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Juno Gemes

The bar is set high

It was a great pleasure to read this year’s Calibre winning and commended essays in ABR. The essays written by Jane Goodall, Kevin Brophy and Rosa-leen Love continue the impressive tradition inaugurated by Elisabeth Holdsworth with her memorable work that won the first Calibre Prize. The bar is set high.

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Synchronicity can bring forward strange events in the life of an artist. In 1965, arriving in Perugia in northern Italy, I felt a profound sense of familiarity and connectedness, which has no rational explanation. I had come to study Italian language at the university. I was a young woman of twenty-three, returning to Europe for the first time since I had left Hungary with my family at the age of five.

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Why are we still hooked on the 1960s? As English art historian David Mellor said they were the Utopian Years. Perhaps our dreams and aspirations were anchored there. It is a rather difficult period to review with historical accuracy precisely because it was so rich in ideas and ideals; there was so much happening.

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