[Skip to content] [Skip to main navigation] [Skip to user navigation] [Skip to global search] [Accessibility information] [Contact us]

Previous Next
of 39 items

About the Art: Valerie Stack

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held every year in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community. 

The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists and all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects.

This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak Valerie Stack about her work.

What is the story behind your artwork?

My current pieces are based around music and nature. I was walking by my local river one day when I spotted some reeds just rustling in the breeze and thought how much the leaves looked like birds hiding amongst the greenery. I am also fascinated by how music is presented in nature, from a group of geese sounding like a horn section, to the chirps of song thrushes and blackbirds.

  • Floragramma, Valerie Stack
    , Valerie Stack

What inspires you in day-to-day life?

I look for inspiration in everything around me; it could be a view from a cafe window, an overheard conversation on the train or reading an interesting article.

Why do you think it is important to support local artists?

Art, if it is allowed to thrive can be very inclusive as there is something about it that seems to lift, enrich and inspire. 

  • Bird Sanctuary, Valerie Stack
    , Valerie Stack

About the Art: Linda Litchfield

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held every year in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community. 

The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists and all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects.

This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak to textiles artist Linda Litchfield.

What is the story behind your artwork?

I like to work with slow processes, dyeing fabric and threads with plants and stitching by hand. I often incorporate found textiles which carry their own narrative of past use. The work grows and develops slowly in my own hands as I add to it.

What inspires you in day-to-day life?

Plants and the colour that can be extracted from and then used to dye fabric and thread. The feel of used and worn textiles. The slow accretion of texture that can be achieved with stitch. The organic, the ramshackle, the dilapidated, the incomplete.

  • Linda Litchfield, Linda Litchfield
    , Linda Litchfield

Why do you think it is important to support local artists?

Art enhances the quality and enjoyment of life of everyone. Artists devote their time to creating art. Local artists are part of your community and by living and working where they do, they improve your area. By supporting local artists, you are encouraging and assisting them to continue in practice and thus benefitting them, your community and yourself.

  • Linda Litchfield, Linda Litchfield
    , Linda Litchfield

About the Art: Zsuzsanna Pataki

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held every year in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community. 

The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists and all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects.

This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak Zsuzsanna Pataki, a cityscape artist.

  • Zsuzsanna Pataki artwork, Zsuzsanna Pataki
    , Zsuzsanna Pataki

What is the story behind your artwork?

I seek to present the history of a city, the space as it is being developed and reused over time.

I love history and the beauty of society.

  • Zsuzsanna Pataki artwork, Zsuzsanna Pataki
    , Zsuzsanna Pataki

What inspires you in day-to-day life?

If I can make someone smile, it makes my day. I want to lift up your spirits with my colours. Put you in a good mood, bring back your memories of when you travelled to the city I painted.

Why do you think it is important to support local artists?

It’s a busy marketplace online and off with lots of run-of-a-mill reproductions at retail giants, so selling art is not an easy walk. There is more to art than just a price tag. It helps us put food on the table, but it helps the local community find its voice, its tone, its colour. It connects people. It cheers them up or calms them down, comforts or brings an element of wonder.

Visual artists are the equivalent of beautiful music to your ears. You can live without it, but how much better to pick the style you like and enjoy!

  • Zsuzsanna Pataki artwork, Zsuzsanna Pataki
    , Zsuzsanna Pataki

About the Art: Peter Forder

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community. 

The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists, with all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects.

This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak to Peter Forder about his work in oil on canvas.

What is the story behind your artwork?

Bitterns: I was very excited to see bitterns at Minsmere in Suffolk. They are big birds (there is a stuffed one in the Horniman) and look rather odd, like primeval killing machines; they seem slow and heavy in flight. I’ve tried to suggest these things in the picture.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

The fox and the moon: I wanted this to be quite an elemental picture: a wild animal out hunting, alone with the moon up in Space. I also like the way a gibbous moon seems to hang in the sky like an egg.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

Allotment in June: I hope this picture, done at Grove Park, suggests the heavy lushness of a June afternoon on an allotment. Some people say not to use black in painting, but I use it like anything.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

Spring flowers with quinces: I am inspired by the flower pieces of British painter Sir Cedric Morris (1889-1981), and I think this picture has something of a period feel. It contains tulips, narcissi, bluebells, cornflowers and woad.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

Tulips with quinces and broccoli: I like the rich colours of tulips and the crazy shapes of the parrot ones. I grow them on the allotment - an easy early crop.

