In one 24 hour period, on Monday, we had two women, one the youngest so far at 16 years old and the other the oldest at 84 years old. The contrast between their different hours on the plinth was stark. One dancing around, constantly moving, in the early morning light whilst the other sat in her wheelchair with her semaphore flags, in the pouring rain, in the dark.
Given this project is about creating a portrait of Britain, I spend time whilst watching trying to work out who these many people are. Of course, I realize they are too rich and complex to give up themselves to understanding in a mere hour but I think to myself, the young woman, who will she become through the years, the older woman, what has she experienced, enjoyed, regretted, if anything.
This cannot be appreciated from one hour’s observation but what cannot be ignored is the energy and exuberance of the younger woman or the courage and experience of the older woman. For me, as someone in the middle of these two, neither young nor old, I would like to take the best qualities from each and as Tenacious said from her wheelchair ‘…this may not be the life you want but it’s the one you’ve got so stick a Geranium in your hat and be happy…’ which is good advice to us all.