Lemn Sissay and Fiona Graham-Mackay in Conversation at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, 24th November, 2017


I had a most enjoyable evening yesterday seeing Lemn Sissay in conversation with Fiona Graham-Mackay at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum, both there to discuss the collaboration of portrait artist and sitter, an unscripted and therefore honest discussion that included notions of what ‘transformation’ either experienced in the process of meeting, as well as a discussion about the creative process where Lemn reminded us how we are all creative, from finding solutions to problems to the act itself.

The evening included an opportunity to see Lemn’s portrait by Fiona, along with three rooms of others, as part of the BP Portrait Award 2017 exhibition touring from the National Portrait Gallery and currently at the RAMM.

There was also a wonderful poetry reading from Lemn in the second part where, as usual, he entertained with performance and anecdote, this latter including those heartfelt assertions on creativity and other important matters [e.g. care leavers, adoption] about which Lemn is so passionate and convincing.

Lemn read a few poems from his collection Gold from the Sun and this included a bravura performance of Mourning Breaks where for the moment we were all ‘growing wings’ and that is one of the many positive effects and impacts of seeing and hearing him.

Thanks Lemn.


For a fuller and personal appreciation of Lemn, read here.

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