It is a small world. A few days ago I was in the old city of Jerusalem, in a side street just off the Via Dolorosa when I spotted the Levantine art gallery and made a bee line for its doors.
Inside an Arab salesman was trying out his patter on a couple of tourists.
“Where are you from?” He asked us “These people are from Ireland.”
“I’m from Ireland” my husband piped up. “And I am from England” I add. ( I am always from England. My husband can be from his original Northern Ireland, just Ireland, England or the UK depending on his mood and who he is talking to.)
“Ah!”cried the Arab. My wife is from England. Where in England do you live?”
“My wife is from Liverpool!”
I confess, we both thought. Yeah right. Your wife is from wherever your customers are from, we are sure. But then we got talking and it turned out he was called Mo, his wife, Karen and they had lived in Frodsham. And then he worked out I was an artist and called her on FaceTime so we could chat. We established that she really was English and her father used to run the newsagents next to the chipshop in Fingerpost, an obscure area of my home town close to where I grew up and where one of my friends lived. ( Sorry for doubting you Mo!)
Tiny, tiny world!
So we called back in a few days later to meet Karen and learn more about the gallery. She has only been open three weeks and her website is still under construction ( I’ll post it here when it’s ready because she will be stocking art online). She is highly unusual in being a woman in business in the suq and she specialises in art from local artists, both original paintings and sculptures and quality glicee prints on canvas which are handily wrapped in tubes for travel. Much of the art is representational but I loved the way she had framed these abstract pieces between two plates for glass to show off the Jerusalem stone walls.
Her passion is to provide an outlet for creativity for local people and to showcase the talent. Mo, runs a jewellery store a few doors down. It seemed churlish not to let him go through his practiced sales patter, especially when I rarely find jewellery that really attracts me and he had a pendant that practically yelled, “Buy me,” from the glass case!
I imagine that most of you reading this will not be planning to travel to Jerusalem, but would you please consider sharing this because you never know who will read and mention it to someone else and who might end up in Israel and able to visit. The address is 16 Quarter Road which is the lane you takeoff the Via Dolorosa to get to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
You can follow them on Facebook here and I will let you know the website when it’s up and running.