‘In a spiritually sensitive culture, then, it might well be that age is something to be admired or envied. A person is released from the pressure to justify themselves, free to discover who they are – and perhaps to pass on to the rest of us something of what they discover.’
Rowan Williams, 6 Sept. 2005
Winter Fires is about the place of art in old age, exploring how creativity empowers both professionals and amateurs at a time when other forms of power and status are so often being lost. It explores how the identity of being an artist, active at a point when ‘work’ is usually finished, may affect a person’s sense of themselves and how they are seen by others.
In fact, our gifts and our ability to give, change throughout life. Both can grow even as our physical and other forces diminish. And art, which enables people to express the unique reality of being them, allows us to share our gifts until the end.
Winter Fires explores the practice of older artists – particularly those who’ve found their creative gifts late in life – and its distinctive voice in the arts and the community. It is the story of people who, late in life, offer light and warmth through their vision. It says that the old are like everyone else, just older.
‘One’s ego becomes less and less interesting as you get older, to oneself and to everyone else. I have been around it too long. The less ego you have, the more influence you have as a conductor. And the result is that you can concentrate on the only things that really matter: the music and the people who are playing it. You are of no account whatever. But if you can help people to feel free to play as well as they can, that’s as good as it gets.’
Colin Davis in The Guardian, Thursday 12 May 2011
Winter Fires is supported by the Baring Foundation.