  • Peter Forder artwork, Peter Forder
    , Peter Forder

What inspires you in day-to-day life?

Gardens and allotments, wildlife and nature, paintings and ceramics.

Why do you think it is important to support local artists?

Arts are about people expressing themselves and hopefully touching a chord with others. This doesn’t have to be done in a grand gallery (though I like grand galleries too!).

I would like to see more people have original works of art on their walls - with the textures and brush strokes made by the artist - rather than mass reproductions. So they need to be able to see local work, and afford to buy it.

Finally, like most people, I live in the suburbs, and I suppose my pictures concern suburban things, which I think are neglected in favour of the urban, the rural and the maritime. So let’s fly the flag for art in the suburbs!

About the Art: Eleonor Rollen

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held every year in our beautiful Conservatory. It showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community.

The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists. All proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects.

This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak to textile artist Eleonor Rollen.

  • Eleonor Rollen, Eleonor Rollen
    , Eleonor Rollen

What's the story behind your work?

I enjoy creating artwork using hand embroidery. I am especially inspired by domestic architecture.

I paint the background fabric and use applique, added stitchery and foliage forms to give texture and an extra dimension to my work.

My work developed when I combined stitchery with handmade felt. Now I also experiment adding stitched to paper lamination.

  • Eleonor Rollen, Eleonor Rollen
    , Eleonor Rollen

What inspires you in day to day life?

I love to attend good art and textiles exhibitions and share ideas and knowledge with other textiles artists. I am also inspired by seeing flowers and trees blooming in parks and gardens. I enjoy travelling and my home country, Sweden, gives me inspiration.

  • Eleonor Rollen, Eleonor Rollen
    , Eleonor Rollen

Why do you think it is important to support local artists?

It is vital to support local artists to help them to develop their work. Recognition is important for their development. It is important to give them a platform to display and sell their art in the community.

  • Eleonor Rollen, Eleonor Rollen
    , Eleonor Rollen

You can see Eleonor's work in the Friends' Art Exhibition on 17-18 June.

About the Art: Daksha Patel

We spoke to Daksha Patel about her new artwork Pani, which you can see for free in the Natural History Gallery.

  • About the Art: Daksha Patel, Artist Daksha Patel speaking at the opening her exhibition Pani
    Artist Daksha Patel speaking at the opening her exhibition Pani

What was the inspiration behind Pani?

The work is about water and our relationship with it. A significant part of the human body is comprised of water, and it is central to all ecosystems. Water is a symbol of purification in many South Asian cultures, and yet it is also contaminated and a source of pollution. Water moves across boundaries - geographical, political, economic and cultural - it is a highly contested resource.

Whilst looking at maps of ecosystems across South Asia, I began thinking about how water moves across boundaries - geographical, political, economic and cultural - and how it is a shared, and consequently a highly contested resource.

This simple molecule - H2O - is central to our biological selves and permeates ecosystems. It also permeates culture, and is implicated in all kinds of cultural and religious practices; for instance the concept of holy water is found in many different cultures.

In South Asian cultures, water is often a symbol of purification through the ritual act of cleansing the body. And yet water is also routinely contaminated and polluted causing immense harm to humans and to ecosystems.

The complex relationship that we have with water was the starting point for the work.

  • About the Art: Daksha Patel, Planning Pani
    Planning Pani

How did the Horniman influence Pani?

The Horniman is a really interesting Museum because it has such a diverse range of collections. As part of my research for this project, I visited the museum stores and looked at collections of South Asian water vessels and textiles. The shapes of the water pots, and the colours and patterns upon the textiles have all influenced the final work.

But also, the way in which the Museum becomes wonderfully animated as groups of school children move through it has influenced how I think about the work. I’m interested in how they will engage with it as they move through the space.

How did Pani develop from your initial thoughts to the display in the Natural History Gallery?

Ideas evolved and changed from my original proposal as I started testing and exploring materials.

I had initially imagined the map would be printed upon paper; the idea of printing it upon cloth and of using embroidery as a way of drawing into the map developed over time. This was influenced by the collections and a desire to make links between ecosystems and the cultures of the region.

Similarly I had originally planned upon making drawings with slip (a mixture of clay and water) upon ceramic water pots. I have used slip as a drawing material in past projects and was keen to develop this further. As I was researching the impact of water pollution upon the human body (for instance high levels of arsenic in water causes rashes and blisters upon the skin), I started to think about the pots as bodies. The idea of damaging the pots by cracking/distorting their surface evolved from that.

  • About the Art: Daksha Patel, Making the pots
    Making the pots

What do you want people to think about when they see Pani?

The artwork makes connections between different things, for instance between ecosystems, water pollution and cultural traditions, or handmade crafts practices and twenty first century digital mapping technologies, or mapping symbols, drawing and embroidery.

The central theme of water is addressed indirectly - I wanted to allow space for the imagination to make its own connections. Once a piece of artwork is completed and moves into the public realm outside the artist’s studio, it takes on its own life and meanings. Everyone brings their own interpretations; has their own way of looking at it.

  • About the Art: Daksha Patel, A close up of the map appearing in Pani
    A close up of the map appearing in Pani

You can see Pani in the Natural History Gallery from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 26 November 2017.  Entry to the Gallery is free.

The Horniman is grateful to Roseberys Fine Art Auctioneers for their generous support of this display.

Sponsors

Museum Club wildlife photography

Children from Horniman Primary School come to our Museum once a week for an after-school Museum Club.

Last term they created their own photography inspired by our European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

The children wrote their own labels which explain why they chose the animal and how they decided to photograph it.

Their photographs show a talent for composition. A lot of time was taken to think about the characteristics of the animals they were photographing and how the animals act in their natural habitats. 

Here are a few examples of these artistic photographs. 

'Midsummer Night breeze!' by Maisie 

  • Midsummer Night breeze!, A baby rabbit is called a kit, a female rabbit is called a doe and a male is called a buck. I chose this animal because I want people see what would have happened when the sun goes down. It makes a beautiful contrast with the mouse and the bird. The background makes the animals stand out
, Maisie
    A baby rabbit is called a kit, a female rabbit is called a doe and a male is called a buck. I chose this animal because I want people see what would have happened when the sun goes down. It makes a beautiful contrast with the mouse and the bird. The background makes the animals stand out , Maisie

'ΜΑΎΡΟ ΚΑΙ Ξ†ΣΠΡΟ ΖΩΞ‰Σ' (black and white life) by Sophia

  • Black and White Life, I took this photo of a badger because of its large size and secretive way of living. The background shows the pattern of the badger's fur. Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the family mustelidae, which includes otters, polecats, weasels and wolverines, Sophia
    I took this photo of a badger because of its large size and secretive way of living. The background shows the pattern of the badger's fur. Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the family mustelidae, which includes otters, polecats, weasels and wolverines, Sophia

'Criaturas que Cazan' (hunting creatures) by Rosa and Angel

  • Criaturas que Cazan – hunting creatures, These animals circle in a fight for survival. The stoat, a wonderfully deft animal, edges away from the looming buzzard. We angled it so the elegant bird seems to look disdainfully down upon the lonely stoat, Rosa and Angel
    These animals circle in a fight for survival. The stoat, a wonderfully deft animal, edges away from the looming buzzard. We angled it so the elegant bird seems to look disdainfully down upon the lonely stoat, Rosa and Angel

'Awesome Elster' (awesome magpie) by Lucian

  • Awesome Elster – awesome magpie, I love the Magpie because he has a cute face.  I think he has a serious expression.  The feathers of a magpie are very soft.  Its feet are very small.  I angled it so it's looking you in the eye
, Lucian
    I love the Magpie because he has a cute face. I think he has a serious expression. The feathers of a magpie are very soft. Its feet are very small. I angled it so it's looking you in the eye , Lucian

'The Bird with Blue' by Livvy 

  • The Bird With Blue,  I was looking for an animal, then this one stood out like a shining star. I thought that it would look nice on a blue background. Blue jays are sometimes known to eat eggs or nestlings, and it is this practice that has tarnished their reputation
, Livvy
    I was looking for an animal, then this one stood out like a shining star. I thought that it would look nice on a blue background. Blue jays are sometimes known to eat eggs or nestlings, and it is this practice that has tarnished their reputation , Livvy

'The Semi-Darkness' by Caity

  • The Semi-Darkness , I chose to photograph the mongoose because it is interesting how it looks like a meerkat.  I like how pretty the fur is. I think the animal goes well with the background. I hope you like it too, Caity
    I chose to photograph the mongoose because it is interesting how it looks like a meerkat. I like how pretty the fur is. I think the animal goes well with the background. I hope you like it too, Caity

We had the Museum Club's photographs specially printed and they are now on display in our Education Centre.

