RBSA: Our Collection, Our Archive, and You (2)

29 November 2013

Post-exhibition and Canalside reflections

As the latest RBSA Archive exhibition is taken down, Archive Team Volunteer, Becky Sexton reflects on a successful few weeks.

When planning this exhibition the curators, Chloë Lund and Hang Nguyen, made it very clear that as well as exploring the relationship between the RBSA Collection and the people of Birmingham one of their key aims was to bring new people to the RBSA and ensure that on leaving the Gallery the majority of visitors would have learned something new about the Archives. Overall, it received a fantastic public response with a good turn out to all events.

The student friendly event (on 15 November) brought a host of new faces to the RBSA; many for the first time. After a chat with the curators the firm student favourites that seemed to emerge were Trevor Denning’s RBSA Gallery, New Street and John Salt’s Pink Trailer. A favourite among Birmingham locals was Christchurch Passage by James Priddey PPRBSA as it brought back fond memories of the demolished passage.

The well attended canal walk led by Paul Hipkiss RBSA (on 16 November) provided a fascinating insight into the inspirations behind his prints. Paul talked us through his observations from geometric shapes, reflections in the water and the canalside regeneration. One attendee shared his experiences with the group, having travelled canals on his narrowboat for over thirty years, and estimated that by boat it would take '2. 5 hrs to get to the bottom' of the canal.  See more pictures here.

The public responses on the bunting wall were predominantly positive with some instances of past personal experiences to the works on show being shared. One visitor provided more information on Samuel Lines’ picture of The Larches, a house owned by the Galton family, to say that Humphrey Repton, a landscape architect, had originally proposed an alternative design which 'The Galtons rejected[…]in favour of a gothic-style building.' Chloë says ‘these new details are invaluable and can be researched further by members of the Archive Team or lead to new areas of enquiry.'

Another response was from exhibiting artist Dylan Waldron RBSA who initially painted the portrait of his father for an exhibition in 1984. Around thirty years later this is the second time he has seen it on display and, coincidentally, he is the same age as his father was in the painting. 

Overall, a fantastic launch for the RBSA’s year-long bicentenary project, Celebrating 200 years of Art, Artists and Audiences in Birmingham in 2014.

Artis walk. 16 Nov 2

16 Nov photo

Two pictures taken during the walk, courtesy of Paul Hipkiss and Frank Gresham.