A year ago today, a dear friend of mine died of cancer. She was old but not that old and youthful in spirit, her name was Jaya Graves who I will miss dearly. Her death at the time was overshadowed by the far more devastating loss of my own son just 10 days earlier, and its taken me until now to put this all too brief post up.
I first met Jaya in the late 90’s as part of some activities supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in Manchester. She later became involved on the management committee and then as occasional collaborator with the artists’ collective that I had founded, Virtual Migrants www.virtualmigrants.net and we used to meet at the Southern Voices office at St Peters House Church and Chaplaincy.
In 2003, while she was a member of the Manchester Museum Community Advisory Panel, I was commissioned to create a series of video works for permanent installation in the at that time new galleries being built, and one of the videos was of Jaya. Here it is along with another two from the same series of videos.
There is more information about that project, titled Rekindle, at www.metaceptive.net/rekindle-interactive-museum-object-stories .
The more recent work on environment, climate change, race and migration was co-developed with her vital contribution, meeting at her house. It was Jaya who suggested we call the project The Centre Cannot Hold, from the WB Yeats poem. I valued our reflective, analytical, critical and good humoured chats enormously, as well as the ideas and knowledge she introduced me to. We were good friends even though we only met occasionally, and I miss her. I count her as an inspiration and influence on my work and my humanity. May she be carrying on in the way she always did so well wherever she may be.
PS: Regarding my dear son Naseeb, mentioned earlier, I have not felt the need to put a post about him on this website since there is a memorial website dedicated to him already at www.naseebchuhan.wordpress.com .