CONTRAST


Celebrating the hope, the joy that people were determined to bring by the rebuilding of the village of Lidice - both physically and as a symbol for all those communities destroyed in wartime atrocities - here is Mark Dally's ceramic piece that he is probably, even as I type, packing carefully for its journey on the back of his bicycle from Burslem to Lidice.

Abstract flowers blooming? Buds opening to welcome the light of peace? Could be. "Lidicd Lives" in a celebration of gold and titanium. Even so it is a solid little thing, reminiscent of a cuddly teddy-bear with arms outstretched to welcome, or offer, an affectionate embrace. Or raising its arms in triumph and shouting news that good can conquer bad? Mind you, the slight incline - it is not symmetrical - forward, when viewed from behind, resembled, a little, a boxer braced to give as good as is received or more; "Yes, I'm gentle and amiable and welcoming - but don't push your luck, because I can stick up for myself and I know I'll have friends who will stick by me."

Mark promised a contrast to Harry Davies' sombre and provoking painting, "Waiting for the Magirus." And he has created one. Mind you, it is not without its provocative message. Just as the people of many countries took up the banner raised by Barnett Stross and the communities of North Staffordshire, the vigorous, sturdy piece of ceramic art reminds us that for good to triumph over evil is not a matter of luck. Kindness and hope and love need to be backed by grit, determination and commitment. Lidicd lived because "ordinary, kind people" said it would, rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in to make it happen. They could have ignored Lidice, but they decided - even when fighting a war - that they'd do what they knew to be right.

Let's celebrate that!

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