Tuesday 25th April, 7pm (£10 / £5 Students)
Joanna Moorhead on The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington
The Surreal artist and writer Leonora Carrington was born 100 years ago. Her biographer and distant cousin Joanna Moorhead joins us to discuss her life and their relationship.
Leonora Carrington was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s, a founding member of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s and a woman whose reputation will survive not only as the woman who refused to be a muse but as a novelist and a great artist. This book is the extraordinary story of Leonora’s life, and of the friendship between two women, related by blood but previously unknown to one another, whose encounters were to change both their lives.
In 2006 journalist Joanna Moorhead discovered by chance that her father’s cousin, Prim, who had disappeared many decades earlier, was now a famous artist in Mexico. Although rarely spoken of in her own family (regarded as black sheep, a wild child; someone they were better off without) in the meantime Leonora Carrington had become a national treasure in Mexico, where she now lived, while her paintings are fetching ever-higher prices at auction today.
Intrigued by her story, Joanna left for Mexico City to find her lost relation, returning to Mexico ten times more until Leonora’s death, sometimes staying for months at a time and subsequently travelling across Britain and through Europe in search of the loose ends of her tale.
They spent days talking and reading together, drinking tea and tequila, going for walks and to parties and eating take away pizzas or dining out in her local restaurants as Leonora told Joanna the wild and amazing truth about a life that had taken her from the suffocating existence of a debutante in London via war-torn France with her lover, Max Ernst, to incarceration in an asylum and finally to the life of a recluse in Mexico City. Carrington passed away in 2011, the last living connection to the original Surrealists.
Joanna Moorhead is a print and broadcast journalist. Born in Lancashire, she now lives in London. The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington is her first book.