Month: March 2022

One Love – Experiencing Bob Marley

On Sunday 20th March, I visited the Bob Marley One Love Experience at the Saatchi Gallery in Sloane Square, London. The interactive exhibition was produced by Terrapin Station Entertainment and the Marley family and is running until 18th April 2022.

The experience can be enjoyed by all generations and we look forward to continuing to spread Daddy’s music and message to the globe

Cedella Marley, CEO of Bob Marley group of companies

As someone with a tattoo of one of Bob Marley’s quotes; “Live the life you love, love the life you live”, I was excited to learn more about this prolific figure through a unique immersive experience and unseen photography and memorabilia.

The man

Bob Marley aka Robert Nesta Marley was a Jamaican singer, musician and songwriter and considered one of the pioneers of the music genre, reggae.

He is best known for songs such as One Love, I Shot the Sheriff and No Woman, No Cry, with popularity amongst all ages, races and cultures.

In 1976, he survived an assassination attempt which lead him to move permanently to London where he recorded the album Exodus (1977).

At the young age of 36, Marley died after battling a type of melanoma. He was given a state funeral in Jamaica, with the Jamaican Prime Minister at the time describing him as having “… a voice [that] was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world.”

For his iconic work in the music industry, he achieved a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame.

The experience

The first thing I noticed was how beautiful the Saatchi Gallery grounds are! It looked very grand and I would love to visit again in the Summer and taking a stroll around the area.

When we entered the gallery, we were greeted by the iconic red, green and gold colours often associated with the reggae genre, Rastafarianism and the artist himself. I loved the quotes on the walls which displayed Bob Marley’s wisdom through his beautifully iconic lyrics from his songs, with one of my favourite’s being…

In the first room, we saw an assortment of vinyls of Marley’s music across the walls. I knew he was a prolific artist, but seeing his work in this way highlighted just how much he had achieved in his short life. As a plaque in this room stated, he was a singer, songwriter and musician, pioneer of Reggae, Ska and Rocksteady, global figure in popular culture and so, so much more!

One of the cabinets in the room contained an original sheet of paper on which Marley had written the lyrics of Turn Your Lights Down Low on. It was humbling to imagine him sitting and writing one of his most famous songs! The artefacts really made me think of the man behind the artist and how he would feel having such an exhibition about him.

Next, we moved into the One Love room. It’s green, smokey and full of plants – you can guess what the theme is! With bean bags on the floor and a swing to sit in, it was all about chilling out and ‘feeling alright’ – a great photo opportunity too!

As we continued through this section, we were given headphones and became fully immersed in the visuals projected on the wall. We imagined ourselves at a live concert with Bob Marley and The Wailers on a warm Jamaican night.

It was great to see footage of him performing live and even hear him speak – his singing voice is so iconic, but I’d never heard him talk before.

After this, we went into a room that displayed his love for football. I had no idea that he was such a football fan, so seeing his actual trainers and photos of him playing the game with his friends accompanied by his music playing from the jukebox at the back of the room, made this famous icon become a bit more ‘ordinary’.

My favourite area, was the One Love Tree. We were encouraged to write what ‘One Love’ meant to us on a piece of card and hang it from the tree. We wrote: One Love means… Love your fellow man and forget inferiority.

Overall, I loved the experience and definitely learnt more about this music legend. I don’t want to give too much away, so I definitely recommend visiting for yourself and celebrate Bob Marley in such an interesting way!

Break the Bias – International Women’s Day 2022

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme is #BreakTheBias.

On 8th March and beyond, this campaign aims to “Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.” I think these points are so important and pride myself in being a female in a male-dominated industry (graphic design), so I often share my journey and achievements on social media to hopefully inspire other women to join this industry.

FMM interview

This year, I was asked to speak to FMM Collective (a Croydon-based marketplace in which my greeting cards are stocked) about my experiences as a female business owner/entrepreneur. We discussed whether I have come across any bias or challenges because of my gender and/or ethnicity.

…as a female, I don’t think we are taken as seriously in entrepreneurial positions as men unfortunately. I’ve had the question “How’s your little business going?” or when I say I design greeting cards and gifts, I’ve had a response of “Awww Bless!” which both come across as really patronising.

Leanne Creative

I think it’s so important to make female professionals visible and love that days like IWD highlight the work we do in a patriarchal society. If young girls can see the success of women, it can inspire them to enter fields that they might have previously viewed as closed off for them. #representationmatters

My advice for other female entrepreneurs would be to, of course take inspiration from others, but focus on your own journey to avoid comparison. 

