Monday, May 7, 2012

Annie Tempest

Annie Tempest is a British cartoonist by trade, the author of  Tottering-by-Gently, a strip that runs in the UK magazine Country Life.  Most recently, however, she's moved into sculpting and had an exhibition in London this past month called "Play as Cast"

Her sculpting, like so many other artists, became a way to deal with the grief of the death of her son.  Freddy Tempest McConnel died last May, at the age of 18, of a heroin overdose. Annie said in an interview with Louette Harding of The Daily Mail,  "That's how I've been dealing with it. I haven't seen therapists; it's sculpting that has kept me going. Because it wasn't just on 28 May and afterwards; before that, we'd been through the highs and lows of recovery and relapse...It's been hope, crash, hope, crash - heights as well as depths... my sculpture has helped me through."

How many of our patients and families use those same terms dealing with terminal illness? "Hope, crash, hope, crash..." they talk about the roller coaster they're on, even in the last days.

 One piece that is not on display is something she did right before he died and about which she had her last conversation with her son.  She says of the piece, "A week before Freddy's death, I knew in my heart he was gone.." She describes it as, "Two figures, fighting to hold on and to let go. It's a goodbye...It looks like a fight, but it's also a hug...It's two adults hugging and pushing. I was a primal scream." She actually sent her son a picture of the piece and his emailed reply to that was her last communication with him, he wrote "Mum, I absolutely understand and love your sculpture, I'm sorry. I so want to beat this. Love, Fred."
Solace and Seclusion

Although I haven't seen the piece, I think this too would be something our patient's families would resonate with.  There is a pushing and pulling when a loved one dies; we want them to stay but don't want them to suffer - what a great visual of a hug/push.

Each of the pieces communicates so well with the use of three dimensional space. I encourage you to see all of the images from the gallery at this link.

As an aside. Freddy was an aspiring musician, and tragically one of the songs he wrote, "Will You Remember Me" is about an early death. You can listen to this and other songs at

To read more from the interview with Louette Harding go here

0 Responses to “Annie Tempest”