RBSA: Our Collection Our Archive, and You

01 November 2013

A Conversation with Chloë Lund and Hang Nguyen

This week, Archive Team Volunteer, Becky Sexton met with curators of the upcoming Archive exhibition, Chloë Lund and Hang Nguyen.

Their exhibition, RBSA: Our Collection, Our Archive and You (11 November — 23 November 2013) draws attention to a diverse selection of works acquired in the past five years, exploring the relationship between the Collection and the people of Birmingham, both past and present.

While researching this exhibition, Chloë and Hang had a fantastic response to their request for contributions from RBSA Members, artists, and visitors. After Jo Naden RBSA learned that a cast of her sculpture, Cocoa Pod was selected, she made an additional cast of another part of the sculpture to feature in the exhibition. As Chloë describes: ‘It’s made of loads of tiny cocoa beans and Jo has said that we can have it as a touch piece for the exhibition’. As well as Jo’s cast, there will be additional objects on display which can also be touched including three of Viv Astling’s touch stones. Hang says that the interactive features aim to add another dimension to the exhibition and emphasise that each work, object wise, is still a living breathing thing and has its own story. Other interactive features include a response wall where visitors are encouraged to write their comments.

Chloë and Hang put a call out in the RBSA Newsletter about a print of the Moseley School of Art. Chloë says: ‘it’s a commemorative print of when the school was shut down, given to the RBSA by Henry Bartlett. We didn’t know much about what the connections were so we put a call out in the Newsletter…we’ve had quite a few Members writing in with their responses and memories which has been fantastic.’

There are a number of demonstrations which will run parallel with the exhibition including a one-off walk around the local canals where Paul Hipkiss RBSA will chat about his prints, inspired by local places. This will be followed by a print-making demonstration back in the Gallery. This will complement exhibition themes such as topographical and historical Birmingham and how the Collection reflects changes in Birmingham’s history and artists.

This exhibition launches the RBSA’s year-long bicentenary project, Celebrating 200 years of Art, Artists and Audiences in Birmingham. According to Chloë both exhibitions show people the importance of their role in telling ‘our story’ and that their contributions will benefit generations to come. After all, as Hang points out, the works from the Archive are there to be seen and are for ‘people to engage with…it’s always going to grow and develop through Member’s contributions but without the public’s help we wouldn’t be able to do that further.’

Becky Sexton


Curators Chloë Lund and Hang Nguyen.

Free demonstrations and events

• Student Night: Friday 15 November, 6.00 – 7.30pm.
• Artist Walk & Demonstration with Paul Hipkiss: Saturday 16 November, 12.00 – 3.00pm.
• Meet the Curators & Demonstration: Saturday 23 November, 11.00am – 1.00pm and 2.00 – 4.00pm