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Shed delight.

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Over the past two years, my garden shed has been a shelter for boxes, old furniture, bugs, wasps, snakes and a million geckos. This is normally the function of a garden shed. The thing is, this particular shed used to be the only space in our home where things belonged only to me. This was my place for solitude and contemplation, for putting my books in one place and knowing they would be there when I went back in again. It was a place I could sit and stare at my favourite pictures and photos and beautiful bottles I'd dug up on the racecourse in Pietermaritzburg when they bulldozered the earth. It was the place I wrote the first, white hot draft of one of my favourite screenplays. It was the place I'd be left alone.

That is, until my dearest mother moved in to live with us. When my beloved step-dad died in 2015, it took some time before we decided that my mom should come and live with our family. It seemed like the only option, as I live an hour's drive from where they use…

Obituary for Nicky Leigh. Published in The Witness, 9 June, 2017.

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Obituary for Nicky Leigh.
by Janet van Eeden.
Nicky Leigh, well-known Pietermaritzburg visual artist, died on 26th May 2017. Born on the 29th April 1966, Nicky lived, studied and painted in her home town of Pietermaritzburg. Her artistic roots stretch back into generations of powerful women artists. Nicky’s mother, Leonora Everard Haden, came from a line of renowned women artists known as the Everard Group. These strong artistic genes were passed on to Leonora and to her daughters, Nicky and Alana Leigh.  Their younger sister, Andrea Leigh, is a successful architect in London who also paints. Not only did the artistic genes come from Nicky’s maternal heritage, but her father was the late Derek Leigh, an artist and senior painting and history of art lecturer in the Fine Art Department of the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. He taught Nicky from 1986-1988, while she was studying for her Bachelor of Fine Art Degree.
Both Nicky’s parents instilled in her an appreciation for art and en…

In Memory of Beloved Nicky Leigh - Eulogy Read at her Memorial on 6th June, 2017.

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On 26th May, one of my most beloved friends, Nicky Leigh, decided to end her battle with depression. I've been asked to post a copy of the tribute I read out at her memorial, as well as to post the contents of the obituary I wrote for her, which was published in The Witness on Friday 9 June 2017.

The Tribute consisted mainly of the words of my daughter, Caitlin Harrison. She received art lessons from Nicky from the age of ten. 
6 June 2017. Nicky Leigh’s Eulogy.
I’ve been very selfish these past ten days. My heart has been very tender about the loss of our beloved Nicky. I’ve felt so deeply sad at the loss of my vibrant, generous-hearted, big-loving and deeply-creative friend. It seemed unfathomable that my lovely friend was no longer on this planet. The first time I met Nicky was when I interviewed her during her Animals in Captivity exhibition at the Tatham Art Gallery. We sized each other up cautiously, each wondering if the other was one of those hard-bitten, point-scoring “artist…