RIP Li Cassidy-Peet
Born at the end of WW2 of Russian and Yugoslav parents, her upbringing was strict and restrictive but somehow she managed to escape reality whenever possible by listening to rock’n’roll music. She dreamed of one day being an artist and eventually moved to Berlin in the early 1970s. Here she got very involved in the ‘Gay Scene’, and became one of the key organizers of the first Gay parades. Ever glamorous, she adored fashion and dressing up, and found her way to London during the mid 70s where she related strongly to the Punk movement.
In the 1997 she would realize her dream by being accepted into Goldsmiths College of Art here she found her true vocation in life. It was around this time she met her husband Jim and together shared their passion for the 50s Rocking scene, which was all about dressing wild and dancing.
I met Li in the late 1990s when she and Jim would regularly come to events at the Horse Hospital, and here I believe she found her spiritual home. She loved surrealism and had her own unique take on life and art, and I really got to appreciate her amazing talent as an artist, after she committed to a year long residency at the Horse Hospital during 2003 – 2004. This culminated in a multiflorous site specific installation of abstract rubbings, drawings, paintings in fluorescent colors, both wire and card sculptures, collage, video and performance that were directly inspired by aspects of the building itself, which she mapped from top to bottom, to produce an unforgettable exhibition in the Horse Hospitals history. I remember at some point she declared that should the building or our activities ever become under threat, she would personally chain herself to the railings for however long it would take for the threat to go away. We laughed and hoped that day would never come, but she was utterly serious about it, and such a kindly act was typical of Li.
Shortly after the 2004 exhibition she and her husband Jim relocated to Singapore for Jim’s work. Here she continued her practice and became even more accomplished. During their 10 year stay she organized exhibitions all over Asia, while lecturing and conducting numerous workshops.
Last summer Li and Jim moved back to St Leonards having always wanted to live by the sea. We regularly kept in touch, and the last time we met she said she loved being back and was very excited about mounting a new exhibition of her work in St Leonards.
Beautifully eccentric, always warm, kind and generous of spirit her energy and enthusiasm was infectious to all who were privileged enough to know her. We are deeply shocked by her sudden and tragic passing. She will always remain in our hearts and minds.
Roger K. Burton
There will be a memorial exhibition of her work in St Leonards during May
Exhibition dates May 4 - 17, Private View date to be confirmed.