Livi Adu

In making this piece, I was inspired by my walk around Sale Hill, and my disability. I choose a walking stick as my canvas because I felt very self-conscious of the walking aids I need to use when my Fibromyalgia is really bad. I wanted to reflect how being in nature makes me feel, the journey, the mindfulness, and the change of perspective that comes with being in the wilderness.

The image shows a woman (Livi Adu) standing on a hill with a lake and mountains beyond. She is smiling, and rests her right hand on a walking stick that she has decorated.

The stick is a mixed media piece created from photographs taken on my artful walk and I’ve used white acrylic pen to highlight patterns I noticed in nature, turned into Zen doodles. As you spin the walking stick you will see different perspectives of the walk – it acts a bit like a Zoetrope as you follow the Zen tangles with your eyes. For me the most important thing about creativity is its ability to express perspectives that can’t be described with just words.  

Answering the three Artful Questions

What does creativity/culture mean to you? 

It is a part of my identity, both of them. I’m lucky enough to work in a museum,  so I get to see a unique side to Cumbria’s cultural heritage, as well as my own. My family have descended from the border reivers, so are most likely to have lived in cumbria for over 2000 years – not that many strangers would guess that by looking at me. Being mixed race I often have to justify my cultural link to Cumbria, despite the fact it makes up a large part of my identity.  I have often been asked  “But where are you really from?” In this culture, melanin isn’t associated with being British, even though the first Morroccan settlement in Britain was 2,018 years ago. And this settlement just happened to be in Burgh-by-Sands, Silloth, Cumbria. We have a long history of migration and multiculturalism, so what is really meant by ‘where are you really from?’.

What have you missed – and what new possibilities have opened up? 

I have missed connecting with others, the spontaneous trips to visit friends, or the adventures I used to go on. But, this time has given me a great opportunity to focus on my artistic practice and gain more skills. I even grew the confidence to start my podcast, What Makes The Lakes. I am going to create an episode inspired by the reflections of this walk. I think it would be interesting to have conversations with people on a walk, discussing access, diversity and inclusion of the fells.

How can we, collectively, and artfully, better care for the environment? 

I think spending more time in nature helps people to reconnect with their environments. Having open conversations, listening to others and our surroundings is also a great way of making the environment a priority. A really basic way of caring for the environment is to follow the countryside code when out walking: take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints. 

A view across Bassenthwaite Lake, with Skiddaw fell in the background.
Looking over Bassenthwaite lake to Skiddaw

You can find Livi’s Podcast, ‘What Makes the Lakes’, here:

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