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VANCOUVER – 07/05/05

Taking the Oath

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Taking the Oath

What the directors of the Institute might not have known, I added, is that nicknames I was given when I was more or less the age of the graduating students in the hall included ‘potato’, ‘potentate’ and – yes – ‘Dr Potter’. Pursuing the medical associations of the word I wondered if we make a kind of Hippocratic Oath when we decide to become artists. It really does seem to be a path of devotion, involving many acts of service to the demanding form, and often scant reward. And when it works – as in the timbre of the voice of Billie, whose transmutation of human pain into transcendental beauty is one example, then perhaps it is true to think of the artist’s work as being a form of healing of the wounds of the psyche.

When I walked around the graduating students’ show later and was gently and repeatedly accosted as ‘Dr Potter’, however, I fell about laughing.

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Olga Chagaoutdinova

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Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated