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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  August 30, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm BST

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this is the destructive power of ida. oh, my gosh! easily lifting the roof clear off this hospital in cut—off louisiana. these coastal areas have been the hardest hit so far. besides ferocious winds, there have been tidal surges as high as 16 feet, and flash flooding. this fire station in delacroix, louisiana, posted footage before and after the storm, as water rushed in. officials warned some of the most affected parts may be uninhabitable for weeks. in comparison, much of new orleans is protected by the levees and flood walls of a newly built hurricane defence system. that is being put to the test now. in the iconic french quarter, debris such as this roof and fallen tree branches litter the streets. and at nightfall, power went out across the entire city. just as new orleans was plunged
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into darkness, hurricane ida was downgraded to a category three hurricane, tracking north—west of new orleans with winds at iismph. in washington, president biden received a briefing on ida at the federal emergency management agency, or fema. he made an appeal to people in the region. i want to emphasise again this is going to be a devastating, a devastating hurricane, a life—threatening storm. so please, all you folks in mississippi and louisiana, and god knows, maybe even further east, take precautions. listen, take it seriously. really, very seriously. fema is sending 2,000 emergency workers to assist local authorities. for now, though, residents are on their own for the duration of the storm. nada tawfik, bbc news, new orleans. now it's time for a look
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at the weather with darren. hello there. i do isjust about hello there. i do is just about to be downgraded depression. the winds and certainly drop at the rate is going to keep going for the next couple days. that's good to bring most of the hazards with flooding. here at home it's very quiet weather. it's all about cloud whether you get it or not. there's a blanket of cloud covering much of england and wales overnight tonight. clearskies covering much of england and wales overnight tonight. clear skies for scotland, perhaps northern ireland temperatures could be down to seven or 8 degrees, under the cloud ii to 14. this could be drizzle around in parts of england as we head into tomorrow morning. a lot of class for england and wales once again tomorrow. maybe brightening up with a little sunshine to southeastern parts of england. we could see some sunshine across from central and western parts of scotland. perhaps northern island too. with the wind coming in off the north sea these eastern coast will be chilly again, like today. 16 or 17 at best with some sunshine we could reach 20 degrees. heading into wednesday a
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similar story for many areas. maybe a bit more sunshine coming out in scotland and northern ireland perhaps into cumbria. other parts of england or wales again it looks pretty cloudy, typical temperatures hello, this is bbc news with martine croxall. the headlines... —— it's now time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk with me, stephen sackur. today, i'm in the rural east of england in the studio of one of the country's leading painters and sculptors, maggi hambling. her work has defied convention. she has won international acclaim and stirred plenty of controversy, too. so, how has her creativity evolved over six decades?
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maggi hambling, welcome to hardtalk. hello. let me ask you about this location. many people around the world will associate you with soho, central london, a bohemian art scene in the city. but in recent years, you've been doing your work in the middle of the suffolk countryside. has it changed the way you work and what you do? not at all. not at all? not at all. even though the atmosphere around you is so very different? not at all. i still get up at five in the summer and six in the winter and come into the studio and make a drawing and get going. if i stayed in bed, i'd just worry about everything, so it's far better to be up and at it.
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and yet, i suppose what's missing here is the community and the people and the buzz, but that... you don't miss it? we've got the buzz of the bees and the birds. i mean, people buzz about. i mean, not during the morning. they're not allowed to come. tell me about this, because you sound, even now, you sound very disciplined about your work. i mean, the early start, five, 6am, the determination to work every day. is discipline and work ethic really sort of central to you? yes, i'm very boring. i'm a total workaholic. i never go on holiday and i go a bit pottier than ever if i don't, for some reason, do it for a day and a half. really? yeah. is it true, as i've read, that the first thing you do every morning is draw left—handed, even though you're right—handed? yeah. yeah, i do, i do. i use the dipper in a pot of ink and i use my left hand
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and, you know, other things can happen with the left hand. this hand, after all these years, since the age of 1a, is full of tricks. but this hand, something else can happen. something i don't know about. is that... ? i mean, for a person who isn't an artist, that sounds almost incomprehensible. but you mean when you, literally, you start to draw with your left hand, you're not quite sure where it's going and what's happening? exactly so. let's talk about your work and i want to begin with your most recent work, because you have continued painting right through lockdown. you even had a show in lockdown and you're still at it every day. has what's happened to the world in the last year and a half, has that affected the subject matter? well, at the beginning of lockdown, i made a self—portrait, angry, because a lot of plans
