photo from: birmingham.livingmag.co.uk
Watching Channel 4 News last week, I was surprised to see features on not one but two people that have encouraged me to have faith in the greatness of human nature and the transformative power of creativity.
The first feature was about Willard Wigan. The sculptor of such tiny creations, they cannot be seen by the human eye. Willard suffered at school, surrounded by teachers and peers that attempted to crush his spirit. They told him he was nothing. So he retreated into himself and worked on creations that no-one else could see. His mother encouraged him by saying that his small sculptures had a big impact. His began his career at the age of 5 as an architect for ants and went on to show that where some people see nothing, others create a whole world.
photo from: funk.net
Wigan has been honing his skills ever since. He has continuously pushed the boundaries of the possible when it comes to the extraordinary levels of detail he achieves on a sculpture that would fit in a full stop. He uses shards of glass or diamond to carve stories in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin. An eyelash functions as a paintbrush, a grain of sugar becomes an iceberg for a polar bear to stand on and a spiderweb becomes the rigging of a ship.
Willard Wigan was told he was nothing and went on to receive an MBE in 2007 for his services to art.
photo from: washingtonpost.com
Find out more about Willard Wigan here:
See his work with your own eyes (and a microscope) at:
Lighthouse, Wolverhampton until 2nd May
Watch Willard Wigan’s Ted talk here:
photo from: bristol247.com
The second feature was the sad news about the death of Dj Derek. Derek Serpell-Morris was a Bristolian ex-accountant turned reggae dj, who spun discs and mc-ed with impressive Jamaican patois well into his 70s. He brought immeasurable amounts of joy to his many friends. As well as the thousands of people with which he shared his love (not to mention encyclopaedic knowledge) of music. I spent one of my most fondly remembered birthdays dancing the entire night away to the relentlessly enjoyable tunes of DJ Derek in Cowley Road in Oxford.
The more I find out about Derek the more I like him. According to bristol24/7.com, he combined his appreciation of real ale with a love of buses and visited every single Wetherspoons pub in the country. He also travelled every National Express route in the UK.
DJ Derek was accepted appreciated by young and old alike. He made us all widen our narrow parameters of who should and could do what. The impact he had on our lives will always be cherished and never be forgotten.
Read a lovingly reflective obituary here :
See Derek in action in this documentary in two parts at: