November is major birthday month in the rue Cavallotti household, with Douglas MacDiarmid delighted to turn 96 on the 14th of the month, and his partner Patrick celebrating his 87th milestone a fortnight later on the 29th.
Ninety-six is indeed a time of quiet reflection on a life well led, but what a week of well-wishings it was, with Douglas overwhelmed and elated by the warmth of messages from far and wide. Among the birthday mail this year was a lovely letter of compliments and congratulations from the New Zealand Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage:
…”As one of our most accomplished and acclaimed expatriate painters, you have long flown New Zealand’s creative flag around the globe….
…”Few artists can boast close to eight decades of productivity in their chosen art form, it is an achievement to be proud of and I greatly admire your passion and commitment to art, life and colour. I am very pleased that your niece Anna Cahill has worked with you to record your journey in Colours of a Life – the life and times of Douglas MacDiarmid and that many are able to appreciate your works held in private and public collections all around the world.”
Such blessings and thoughts were “a true boost to my spirits”, even though it frustrates him that he no longer has the vitality to reply to each and every message. Please visit this page again soon for a video of Douglas on his birthday, 14 November 2018. Follow our Facebook page and we’ll let you know once it’s available.
We salute Douglas for the colour, depth and expanded horizons he has brought to our lives; and the exceptional Patrick, his devoted partner of 50 years, for making it possible for him to dedicate his life to painting.
To celebrate the passage of decades, please enjoy this selection of photographs from Douglas MacDiarmid’s personal photo albums, starting with an endearing shot of a proud little boy with his first fish.