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were up in the air. you know, i was going to show in new york and one thing and another. i mean, like a lot of people, i felt very angry at everything suddenly stopping. and then, of course, it was marvellous. there were no aeroplanes, there wasn't much traffic and you could hear the birds and it was very good not having to see people one didn't want to see, you know? so, less anger now? mm... well, i think anger is quite a good thing. anger is energy, anger about things that happen in the world. that's all part of it. well, i do want to talk about the way the world is going, and your view of it, because i was very struckjust looking at your recent work, you've done these portraits of animals. and if one's honest, you look at the elephant and the bear, i think there is, and a baboon and they all look pretty miserable. and i'm just wondering
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whether that's in some way a reflection of your view of where, you know, our planet is going, where the environmental challenges we face are going. do you feel somewhat despairing of the state our planet's in? i'm pretty much in anger and despair, yes. er, i mean, the sequence of events was, following the many waves of the north sea that i've painted, then came the walls of water in response to this huge storm that happened at southwold further up the coast and, you know, the terrifying... they were beautiful and terrifying at the same time. and that was nature sort of answering us back because the little man—made sea wall seemed to be made of the finest bone china, about to be smashed to bits and then the walls of water led on to the edge paintings,
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which are the ice caps melting and then the ice caps melting, which are still going on, led to the animals, and what we're doing to animals. are these two works behind you, are they part of that sequence? yes, yes. i don't know if they're finished yet, but they're part of the ice cap melting. yeah, yeah. we are destroying everything, aren't we? do you really... ? do you feel it that bad? yes, i feel it. i feel it in my bones. and so, when you called part of the series the edge, you feel that we are how close to that edge? well, maybe not in my lifetime, but, i mean, are your grandchildren�*s grandchildren ever going to see a tiger? i mean, and the rest of it. er, we are doing our best to make a hash of everything, it seems. let me take you back
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a little bit. you grew up in suffolk, so in a sense, you've come home. yeah. you're weren't. .. i was going to say you weren't from an artistic family, but it turns out you were, but your father actually proved to be a very talented painter. but when you were a girl and when you were first introduced to painting, you had no idea your dad was actually quite gifted. no. well, it all started at school when i was 1a and there was an art exam and i did nothing but flick painted people and generally draw attention to myself because i was deeply in love with the biology mistress who was invigilating in the exam. and then... and i saw, then i saw the clock and it was 20 past three and i knew that at half past three i'd got to hand in a painting so i did one. and when the results came out two or three weeks later, i was top of art and i thought, "this is worth looking into. "i don't have to try at it. i'm good at it." so, it started then and then i went
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on, took my first oil paintings under my arm to show cedric morris and lett—haines, this extraordinary... known in hadleigh as the artist's house, which is on the edge of hadleigh. so, we're still in suffolk at this point? yeah. but these two, cedric and lett, particularly i think lett, became real mentors to you. absolutely. he said the most important thing that anyone�*s ever said to me, which is that you must make your work your best friend. in other words, you can go to it whatever you're feeling. you're feeling tired, you're feeling bored, you're feeling happy, you're feeling randy, whatever you're feeling, go to your work and have a conversation with it, and that is... that's a sort of mantra that stuck with you for your entire career. yeah. so, let me... i don't want to sound like a sort of cod psychologist, but let me propose to you a thought, which is that you've been frank about your family life being somewhat unusual and somewhat difficult in that by the time you came along, your father was actually
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bisexual and really was more interested in homosexual relationships than he was in a relationship with his wife. true enough. yeah. and you've always said that painting for you was about truth and it was about honesty. so, i'm wondering whether actually turning to painting and giving yourself to painting was your way of getting to a truth that wasn't really there in your family life? that's absolutely right. yes. my bedroom became my studio and i tried to get at the truth because the rest of life was more like a sort of charade, really. and the undercurrents that were going on, never spoken about. and then... yeah. so, i'mjust... i'm very aware that looking at us across this amazing studio space is a painting you did of yourfather. and now, at the other end of your career, as you look back, i wonder what...
