhibition video.

 

“We have come a long way since the mid 1800s when it was viewed as quite outrageous for ladies to publicly show their art work! Our metamorphosis is now complete and this year we celebrate at the splendidly refurbished Mall Galleries,” said Barbara Penketh Simpson, the former President of the Society of Women Artists. “The Society, with its unique history, is constantly developing as a diverse, vital, and forward looking organization seeking to promote talented women artists.”

 

 

Artist Arina Gordienko (ARINA) by her Self-Portrait at the SWA exhibition. Photo © Eugenie Absalom.

 

 

I learnt about the exhibition from one of participating artists, Arina Gordienko (ARINA), who’s striking “Self Portraits in Colours” could hardly be missed by visitors.  ARINA shared her experience: “I am really honoured to be a part of the Society of Women Artists exhibition. I became a full member of the society in 2010. This is the 4th time my paintings have been displayed at the Annual exhibition of the Society of Women Artists at the Mall Galleries. And I am always thrilled and I really enjoy the creative atmosphere of the event. This year’s 150th Anniversary of the Society of Women Artists was opened by HRH Princess Michael of Kent and it was particularly magnificent with a fabulous variety of genuinely talented works by women artists from all over the world.”

 

HRH Princess Michael of Kent at 150th SWA Exhibition at the Mall Galleries –

– my entry to the Diamond Jubilee Time Capsule of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

View my photographs of HRH Princess Michael of Kent at the 150th SWA Exhibition on Demotix

 

 

Text and Camera by Eugenie Absalom
Photo and Video Copyright © Eugenie Absalom

 

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Sir Richard Branson at Business 2012 – London

Sir Richard Branson and Mike Southon at Business 2012.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom.

 

 

“The best business ideas come from people feeling passionate about something.”        Richard Branson

 

From Virgin Records to Virgin Galactic Sir Richard Branson career spans almost half a century, marked with outstanding projects and Virgin label global business success.

 

This year, for the first time in my life, I had a rare opportunity to see Richard Branson live on stage at Business 2012 show at The O2 London (former Millennium Dome).  The iconic English entrepreneur, best known for his Virgin empire of nearly 400 companies, including Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Unite and Virgin Media, shared his insights with the next generation of business owners at The IndigO2 in informal, witty and inspiring manner.  Sir Richard came across very much like a people’s billionaire.

I found it rather touching when Sir Richard invited on stage and warmly greeted the young Indian entrepreneur Vishal Misal, who’s company Blak Pearl organised the event.  At the age of 24 Vishal Misal achieved something that is almost unthinkable – he booked Richard Branson himself to speak at his free show.  What an inspiration to all the new and not so new businesses!

I organise events myself and I couldn’t have known better how difficult it is to get celebrities to your events.   He made dreams come true for lots of people in the audience on that day.

 

Sir Richard Branson on Virgin Records at Business 2012, The O2 London.

 

The words of wisdom, coming from one of the 100 Greatest Britons and “one of the top 100 most influential people in the world” (Time Magazine, 2007) were:  “Just get out there, get a great team of people around you, go and shake whatever industry you are planning to get yourselves into!  Have enormous fun doing it.  Don’t take yourself too seriously too.  Make sure you always offer great value for money and a great quality to public.”

I would like to share with you one of Richard Branson’s most amazing projects – Virgin Galactic, the project that means a new victory of human spirit.  “We are not that far away from making space travel a reality,” said Sir Richard at Business 2012.

The extraordinary idea behind the project was that anyone could become an astronaut, buy space tickets and have a journey of a lifetime.  Virgin Galactic was launched in the 1990s and marked the beginning of a new era in space travel.  At the moment Virgin Galactic is on track to become the world’s first commercial space line and a major milestone in the history of humanity.

“I started it because I was waiting for NASA to say “we are now going to allow ordinary people to be able to go to space,” said Branson.  “And by 1990 I just thought that if I carried on waiting I would never have the chance.  So I registered the name Virgin Galactic Airways and I headed off round the world to look for scientists or technicians who were able to build the spaceship, preferably a spaceship that went up and came back again,” he joked.

 

Sir Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic at Business 2012, The O2 London.

