With such a beautiful name as Spirit de la Mare, I guess you’d expect this week’s guest to be involved in the arts somehow. Well—you won’t be disappointed. Born in London to parents embedded in the Punk culture and educated at Roedean School for girls (where she is now Governor) Spirit was provided with the most diverse upbringing, and that is precisely why Spirit may be considered something of social chameleon.
Spirit is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, Freeman of the Guild of Entrepreneurs, as well as Trustee of ArtCan, arts writer, culture enthusiast and journalist, as well as founding editor of the award winning art magazine Brogue, due for re-release later this year. Spirit has dedicated her time fully to the growth and development of the creative industries and firmly believes this is how ‘’communities are tightened with strong bonds being created across age groups and societal difficulties”.
Despite her ridiculous commitments, we met for a chat in the beautiful Haywood Gallery Café at the South Bank Centre—where Spirit is heavily involved in the promotion of the critically acclaimed new exhibition ‘’Kiss My Genders’’.
“My whole life changed—if you can pick a point my life changed, it would be the moment I was taken to that school.”[10:00]
Spirit was born to a pair of punk rock parents—something that likely helped shape her in a way that let her cruise against the traditional grains of society. At 3 she was sporting pink hair and ear piercing, sitting on her parents’ shoulders at punk rock shows. Her dive into an artistic life was one she had planned for quite some time, deciding that she would make it into Roedean School for girls to pursue her passions. Despite some not supporting this, she worked hard and ended up earning a full academic scholarship to the school, a school she has now been invited back as a Governor too all these years later.
“Showing your art, showing people what’s possible—putting on performances, getting together and starting a poetry group—a book club—whatever it might be, it’s stealing time back from capitalism…it’s going ‘no’ this is ours.”[35:50]
Accessibility to the arts is a problem Spirit sees across many lines, including class. She’s proud to work with the South Bank which puts on lots of free events. She’s seen first-hand the impact art can have on young children and adults alike, and she knows how life gets in the way of creativity. Many concerts are free in London and galleries can simply be walked into—art shouldn’t only be experienced by those of a certain pay grade.
The Haywood Gallery has an exhibition called “Kiss My Gender” which is a celebration of gender fluidity in more than 30 artists across the decades. It aims to challenge the concept of a rigid gender—an eye opening task that has been sparking conversations left and right and getting rave reviews. Spirit is happy to be on the PR team for the exhibition, as she thrives on seeing artists getting attention—whether they are up and coming underdogs, or have been working across the century.
Spirit is continuing to work on bridging communities and art, and she’s excited to connect visual art and spoken word poetry.