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i'm not at the end of my career! do you mind? i'm very young. no, you're very young, and you're still extremely active and you're still very busy, but, i mean, you're an experienced painter now with insight into yourself and there's your father. and i'm just wondering whether, in retrospect, as you discovered that he actually had a real painting talent, you came to know him through art in a way that you hadn't...? yes, yes, you're absolutely right. i mean, he was always behind the daily telegraph and a very distant person throughout my childhood. and my mother was mother and father to me. and then, when i left camberwell... the art school. yeah, i had a lot of oil paint and i gave him some paints and said, "why don't you have a go?" and cos he retired from the bank at 60 in those days. and so, suddenly, one morning when he was 65, nothing to do with me, he took the paints out and started to paint. and that's what brought us together. i was by now in my 20s
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and that brought us together and we loved each other very much. let me ask you about portrait painting, because you have portraits that are famous around the world of very celebrated people, artists, even sports people like andy murray, michael jackson, you painted. is there something about every portrait you do that is sort of common to them all, the way that you're looking at that person? well, i mean, it's the same for anything i'm trying to paint. i try to empty myself so that the truth can come through me into the drawing or into the painting, and it's the truth of the person in front of me, the spirit. i don't have to bother about likeness. likeness just happens. but i try to paint the spirit of the person and so the spirit of the person can come... if i were painting you, for instance, come through the floor and into me
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and into the canvas. do you have to like them to want to paint them? well, i did turn down painting mrs thatcher, for instance. what, because just felt you couldn't go there, you couldn't get deep into her or...? well, a work of art has to be a work of love and love is not something i felt for mrs thatcher. so, i said no. interesting. so, in a sense, if we look at your portraiture and there are so many, it is a connection that you've had with all those people. yeah, there has to be a kind of rapport. you're also very well known for, and this is perhaps difficult to get into, but you're very well known for painting death. and indeed, ithink i'm right in saying you painted your mother right after she died. you've painted others
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in death, too. yes. george melly always said i'd go down in art history as maggi "coffin" hambling. but it's quite obvious. i mean, i don't know why people are surprised, because when somebody is lying in the coffin, like my mother or my father, it's the last time you're going to see them before they go down there. so, it's quite obvious to make a drawing. but it's not necessarily a time or a moment where... ..where you feel like working, cos it is sort of work as well as an act of love. but it's the last time you see the person and this whole thing about death, i mean, if you love someone, they... for anyone, they go on being alive inside you, don't they? tell me about the shift from being a pure painter to then embracing sculpture as well. why did you move in that direction?
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well, i was painting a painting which... it was during the laugh paintings, which i painted in the �*90s when everything was doom and gloom and thatcher, and i started to try and paint the laugh cos it was the only thing to do. and the paintings were becoming more and more like an object in space, do you know? the image of an object in space. and so i, being rather slow coming from suffolk, i finally realised i should be making the things rather than painting them. and quite often i could be working on a painting for quite a while and realise it was a sculpture or work on a sculpture for a while and realise it was actually a painting. i mean, these things are very...funny. and you took on a very public commissions, sort of monument/statue commissions.
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and i'm thinking in central london, you did an intriguing sort of public sculpture celebrating oscar wilde, you took on a commission to celebrate benjamin britten. that wasn't a commission. which one? the oscar wilde was commissioned, yes, but the... ..but scallop on aldeburgh beach... and just for people who don't know, that's this extraordinary... i think it's four tonnes of steel, a sort of elaborate scallop shell shape, which is right on the shingle beach at aldeburgh. yes. it's a shattered scallop, you know, because i think benjamin britten took classical music and wrung it by the neck and reinvented it and so it's the shattering scallop shell. but a friend of mine had come to tea and said, "oh, "i thought i was going to be a statue of benjamin britten
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"in aldeburgh, maggi, and i thought you were going to do it." and i said, "vanessa, you're pottier than ever," because i remembered about five years earlier there'd been a lot in the newspapers about aldeburgh not wanting a statue of benjamin britten, aldeburgh not entirely approving of benjamin britten and it made me very angry. so, i started to make the maquette and, you know, the whole floor was covered in bits of scallop shell and all the rest of it. and then various people came to see it, including simon loftus, who was the chairman of adnams brewery at the time, and he liked it very much and said, "well, we'll have to get some money "together to make it. " and so we worked together and i'd begun to make sea paintings and there was a show of sea paintings at snape maltings and 200 quid went every time one sold towards the sculpture. and so, people gave money. and so, it wasn't...
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so, you raised the money yourself? yeah, yeah. but i suppose what i was getting to is that that exposed you to a new level of sort of public scrutiny, because these are extremely well—known pieces that you're putting in very public places and that just sit there forever and people take a very strong view, both for and against. and for an artist, i wonder what it's like when, for example, the good old scallop shell has a petition against it in the community of aldeburgh and hundreds of people are saying, "get rid of it." i mean, as an artist, what does that feel like? well... you know, you make a thing on your own in the studio and it goes out into the world and then it's up to the world how the world responds, you know? but does it make you angry when these folks... ? well, i was rather... i thought that scallop was one of the more beautiful things i'd managed to make and so the first time there was graffiti on it — "tin can." "happy christmas, tin can."
