Hook, a Gibraltarian who ‘shines’
Receiving the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar yesterday on board the Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria, an emotional Christian Hook told those present this accolade “meant a great deal” to him.
“I believe that my journey as an artist has only just began and no doubt it will take me to places far away but I will not forget Gibraltar… as I follow my path ever trying to achieve new goals I will not forget my roots,” he said thanking in particular his family – father, mother and brother.
They proudly looked on as his former Westside pupil from 15 years ago now Mayor of Gibraltar Kaiane Lopez conferred the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar on Mr Hook – Gibraltar’s internationally acclaimed artist - in an intimate ceremony held in the spacious Queen’s Room with just the Governor, the Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition, the Ship’s Captain, family and friends present, had begun with the instrument of conferment, followed by the signing of the Freedom Scroll and presentation of the Casket containing the Freedom Scroll.
Mr Hook’s paintings are now hanging in the galleries on board not just the Queen Victoria but also the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary II. Today will see the official launch of his latest collection – the Darwin Series and is being held in conjunction with the Clarendon Art Gallery where he is now their leading artist with his paintings fetching around £200,000 each. The gallery has both the new limited edition of prints (variety of nudes, equine, children and monologue) and also original pieces of the new Darwin Series.
Now his art, said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo at the ceremony, will go around the world.
Mr Picardo recalled the day Mr Hook had walked into his office as an art teacher because he had been given the opportunity to take part in the Sky Arts Portrait of the Year.
“You see the talent that he had and you say to yourself how can you keep him in the classroom away from that opportunity, how can you not allow that Gibraltarian talent to have a chance to shine. The fact is the minute that Gibraltarians have the chance, by God it shines, like Christian Hook’s talent, it shines.”
It is right, he added that Mr Hook, be the one of his generation to have the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar because of a talent that is so obvious and which the world now recognises.
Mayor Kaiane Lopez emphasised how Mr Hook had put Gibraltar on the map through land and sea and how beautiful it was that he was now sharing his gift not just with Gibraltar but with the rest of the world.
“Like all Gibraltarians,” she proudly smiled, “I have a sense of pride that he is one of us.”
But over and above his achievements, she emphasised, he has always carried with him his Gibraltarian spirit and had proven to be a magnificent ambassador.
“Gibraltar may be small in size but it is the people that make it grand – and because of people like Christian our community has a remarkable role model.
“I had the great privilege of having Mr Hook as my art teacher for a year some 15 years ago.”
Although she had not been a good art student, she admitted, he had managed to teach her a few tricks which now proved “very useful during her motherly bonding” sessions with her own child.
Christian Hook sailed on the Queen Victoria for the launch of his new collection and will also lecture on board.