Not intending to retire gracefully

Sir, Anyone who might be tempted to think that the spirit of protest has fizzled out in the UK after the failure of the anti-war demonstration in London on February 15 2003 to stop the invasion of Iraq ("Protest's last stand", Life & Arts, February 9) should have been present at Tate Modern on February 3.

As part of a live event devised by artist Suzanne Lacy entitled Silver Action, hundreds of women in their 60s, 70s and 80s discussed the activism of their earlier years and demonstrated their continuing willingness to lend their voices to fight against perceived injustice, inequality and oppression.

Through their many different stories, they illustrate the importance of small gestures in bringing about significant changes in perception and attitude and that there is still a spirit of altruism, idealism and optimism in our fearful world. It is not limited to the "Guardian-reading herbivores" mentioned in the article.

I participated in the anti-war demonstration in Rome on February 15 2003, where we numbered 3m, and was also a participant in Silver Action. We are certainly not looking forward to a graceful retirement!

(Letter from Rea Stavropoulos to the Editor of the Financial Times, published in the FT February 16, 2013)

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Women artists have to be part Mrs Moneypenny, part Harry Eyres

Sir, In the current social and political climate where we in the west have lost so many of our certainties and are questioning and reassessing our values, the example of women artists and the manner in which they have pursued their lives and careers offers an example of how to deal with the challenges we face.

On another note, the current exhibition of "Autoritratte" at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, covering self-portraits by women artists over a period of 500 years is another example of the greater visibility now being given to women artists.Jackie Wullschlager in her article "In praise of older women" (Life & Arts, December 18-19) drew welcome attention not just to internationally known women artists but to the many who continue to pursue their careers working consistently in their studios outside the limelight but with an inner conviction that keeps them going.
Women artists, with their resourcefulness and persistence, have to exercise the practical and organisational skills of Mrs Moneypenny while retaining the poetic sensibility of Harry Eyres. To use another FT analogy: they move in and out of Slow and Fast Lanes according to the needs of the moment.

(Letter from Rea Stavropoulos to the Editor of the Financial Times, published in the FT January 8, 2011)

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