Sir Winston Churchill's great-grandson will be the guest speaker at a local event saluting Churchill's legacy of leadership and courage and commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death.
Duncan Sandys, 41, an Atlanta resident, will highlight the artistic side of one of the world's greatest leaders and the positive impact painting had on his performance on the world's stage. He will speak March 13 at the Big Canoe Clubhouse in Dawson County.
"Winston was a painter and created more than 500 works over a 45-year period," Sandys said in a telephone interview with the Dawson News & Advertiser. "Painting made him a more effective leader, and it was his place of solace, another world where he could escape and regain perspective."
Sandys plans to discuss three topics at the upcoming dinner -- failure, leadership, and perspective.
"One lesson to learn from Winston Churchill is that he had more failures in his life than successes," Sandys said. "All those failures, all that adversity over several decades is what shaped him and improved him, so that when that supreme challenge came in 1940, when the existence of England was under threat, he was at the top of his game."
Part of the problem with today's leaders, Sandys said, is that they haven't faced adversity and failure.
"It's true all around the world," he said. "The British Prime Minister is only a few years older than me. It's not their fault, but they have less life experience and resources in terms of leadership."
Churchill's failures spanned both world wars. During WWI, he was the chief proponent of the invasion of Turkey. The goal was to create a southern link to England and France's eastern ally, Russia. It was a complete failure costing the lives of many young soldiers. In WWII, Churchill was responsible for the decision to occupy Norway. This military occupation was defeated by Nazi Germany, whose superior air power crushed the British navy.
Churchill, who first began painting in the wake of his resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1915, embraced art as a source of great enjoyment. He saw painting as a testing ground for his audacity, humility, foresight, and strength of memory, according to winstonchurchill.org.
Painting a picture, Churchill wrote, "is like fighting a battle, and trying to paint a picture is, I suppose, like trying to fight a battle."
When Churchill fell into a deep depression, it was painting that rescued him.
"He didn't have anywhere to go when everything unraveled," Sandys said. "Painting was a place of solace, a place where he could go that gave him courage to try new things, things that were different. He knew that if everything collapsed around him, he could paint and come back with a fresh perspective."
Sandys said he has come to better understand the role painting played in the great-grandfather's life.
"It can't help but have an effect on you and make you think about your own life," he said, "and think about what it is that each of us has as our own painting -- where do we go to refresh ourselves? Where do we go to gain that perspective that makes each of us more effective leaders?"
Sandys will speak March 13 at the Big Canoe Clubhouse, 10357 Clubhouse Dr. Tickets are $50. Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. Dinner and program, 6:30 - 8:30. Seating is limited.
For reservations and payment by check, you may contact Charlie Vincent at 404-210-5965. Or you may purchase tickets online at http://pickensgop.org/event/a-portrait-in-leadership/. The event is sponsored by the Dawson and Pickens County Republican parties. Dinner sponsors include House Rep. Kevin Tanner, District 1 Commission Sharon Fausett, and Dawson Republican Party Chair Linda Clary Umberger.