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"move it." or... and then "happy easter"... anyway, boring, boring stuff they put. i think 13 times it got graffitied. 13 times, yes. i thought... i thought, well, you know, i thought if i'd wanted graffiti on it, i would have put it on in the first place. no, i was a bit hurt at first. and then ijust got to dennis pegg, who... pegg's of aldeburgh who made the sculpture, he went and cleaned it off. it wasn't a... you know. but i mean, if something is control... i don't set out to be controversial. i try to make something pure, actually, but it shows it's got a bit of life to it if people respond in this way. which brings me to the latest very public work. uh-huh. i thought you might get round to that. now... it is, again, fascinating to see the reaction. so you did this... i don't know if we call it a statue or a monument, a celebration of the life of mary wollstonecraft, one of the earliest sort of feminist writers,
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women's rights sort of writers. and it's in north london. and a lot of women don't like it. and i focus on the women who don't like it because they're saying, "why have you put this statue together with a sort of "everywoman figure at the top of it who is naked?" and they don't understand that. and i'm just wondering what your response has been. well, i was rather surprised at the response of the feminists. i mean, don't they have bodies? i mean, one asks oneself, don't they have bodies? i mean, the idea is that that writhing, writhing form out of which rises this really tiny figure of a woman challenging the world, i mean, that was very annoying in the newspapers. they only ever reproduce the figure of the woman, which is very irritating,
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but there we are. i suppose one reaction of one woman writer was just think about, for example, a celebratory statue of winston churchill, which, you know, portrayed him as some sort of sexy, naked young man. can you even imagine it? the point is that sculpture is for mary wollstonecraft, not of mary wollstonecraft, ok? it's for her spirit. you know, the ongoing battle that women have in... everywhere. and it's for mary, it's the spirit of mary wollstonecraft. and i'm not interested in making, you know, a historical statue of mary wollstonecraft in some old frock, holding a book or something like that. i mean, what's the point? i mean, people would just think, "oh, well,
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"that's another historical statue," you know? i mean, i want to speak to people now. that's very interesting. you're so keen to be in the now because the now in the art world is full of discussion about whether there is, in essence, an attempt to sort of make art adhere to a view of the world, which is progressive, liberal, you know, there's this word which so many use now "woke" and i'm wondering whether as an artist, you feel there are constraints, unspoken constraints on what you're expected to be. i can't be doing with constraints. i mean, life dictates what i... know, what i paint. you know, if you ask me what i'll be painting in six months, i couldn't answer you because i don't know what might happen. somebody might die or... like that painting of mine, gulf women prepare for war
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done in the �*80s. i mean, it was actually four years before the gulf war happened. but, i mean, i saw this shocking image in the newspaper. it was a black and white image of these women, which seemed to be in, to my view then in the �*80s, biblical costume. i mean, you see a lot of people around now like that, but then you didn't. and the shock of this image of these women dressed... ..dressed in biblical costume, practising with rocket launchers in the middle of the desert was a very shocking image and so it demanded i made a painting of it. i mean, you know, things happen and i respond to them. so, i suppose my question is, do you think we are culturally more timid today? i think so, yes. and all this political correctness and the rest of it. yes.
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you feel that? yes, of course i do. i mean, would they get the money to make the producers now, one of the great films, would the money come forth to make that film now? i very much doubt it. interesting. but as an artist, i'm getting a very clear message that whatever the cultural mores are, you're not interested in adhering to any of them. you're just going to do the work you want to do. it's whatever hits me in here and makes me do something about it. so, i don't actually think about cultural mores and stuff. what next for you, then? what do you mean what next? well, you talked at the beginning about the focus you've had on water and the sea and your feelings about where the planet is going. will that be a recurring theme or...? ijust said, ask me in six months. i don't know. it's very bad luck to talk about what you're doing at the moment, and i can't
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possibly foretell the future. so, we'll have to wait. you'll have to wait. maggi hambling, it's been a real pleasure talking to you. thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you. hello. sunshine has been in supply today and it's been quite chilly for a late summer. we still got a lot of cloud through this evening and overnight. they will produce a little drizzle in some eastern parts of england. temperatures could dip
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away to seven or 8 degrees. but still be a bit damp at times across eastern parts of england. the clouds are thin and break to give sunshine, may have a bit more across the central and western parts of scotland. elsewhere, it does look pretty cloudy. with the wind coming in off the north sea, particularly chilly. those temperatures will be close to 20 degrees. heading into wasn't a, similar story for the southeast of england —— heading into wednesday. perhaps into cumbria. top temperature of near 21 celsius.
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the bbc assumed ten people from one family six children killed from a us drone attack in afghan capital kabul, the us as its taking reports of civilian deaths very seriously. explosions, why they killed our family, a children? seven children. we are investigating this. i'm not can you _ we are investigating this. i'm not can you get — we are investigating this. i'm not can you get ahead of it. but if we have verifiable information that we have verifiable information that we did _ we have verifiable information that we did in _ we have verifiable information that we did in fact taken some life here then we _ we did in fact taken some life here then we will be transparent about that toe — then we will be transparent about that too. 3515 then we will be transparent about that too. �* , ., ,., then we will be transparent about thattoo. a ., that too. as the taliban says it's a more moderate _ that too. as the taliban says it's a more moderate force _ that too. as the taliban says it's a more moderate force and - that too. as the taliban says it's a more moderate force and before i that too. as the taliban says it's a l more moderate force and before we investigate reports of revenge killings and ask if the reality on the ground is very different from
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what its leaders claim.


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