LAURA CARTLEDGE: There is a fine art to meeting your heroes
They say ‘never meet your heroes’ and, while I have no idea who ‘they’ are, I always like to try to prove them wrong.
Of course you could risk having your illusions of someone shattered, but in return you could have them confirmed.
Plus, if you are anything like me – that is occasionally starry-eyed and soppy, over a select few – just sharing the same space is something special.
I say all this, I know all this, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t take a lot of talking to this week.
“If Johnny Depp was just down the street, do you think I would hide in my office?” reasoned my sister.
“What if I embarrass myself?” I queried.
“It doesn’t matter if you do, it is not like you have to go home and meet his parents afterwards,” she counteracted.
And I couldn’t really argue with that. She’s getting wise in her mid-20s.
But while it gave me the nudge to get out there, it didn’t stop my insides doing sommersaults.
You see I’ve followed Yinka Shonibare’s work for as long as I can remember. If it wasn’t carefully guised as art project research, I might just have wandered into restraining order territory.
In my defence, I feel a strong connection to his pieces which focus on a culture clash of vibrant African fabrics and British history. Once you’ve seen a Victorian dress in bright batics, your view shifts a little. Not only are they cool, and striking, and simple, and strong.
But I also feel like it links with my family. You see my tree is rooted in the midlands, or the ‘north’ for my friends who have always called this coast home.Both sides hail from near Nottingham, but my mum was born in Nairobi and lived there for a while as her dad taught there.
It’s a bit of a quirk and one I feel a strong connection to, I think the continent felt like home before I’d even had my first visit.
Anyway, that was quite a long wander around my point, but a necessary one.
You see I’ve never opted for conventional heroes.
So much so even I struggle to pin my criteria down.
For a while it seemed focused on people I thought would make interesting – in a good way – dinner guests.
And then there were the people shaking things up – I had a poster of Barack Obama on my university room wall.
And I suppose, thinking about it, Yinka ticks both of those.
He was hosting a Museum at Night project which saw the Novium, Chichester, turn into a 24-hour Inventive Factory.
I went, I promise, to just see him – hear him talk about the ways the artefacts would be brought to life. Then I accidently ended up interviewing him with a colleague and getting this rather cheesy picture. But I didn’t gush, too much, and even if I did – surely it is nice for people to know they are heroes?