Find out more about school sessions at the Horniman

Can you name five women artists?

Ask someone to name five artists and responses will likely include names such as Warhol, Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci – all male artists.

So, for Women’s History Month this March, we wanted to take part in a social media challenge put forward by the National Museum of Women in the Arts addressing the gender imbalance in how art is presented – can you name five women artists?

We wanted to share with our followers some of the fantastic objects we have in our collection made by female artists and makers.

Apolonia Nowak

These beautiful papercuts were specially made for the Horniman in 2008 as part of an exhibition we ran on the art of Polish papercuts. They are of the 'Gwiazda' type from the Kurpie region of Poland. Gwiazda means ‘star’ in Polish and these types of papercuts are made from a single sheet of coloured paper, typically featuring geometric designs.

The circular blue papercut has an asymmetrical picture of Mary and the baby Jesus in the centre, and geometrical design around them. The circular black papercut has an asymmetrical picture of a dancing couple from the Kurpie region in the centre, with a geometrical design around them.

Read more about Polish papercutting.

  • Can you name five women artists?, Papercut artworks by Apolonia Nowak
    Papercut artworks by Apolonia Nowak

Lynette Nampijimpa Granites Nelson

Lynette is a Warlpiri Indigenous Australian artist from Yuendumu, a town in the Northern Territory of Australia. Warlpiri country is east of the border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory in the Tanami Desert.

The painting below is titled 'Ngapa Jukurrpa' or 'Water Dreaming'. It is painted in white, red, ochre-yellow and black dot method typical of the Western Desert artists.

The concept of 'Dreaming' is among the most important in Indigenous Australian culture, and combines in one term (that cannot be easily translated into English) knowledge about the timeless prehistoric period of creation, the actions of supernatural beings and ancestors in the world, and the geographical features of the artist's homeland. A dreaming is part history, part theology, part literature and part geography lesson. Here is represented water falling and flowing across the land near Mount Theo.

Several other Warlpiri painters have painted their own interpretations of the 'Water Dreaming', but the works of Lynette Granites Nampijimpa are widely regarded as among the finest of all Indigenous Australian paintings from the later 20th century.

Read more about Water Dreaming.

  • Can you name five women artists?, 'Ngapa Jukurrpa' or 'Water Dreaming' by Lynette Nampijimpa Granites Nelson
    'Ngapa Jukurrpa' or 'Water Dreaming' by Lynette Nampijimpa Granites Nelson

Toula Sykopetritis

These wonderful carnival dance costumes were made by Toula Sykopetritis and worn by her granddaughter, Maria Pieri, in the Limassol carnival in Cyprus.

One represents a bunch of bananas and was made for the 1989 carnival. It includes a pill box-shaped hat with a banana attached. The other costume was made for the 1991 carnival and is shaped like a bunch of pink radishes. There are padded radish shapes in pink fabric stitched to the surface of the body area, with some pieces of green fabric attached to represent foliage.

  • Can you name five women artists?, Dance costumes for Limassol Carnival by Toula Sykopetritis
    Dance costumes for Limassol Carnival by Toula Sykopetritis

Buffy Cordero-Suina

Storytellers are important traditional roles in many Native American societies. This figure, from the Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico, is a depiction of a Cochiti elder, mouth agape as the story unfolds, with children seated on his legs.

The first Cochiti potter to create a story-teller was Helen Codero, who was at the forefront of the Cochiti artistic revival in the mid-twentieth century. She felt that pottery vessels were not expressive enough of the Cochiti way of life and so began to make figurines of her grandfather and the stories he told, depicting the way in which the oral histories of the Cochiti people bind generations together.

This piece, produced in the early 1990s, was made by her granddaughter Buffy Cordero-Suina, a noted potter who produced many story-tellers.

Following her grandmother's death in 1994, she stopped producing pottery altogether.

  • Can you name five women artists?, Ceramic Storyteller by Buffy Cordero-Suina
    Ceramic Storyteller by Buffy Cordero-Suina

Olive Blackham

This wooden string puppet is painted white with a papier mache headdress highlighted with gold pigment. The puppet wears a costume suggesting a Chinese or Japanese robe embroidered with two cranes, butterflies and flowers. Various strings attach it to a wooden suspension bar.

