Selina Maria di Girolamo RBA BA (Hons) ( 1969 - 2011 )

Obituary


Selina Maria di Girolamo

It was clear from early childhood that Selina was destined to be a special person with a mission to make the world a better place, when asked what she would like for her birthday she replied, "for the sun to shine and everyone to be happyā€¯. She was blessed with beauty, being able to express herself verbally, musically and visually but above all she possessed extraordinary psychic and persuasive powers.

At the age of nine prior to the General Election she wrote a poem predicting the outcome which subsequently Margaret Thatcher read aloud to her staff at Checkers. Aged thirteen she was invited to perform some of her songs at Amnesty International where she received a standing ovation, her lyrics reducing the audience to tears. Soon after she turned down an offer to perform on television which was subject to changing her 'punk' appearance. Her first band 'Fast Bus Through Aston Clinton' which later became 'The Love Pirates' continued to endorse her quest for eradicating suffering and promoting love.

Following the breakup of her first marriage she attended Amersham School of Art and Design where she achieved a BTEC diploma in general art and design. After a short spell at Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education she transferred to Middlesex University where she was awarded a BA Honours in Fine Art. She married Michael Fairclough, fellow student throughout her art studies who proved to be the love of her life. Selina set out to make a career as an artist and writer also lecturing at the prestigious Missenden Abbey Summer School, Aylesbury College, Chiltern University College and later Hastings College. She exhibited in many local and national exhibitions including the RBA. Election to the Buckinghamshire Art Society and the Royal Society of British Artists swiftly followed.

Serving on the Council of the RBA and the Education Committee, she was part of the group instrumental in providing assistance to a number of educational establishments to secure national validation for their courses. She was also elected by representatives of the member societies to chair the FBA education committee. Together with her husband Selina was part of the negotiations that secured substantial sponsorship for the RBA via Scott Goodman Harris and later UBS.

One of the highlights during her short time as an RBA was when Mr and Mrs Thompson, the proprietors of Thompsons Galleries visited the annual exhibition searching for new talent, both separately chose her name without conferring. Another occasion that gave her much pleasure was when Peter Kelly borrowed her sketchbooks to demonstrate good practice and excellent drawing.

Selina Maria di Girolamo - When Lourdes left Brighton
When Lourdes left Brighton

In 2004 following Mike's appointment as Headteacher of West Rise Junior School in Eastbourne the family moved to Ninfield near Hastings. Selina threw herself into the artistic community and began using her paintings to reflect the diversity of local beaches, woodlands and downs. Expressive statements of her spirituality combined with the atmosphere of Sussex soon earned her local respect. She was elected to both the South Coast Artists Group and the Council. Selina played a key role in establishing and running the town's Arts Forum and in addition she and her husband Mike, who at the time was a member of the Arts Council of Great Britain, assisted in promoting the proposed scheme for building the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. [currently being built] Throughout this period her paintings, drawings and Raku fired Goddess sculptures exhibited locally, nationally and internationally became much sort after. Selina also worked with Yorkshire Television, Channel Four and the BBC on several programmes. She has appeared in Stonehenge, The Why Files, In Search of Christmas, Heaven and Earth, Lost Civilisations and Newsnight.

Selina was not only a successful artist but also a truly inspirational woman who devoted much of her energy to empowering women and educating parents on the importance of long term breastfeeding and attachment parenting. A mother herself at seventeen she understood the prejudices and difficulties facing teenage and single mums and made it her mission to help any expectant mother she came across. The Di Girolamo family take great comfort in knowing that there are so many children who benefitted as a direct result of the contact their parents had with Selina. As well as her love for art she was also a passionate advocate for women's rights and wrote for a host of journals on the subjects of parenting and witchcraft. Selina's poetry and artwork have regularly been published in 'International Women's Diaries'. The current publication commemorating thirty years has eight of her contributions, unsurpassed by any other writer or artist. Her stunning depiction of The Black Madonna was selected as the image to represent the 2011 International Women's Day Centenary.

In her own words:- "As a mother and artist living in contemporary society I have been slowly awakening to the esoteric realms of women's culture, mythology and history. Archaeology and folklore hint at a female centred communities at the root of the origins of civilisation, art and spirituality."

Selina was laid to rest during a most moving Pagan ceremony at Clayton Woods Natural Burial Ground, overlooked by her beloved Downs and attended by an unprecedented number of people many of whom travelled long distances to be there. She is survived by her beloved husband Michael Fairclough and three much loved and talented sons Johnny 24, Taliesin 14, Indigo 6, her parents Romeo and Megan, her sister Dr Emilia Di Girolamo and family. As a family we are grateful for all the love and support shown in the hundreds of tributes and moving messages sent during her illness and her death.

Romeo and Megan di Girolamo