"I am devastated by the death of my friend Brian Stewart. Brian will continue to be an inspiration for the whole of my life I am sure. His shocking death on Sunday has struck a huge blow to me personally but I feel privileged to have had Brian as a best friend. Brian's death is a huge personal loss to his family, many hundreds of individuals, and the wider community of Cornwall and beyond. A Memorial is already being planned in London too. I feel blessed to have worked, laughed and spent time with one of the world's most intelligent, creative, passionate, caring and inclusive people. Brian's working example should be followed across the UK. Brian didn't judge people or exclude people, he embraced the good and the diverse and knitted it together into something truly special and magical. As an artist Brian supported my work and the work of many others in a unique and exciting way. He would find connections between the diverse elements of the arts in our community and bring many people, children, professionals and their works together in what I consider to be the most exciting and inclusive exhibitions in the UK. Falmouth has been truly blessed by his ten years as director of Falmouth Art Gallery. How many galleries in the world would showcase local paintings with Picasso's and the work of my four year old daughter ? And my story isn't unique or favored - it is part of what Brian passionately believed in and practiced. He represented the wide diversity of artists in the community without prejudice or judgment - he combined this with community projects to connect generations of young people into the visual arts and used his fantastic curatorial skills to draw lines and connections between these works of art to create fascinating exhibitions and life changing experiences. In his recent brilliant lecture at the Poly in Falmouth he had to start 20mins late because the venue was so full people couldn't get in fast enough to be seated on time - how many people could do that when presenting art history ? The funding that Brian attracted to Falmouth Art Gallery was outstanding. Falmouth Art Gallery's collection has gone from strength to strength. During my last conversation with Brian, the day before he died while he was in hospital, he was celebrating his latest success to secure funding to purchase a Tacita Dean. He was absolutely delighted with the news in-spite of his pain and fear of his impending operation. I have known Brian and his family for many years and his sons often telephone me for advice with drawing, art or computers. On one occasion I had an urgent telephone call from them to assist with drawing a dog. Brian and I always laughed about the idea of dialing '999' for an artist to come to fix your homework drawing or to assist in a strange situation and the last words Brian said to me on the evening before he died were "John, if I need you I will call '999' for that dog." I told him I loved him and that my family loved him too. I never got that '999' call, I wish I had." John Dyer 2010.
- December 12, 2010
- 3 min read