Polly Bagnall- painter, therapist, writer, mother.
The break in this Blog is because I have taken time out to co-author ‘Ferguson’s Gang, the Remarkable Story of the National Trust Gangsters’, published by Pavilion November 2015. This was the culmination of 4 years of research and came out of an exhibition I curated at the National Trust property, Shalford Mill, in Surrey in 2012. My painting practice has continued throughout, but profiling it has taken second place to completing the book:
POLYMATH from Greek polumathēs “having learned much”). The Polymath has a wide and deep learning of many subjects AND is particularly gifted in all of these areas. Leonardo da Vinci: “There had never been another man born in the world who knew as much as Leonardo, not so much about painting, sculpture and architecture, as that he was a very great philosopher.’
Hildegard von Bingen was a theologian, writer, poet, composer, artist, medical researcher, botanist, linguist and abbess.
Mae Carol Jemison was the first African American woman to travel in space in 1992. A medical practitioner, Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 to 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to form a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She is also a dancer, actress and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, and humanities.
ON THE OTHER HAND WE HAVE THE
POLLYMATH – a generalist, a person competent in several different fields or activities.
As GK Chesterton (writer, artist, theologian, philosopher and critic) said “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.’
The non-expert, non-genius, the person with a wide range of skills and experience is often the best person to make things happen. Mothering, running a business require a multi-faceted approach. Chesterton warned that childcare put into the hands of ‘professionals’ would provide a less successful environment for the job. A specialist can be the right person for a task, but the POLLYMATH is essential to make life function.Unfortunately there are few positive terms for the ‘generalist’, ‘the-jack-of-all-trades (master of none)’ AND unsurprisingly women are often the expert multi-taskers.
I am a POLLYMATH – I have parallel practices in many varied fields.
THE EXPONENTIAL POTENTIAL OF ACCUMULATED KNOWLEDGE.
A woman of 50 plus years has infinite potential- nothing is foreign to her- she knows some useful phrases in other languages; she reads body language and nuanced social cues; she has dipped her toe in several jobs at different levels of the hierarchy; she has captained the ship of childrearing and homebuilding with equal measure of set-backs and success; she has stepped out of her comfort zone so many times that her territory is broad; and she has grafted to hard and deep that her dedication to the task is beyond compare. There is nothing this woman cannot do- AND SHE WILL DO IT!!