The organizer and MC kicks off the event.Yesterday, I had the privilege of giving one poem as a contribution to an arts evening in aid of Fr. Shay Cullens PREDA foundation in the Phillipines.
Fr. Shay Cullens work against the trafficking and the bars featuring under age sex workers is legendary, and he has been nominated a couple of times for the Nobel Peace Prize along with his foundation and is a winner of the Wiemer Peace Prize. But his life is not about accolades, it is about effect, and while there I got a copy of his autobiography which I am now starting to read.
While there, I had a good conversation with Shay, and it turns out he is a writer as well, writing both songs and poetry in his spare time. Like all good writers, he was more interested in hearing about others writing than talking of his own, and our conversation wandered between discussing the Phillipines, Paul Polanskys work in Kosovo and we finished up talking about Latif Yahia’s new film The Devils Double.
The event was a two day affair, and I missed the first day which was attended by both Anthony Sullivan and Ken Hume, and I joined the merry party yesterday. There was a jazz band, a lady who sang traditional Irish songs to a good reception, and a young girl and boy who played very heartfelt self written songs. We left as the chanting began – we’d a train to catch!!! – and between all of the beforementioned I read a piece, as did Anthony Sullivan, and towards the end Ken Hume done his bit for the second day of the event.
The theme of the night was “Reflections on Freedom”, which I chose to be the title of my piece written especially for the event which I post below, with artists, musicians, dance groups and poets giving their take on the phrase, giving an angle on the work and culture of the Philippines through that where possible.
A large display of art was there and a few pieces were sold raising funds for the centre, and the intermission allowed artists, vendors and visitors a chance to chat.
The Hard Boys, that pillar will never collapse while Anthony Sullivan] and Ken Hume are there to save the day!!!
Shay Cullen himself was a very interesting man, though not in an academic way. He’s the kind of chap youd meet and enjoy a drink with at the bar, who’d be as happy talking about horse racing as the big issues of the day. His passion for his work is very evident, and his obliging nature for those who wanted photographs, etc., was natural to him. A pleasure to meet.