 

Following successful tests of SpaceShipOne, the building of SpaceShipTwo is nearly completed at Space Port in New Mexico.  According to Virgin Galactic website, “the most radical feature employed by SpaceshipOne and now SpaceShipTwo is the unique way it returns into the dense atmosphere from the vacuum of space.  Burt Rutan designed the unique feathering system which does away with the need for sophisticated computer driven flight control systems or the need to rely on the pilots.”

The two and a half hour flights will offer about five minutes of weightlessness.

“In the history of space travel since it began there have been less than 500 people, who have been to space,” stated the founder of Virgin Galactic. “In our first year we will send more people into space, than have been sent in the history of manned space travel.  It is going to be tremendously exciting,” he added.

Virgin Galactic has managed to reduce significantly the price of getting into space.  “We have 500 people signed up, $200 000 each.  And I think over time we will get this price down,” said Branson.

Sir Richard was answering questions with a great deal of humour and demonstrated a serious talent for entertainment.  When asked about the origin of Virgin (the true story behind the company name), he answered:  “The story was that we were sitting in a basement, a bunch of 15 and 16 year olds, mainly women, sitting around.  We were trying to come up with a name for a record company… Somebody jokingly said:  “We are all virgins, let’s call it Virgin.”  There was a lot of laughter.  And we ended up calling it Virgin.  And it works because, you know, we were virgin at almost every business that we started.  It took us 3 years to get the Registry Office to accept the registration of it.  They claimed it was rude.  We said to them that it was opposite of rude and at the end we managed to get a little bit from the English dictionary which said “Virgin equals pure.”  And they finally accepted the registration.  The Catholic church were the only people who carried on objecting.”

 

Business 2012 show at The O2 London, 18 – 20 March.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom.

 

Sir Richard recalled their first concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall and the release of Tubular Bells album with musician multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, who was the actual reason for setting up the Virgin Records company.

“The best business ideas come from people feeling passionate about something,” said Richard Branson.  His entire business career, from Student magazine to Virgin Galactic, proves the point.

Richard Branson’s releases include: “Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way”; “Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen, and Blasting into Space” and “Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life and Business.”

Richard Branson was knighted by HRH The Prince of Wales in March 2000 for his contribution to entrepreneurship.  He topped a list of 2,000 people that included Julie Andrews, Elizabeth Taylor, Norman Wisdom and the first ever James Bond Sean Connery.

 

Sir Richard Branson Live at Business 2012 in the Diamond Jubilee Time Capsule.

 

View my photos of Sir Richard Branson at Business 2012 on Demotix.

 

Business 2012 show took place at The O2 London on 18 – 20 March 2012.

 

Text and Camera by Eugenie Absalom

Copyright © Eugenie Absalom

 

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Concert in the Rain – 9/11 Memorial Concert in London

9/11 Memorial Concert in Grosvenor Square, 11 September 2011.  Photo © Eugenie Absalom

 

A Concert of Reflection took place outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square as part of commemorative events in the UK to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.  11th September 2011.

The concert went on in the soaking rain on Sunday evening. Amazingly, rainbow could be seen through the rain over Grosvenor Square.

Sir Christopher Meyer, Ambassador to the United States at the time of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, paid his respects to the families of 67 British people, killed in the massacre and of all of the victims of terror.

 

Da Pacem Domine (Give Peace, Oh Lord) by Arvo Pärt, performed by the Byron Consort

 

The British Memorial Garden Trust UK Ltd in association with The September Concert Foundation and September 11th United Kingdom Families Support Group presented the concert that featured the Welsh Guards and the Harrow School Byron Consort Choir among its performers.

I was totally enchanted by the heavenly piece Da Pacem Domine (Give Peace, Oh Lord) by contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, gracefully performed by The Byron Consort choristers.  Cheerful Welsh Guards band brought the concert in the rain to an optimistic finale.

 

View my 9/11 Memorial Concert in Grosvenor Square entry

in the Diamond Jubilee Time Capsule of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

 

My photos of the 9/11 Memorial Concert on Demotix.

 

Photo and Video Camera: Eugenie Absalom
Copyright © Eugenie Absalom

 

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