Don’t eat the Pomegranate?

1 – 18 May 2024



Installation View

Don’t eat the Pomegranate?

Here in the UK we have been celebrating the signs of Spring, the natural world reawakening after winter. Throughout the globe there are seasonal changes which guide us through time.
These changes are a great inspiration for artists and many myths, legends and tales explain the eternal cycles of Nature’s death and rebirth.
One such myth is the story of Persephone and Hades, represented in Michael Hempstead’s paintings and which is the theme of his talk on Saturday 11 th May. The significance of the
pomegranate is that by eating six pomegranate seeds Persephone was destined to spend 6 months with Hades in the Underworld and 6 months in the Upper Earth so her father divided the year into 2 parts: Dark Winter and Radiant Summer.

We pose the question “Don’t eat the Pomegranate?” to invite you to consider how would you feel without these contrasts?

Established in 1952, the Free Painters and Sculptors (FPS) is an artist-led organisation that promotes and exhibits an international and diverse membership of Artists. Through our connections with Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum we are excited to exhibit in the purpose built space, Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery. A deep thoughtfulness and playfulness converge in the exhibited works as the members connect and express their response to the theme of Spring and Nature.

Installation View

Exhibiting FPS Artists: Victoria Atkinson • Rosalind Barker • Nicholas Cheeseman • Joanna Ciechanowska • Louisa Crispin • Veronica van Eijk • Marek Emczek Olszewski • Leila Godden • Alexandra Harley • Michael Hempstead • Richard Heys • Maria Kaleta • Solange Keschmann • Malgorzata Lapsa-Malawska • Owen Legg • Rod McIntosh • Alex McIntyre • Peter Murry • Bettina Reiber • Bina Shah • Helen Twigge-Molecey • Sally Ward • Adam Zoltowski

With over 70 years of experience, FPS aligns with the ethos of Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum, helping artists build long term networks that develop artistic sustainability, exposure and sales, whilst also encouraging artists to create work on their own terms, leading to a vibrant, diverse and “free” exhibitions.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks, demonstrations and workshops.

Free Painters and Sculptors (FPS)

An abridged version of THE MYTH OF PERSEPHONE 

The vast island of Sicily had been piled on top of the body and limbs of a giant. He struggled and spat out ashes and flames. This was the volcano Etna. The Earth trembled. Hades, Ruler of the dark Kingdom of The Dead in The Underworld, feared the Earth would split open and let in daylight. He drove up to The Upper World in his chariot to check the foundations of his Kingdom. He made all secure.
Cupid saw him and shot a love-arrow into his heart.

In a wooded glade nearby Persephone, daughter of Demeter, Goddess of The Earth, was picking flowers. Hades saw her, fell in love with her, and kidnapped her in his chariot. Persephone called out to her mother, but to no avail. Hades drove them down into The Underworld.

Demeter was distraught at the loss of her daughter. She looked for her everywhere. Not finding her, she cursed Sicily. Nothing grew there. There was no food. Demeter demanded of Zeus, King of the Gods, that her daughter be returned to her, once she had learned that Persephone was Hades’s captive in The Underworld. Zeus was
Persephone’s father.

Zeus said Persephone could return from The Underworld on one condition:- that she had not eaten  anything there. This is the decree of The Fates; he said. Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds. Zeus said “Because of this I divide the year into two parts :- Dark Winter and Radiant Summer”.

So for six months Persephone returns to her Mother in the Upper Earth and there is Summer Sunshine, as they are happy together; then, for six months she returns to The Underworld, The Kingdom of Death, Hades’s Realm, and it is Winter in the Upper Earth, as Demeter mourns for her lost daughter

Events and Workshops

Binah Shah Saturday 18 May 11 – 1pm

Bina Shah in residence demonstrating use of her hand carved Black Bamboo mark making tools and inks. Drop in session, no booking required.

Throughout the exhibition

Visitors are invited to respond to Solange Keschmann’s sculpture “The Wave”.

Rod McIntosh  1st May 5pm (for 5.15pm start) – 5.45pm

Immediately prior to SVAF Meeting

Rod Mcintosh Informal Meditation “Sitting group” in the gallery.

We invite you to come and experience the power of sitting with others in silence in a welcoming and supportive environment. During this session, Rod will hold space and is able to offer gentle guidance as to how to approach meditation, that he finds helpful and uses in his paintings. A moment midweek to press pause and calm your mind in a creative space surrounded by the artwork of the Free Painters and Sculptors Exhibition, “Don’t Eat the Pomegranate?” as a backdrop and inspiration. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced meditator, our group is open to everyone. Embrace the chance to connect with like-minded individuals and foster a sense of community.

BOOK via Eventbrite

1st May 6 – 8pm SVAF Members Meeting open to the public Free

A brief intro to the exhibition & FPS group followed by short artist talks by FPS members

Helen Twigge-Molecey, Solange Keschmann, Rod McIntosh, and Veronica van Eijk

Saturday 4 May 11am – 3pm – Private View

An opportunity to visit the exhibition and meet the artists

Refreshments will be provided.

Rod McIntosh  9th May 1.30 – 3.30pm 

Mindfulness and Ink Painting Workshop

Through the practice of mindfulness with a brush and ink, you will learn to focus your attention, observe your thoughts, and connect with the present moment. This workshop offers a unique opportunity to combine mindfulness and creativity, allowing you to tap into flow state and express your artistic side. No prior experience is necessary, and all materials will be provided. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, this workshop is open to everyone who is interested in exploring the benefits of mindfulness and ink painting. Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to relax, learn, and create.

The workshop will take place in the Mezzanine area at the Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Art Gallery.

BOOK via Eventbrite

Saturday 11 May 11am – 1pm

Louisa Crispin in residence – drawing insects in the gallery.

Drop in session, no booking required.

Michel Hempstead   Saturday 11 May 2 – 3pm

Michael Hempstead – free talk to children accompanied by parents about his painting The Metamorphosis of Persephone followed by time for the children to do some drawings of their own.

BOOK via Eventbrite

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