It was made by Olive Blackham (1899 – 2002) who has been described as a pioneer and a visionary, who elevated puppetry to a high art form. She lived near Birmingham where she set up her own full-time professional Puppet Theatre - The Roel Puppet Theatre – which was very successful.

Read more about Olive Blackham and her Puppet Theatres.

  • Can you name five women artists?, Wooden string puppet by Olive Blackham
    Wooden string puppet by Olive Blackham

Join us throughout the month to share stories of women artists using the hashtag #5WomenArtists on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About the Art: Marco Urso

As part of our European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, we chat to Marco Urso about his wildlife photography. 

  • About the Art: Marco Urso, 'Missed', Marco Urso
    'Missed', Marco Urso

Tell us the story behind your photo 'Missed'.

Every summer for the last five years, I have spent time at Kuril Lake in Kamchatka. Year after year my idea is to concentrate my photography on uncommon situations. These only occur when you follow a bear around and watch him in his daily life.

The bear in this photograph was a young one and therefore inexperienced. He caught the salmon but relaxed soon afterwards. The salmon 'felt' that and managed to escape, leaving the bear with a strange expression.

How long did you have to wait for this shot?

Quite a bit, I have seen something similar before but I wanted the salmon parallel to the surface of the water so I tried for almost a day.

Did you use any particular equipment?

Not really, a tripod and my normal 500 mm lens.

What are the difficulties of wildlife photography you face?

The challenges are several. Weather, technical equipment problems and recently the misbehaviour of some photographers that forget they have to respect the environment and the species.

What would you like people to think about when they see your work?

That I was looking for something different, unusual and less stereotyped. I often try to show the feeling and personality in animals’ behaviour.

How long have you been a photographer and how did you get started in your career?

I have been photographing since the age of 14 but only seriously since 2010. I started publishing for magazines, writing articles, organising workshop and participating in competitions.

What would you advise someone wanting to start taking photos of wildlife in their local environment?

That there is a lot to see and take pictures of without travelling a great distance. It is important to have self-assessment, so there is discipline and a selected view.

What projects are you working on now?

I like bears both browns and polar. I like to photograph their interaction and the cubs. I have just published a book on Polar Bear with WWF: the Lord of the Arctic and soon there will be a second book about the brown bear.

See more of Marco's work on his website and see 'Missed' on display at the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition until 15 January 2017. 

About the Art: Jan van der Greef

As part of our European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, we chat to Jan van der Greef about his wildlife photography. 

  • About the Art: Jan van der Greef, 'Mystical Sunset', Jan van der Greef
    'Mystical Sunset', Jan van der Greef

Tell us the story behind your photo 'Mystical Sunset' in this exhibition.

One evening, the sunset nearby our house in the middle of the Netherlands became suddenly very colourful and dynamic due to the sky being filled with clouds and heavy winds.

We drove our car towards a nearby river and while my wife was driving I made an artistic image by using long shutter speeds in order to capture the mystical feeling of that moment.

Photographing from a moving car with longer shutter speeds needs fine-tuning depending on the speed of the car, the movement of the camera, the objective 70-200mm zoom @192mm and the shutter speed (0.5s).

What are the difficulties of wildlife photography you face?

First of all, I typically need quite some time in an area to settle down to feel connected. This is a prerequisite for the artistic (impressionistic, abstract) style of photography.

Furthermore, given my physical challenge, the outcome of having polio at an early age, it is sometimes difficult to find solutions for transport to remote places.

What would you like people to think about when they see your work?

I would like them to stop thinking and start feeling.

How long have you been a photographer and how did you get started in your career?

As a child, I became interested in nature and since my mother was an amateur photographer, she 'infected' me with the photography-virus. It really started off when I got my first camera - a Konica C35 in my teenage years.

What would you advise someone wanting to start taking photos of wildlife in their local environment?

Study the animal's behaviour first. Observe and observe some more. Then decide how you would like to capture the essence of the animal or landscape. The focus more on possibilities and not on probabilities. Let your own interest and passion be your guide, forget about rules.

Focus more on possibilities and not on probabilities. Let your own interest and passion be your guide. Forget about rules.

What have you been up to since the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 competition?

I am currently working on capturing the essence of wildlife in Africa, a multi-year project. I will also continue my hummingbird project in South America hopefully next year.

What are your favourite scenes to photograph?

I love mystical scenes that give the opportunity for everybody to initiate their imagination.

See more of Jan's work on his website and see 'Mystical Sunset' on display at the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition until 15 January 2017. 

Previous Next
of 39 items