An Interview With John Pelling

Art critic, admirer of Halima Nałęcz and curator of Kaleidoscope: A Celebration of Colour, Robin Dutt has conducted an interview with John Pelling, one of Halima’s good friends. Read on to find out more about Halima and the legacy she left behind.

Questions posed to John Pelling, Artist, about Halima Nałęcz, by Robin Dutt:

What was Halima like as a gallerist?

JP –  ‘You could trust her and she was almost like a mother figure to you. She cared for you and made sure the best was brought out of you – the best you possibly had. She encouraged you not just to be a painter but to produce works of art and gave tremendous freedom, never imposing a pattern of hers – on you.

But…she did advise, if she thought you were going down the wrong path!’

The Private Views at the Drian Galleries?

JP – ‘She made people feel welcome. She was very warm and had a warm personality. She always used to dress in a way so as to complement the works on show. If you painted in yellows and reds, her outfit of the evening would be yellows and reds! She wanted to enforce the feeling that the artist was trying to get at. It was all for our outlook and gave us confidence.’

Halima’s sense of Humour?

JP – ‘Oh she had a sense of humour! She was quite ready to have a laugh about all kinds of things and this along with her very serious side. But she certainly enjoyed laughing too. ‘

Halima and her artists

JP – ‘Halima had a struggle with space and extra things. They were all put in the back – somewhere! But she never minded, as long as nothing inconvenienced her artists. For example, she would think nothing of staying up all night and taking out the gallery windows to facilitate bringing in an artist’s work’.

Halima’s own art

JP – ‘Halima loved art and painting and it made you want to love painting too. Thinking of her style as a painter it was very personal – flowers, trees with birds and Nature – but the way she did it was very, very personal and organized, really with a sense of composition – controlled spaces, controlled areas of space and colour. Although it might have looked mad, it was very controlled and contemporary. She was advanced for her time.’

Colour and Halima

JP – ‘Colour expressed what was inside her – light, life and the wonder of the world. She loved the world.’

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