The show is set and now the flag is up! Fluttering proudly in the autumn sunshine at Fillingdon Farm is the brightly coloured flag of the country of my birth, Zimbabwe. But it is not up for me. It represents the numerous talented artists we have from that small country on this exhibition; painters Mary-Jane Alexander, Elva Palombo & Arthur Azevedo; bronze sculptress Sue Maclaurin; stone sculptors Ishmael Chitiyo, Edward Chiwawa, Munyaradzi Jeche, Royal Katiyo, Arthur Fata, Washington Matafi, Godfrey Matangira, Jonathan Mhondorohuma, Itayi Mupumha, Richard Mupumha Jnr, Norbert Shamuyarira, Tanyanyiwa Nyandoro, Tago Tazvitya & Jetro Zinyeka; and silver jeweller Sue Chadwick. All these artists have new collections of work on this show, supported by further paintings, jewellery and ceramics from other parts of Africa.
A flag stirs emotion in people. On the date of the recent Scottish referendum a tractor driver on the estate phoned to warn me he would be spraying that day. “Why are you flying the Scottish saltire” he asked in bafflement, “I thought your husband was Irish?” “He is” I replied, “and it is to show solidarity with the Scots on English soil and encourage them to vote No.” Whether he believed me or not I don’t know, but he seemed palacated!
Flying a flag is not as simple as it seems. We had to seek permission from the Wycombe District Council, as we are lucky enough to live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Graham Bartram, the Chief Vexillologist of The Flag Institute was consulted and provided the necessary protocol, including etiquette as to where ‘half mast’ actually is; advice on halyard colours; and the most suitable location for the pole. My thanks to Simon for going through the correct channels to ensure our flag flutters legally. And to my generous Dad for donating to us, not only his very impressive flag pole, but also his extensive collection of flags. So look out for the South African flag next, unless of course Ireland are playing rugby! And finally of course, if in doubt, we can always run up everyone’s favourite – the Jolly Roger!