Leanne Creative

Happy World Book Day!

The 3rd of March is World Book Day and this year it’s celebrating its 25 year anniversary with the theme “You are a reader”. World Book Day is a day recognised in over 100 countries across the world and is a charity sponsored by National Book Tokens which aims to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own.

In 2021, 54 thousand books were donated to children by publishers, to support World Book Day with their mission.

worldbookday.com

This year, I was honoured to have been invited to St Luke’s Church of England Primary School in West Norwood to read and discuss the themes of my debut children’s book, My World – Mackilli and Seeva’s Switcheroo! I had the pleasure of sharing my book with Years 2, 3 and 4 and loved the feedback and ideas I received from the children (or ‘learners’ as they are known in this school).

Morning assembly at St Luke’s

The day started with a fantastic assembly where I was introduced to the whole school. It was great to see such diverse faces in both the teaching staff and the pupils as my book touches on themes of differences and people being unique and special in their own way.

Entertainer, MC Grammar

MC Grammar kicked off the day with an energetic song about books and story-telling, followed by Nadia Shireen, who went on to read a short story from her book Welcome to Grimwood. It was encouraging to see these more established creatives present their work and really geared me up to hold my workshops later on.

Author & Illustrator, Nadia Shireen

The children’s (and teacher’s) costumes were fantastic! They were asked to dress up as characters from books they’ve read already or planned to read. I saw a few Rockets (from Look Up!), an Oompa Loompa (from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) as well as children dressed up as Rosa Parks and Cruella Deville.

My World Workshops

After assembly, I made my way through through the school, starting with Year 2. I began by introducing myself as a children’s book illustrator and author and asked the children what they knew about these professions. I was very impressed by the answers and how enthusiastic they were about drawing, writing and creativity in general.

Before I started reading the book, I asked the learners what they thought the book was about. They observed the cover and the title and Year 3 in particular were very accurate in their response, stating that it could be a story about two aliens who switch places. This was very reassuring as the illustrator/writer!

During the reading, I asked them if they would prefer to live in the colourful and busy world of Stiplop (where Seeva lives) or the quiet and relaxing world of Mimpal (where Mackilli lives). The majority of the learners said they preferred the bright colours and activity of Stiplop but appreciated the need for some time out and peace and quiet in Mimpal.

A teachable moment

Part way through the story, I asked the class what they thought of these unique looking alien characters.

A few of the learners said that they didn’t like Seeva’s grey afro and that it looked weird. Here, we paused and reflected on how it might be hurtful to comment negatively about the way somebody looks.

We looked around the room and discussed how we all have different hair, skin, heights and personalities and that was OK and something to be celebrated!

By the end of the discussion, we were all in agreement that we should respect and appreciate people’s differences. It was lovely progress!

It was important for me to explain that differences are part of what makes them who they are and they should be proud of these things. We all look different and have different skills and abilities but we can still be friends and inspire each other, just like Mackilli and Seeva do in the story.

Thank you!

It was great to see how excited the children were about reading, the fantastic costumes and how much value imagination and creative expression has in their lives!

The fact that the school’s vision is that “every child is a unique gift from God” fits so well with the themes of individuality and loving ones differences found in my book, which made it even more of a rewarding experience for me.

The day was also filmed by World Book Day, which was quite nerve-wracking but I’m so glad I was able to be part of this day. Reading and writing has always been something that’s interested me and has lead me to writing blogs like this as well as poetry and children’s books, so I hope that my visit has inspired the children of St. Luke’s to have a go at writing their own stories in the future.

I’d like to thank Ms Francis (Deputy Headteacher) and Miss Madden (Early Years teacher) in particular, for having me and I look forward to seeing the children’s love for literacy grow!


Future workshops

My time at St Luke’s felt so rewarding and positive, that I would love to continue holding similar workshops in pop ups, schools and community groups.

If you would like me to host a session(s) at your establishment (or virtually), please do get in touch. The workshop (30 mins to 1 hour) would include the following, adjusted for the ages of the children:

  • Reading through parts of My World – Mackilli and Seeva’s Switcheroo!
  • Discussing themes of difference and acceptance
  • Understanding literacy techniques
  • Drawing aliens and giving them a personality (character development)
  • Writing a short poem about the alien the child draws
  • Q&A
  • Opportunity for parents and guardians to purchase a copy of My World and any accompanying merchandise
  • Free signed copy of My World for your organisation, if applicable.

If you’d like to know of any open events I hold in the future, please do sign up to my newsletter here.