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Successful Art Happens campaign will bring Paula Rego to Hastings Exhibition of new work planned for Jerwood Gallery this autumn

Jerwood Gallery has successfully raised the £25,000 required to bring a show of new work by world renowned artist, Dame Paula Rego to Hastings in autumn 2017.

They partnered with Art Fund to raise the money needed to bring the legend of figurative art to East Sussex on the scale she deserves via an Art Happens crowd funding campaign over the last month (launched 22 March).

Those who donated to the campaign will receive special rewards including, including a beautiful ink stamp featuring a detail from one of Paula Rego’s nursery rhyme works; a The Boy Who Loved The Sea exhibition poster signed by the artist; and an exclusive and intimate screening of the BBC’s film Paula Rego: Secrets & Stories, followed by a Q&A with Paula Rego’s son Nick Willing, who directed and edited the film.

Paula Rego: The Boy Who Loved the Sea and Other Stories (21 October 2017 – 7 January 2018) is a body of new works, including paintings, drawings and sculptures, which have been inspired by the folk story The Boy Who Loved the Sea.

Paula Rego Rowing from Ericeira 2014 (c) the artist. Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

Paula Rego Rowing from Ericeira 2014 (c) the artist. Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art

Now in her 80s, Paula Rego is one of the most significant artists working today. Best known as a painter of stories, she was born and brought up by the coast in Portugal and has had a fascination with the sea since her childhood. Ships and sailors, pirates and mermaids, with all of their legendary and symbolic associations, are frequently seen in her work. The Boy who Loved the Sea is her most recent series of pictures and provides the starting point for this exhibition that will investigate both her genius for story-telling and her strengths as an artist.

Drawing is key to Rego’s work. She begins with the help of family and friends who act as models for the characters in her pictures. More recently she has also worked from manikins (she prefers to call them ‘dollies’) that are made under her direction by granddaughter Carmen, adding a curious – and sometimes sinister – new quality to her work.

Also in this exhibition are some of Rego’s nursery rhyme series, iconic works inspired by the sea, and a series of eleven pastel drawings made in 2007 but never shown until this year. These show a solitary woman seated on a couch in a range of expressive poses and are packed with unspoken drama and emotion. Rego calls these drawings The Depression Series and they will be shown alongside five startling new self-portraits made when she was recovering from a bad fall and head wound. Seen together, these drawings provide an unflinching self-analysis that shows her to be at the height of her artistic powers.

Exhibition Curator Colin Wiggins says “A new series of work by Paula Rego is always a cause for celebration. ‘The Boy Who Loved the Sea’ is her most recent exploration of a subject that has always fascinated her and we are delighted that Dame Paula wishes that her work from this latest series should be given its first UK exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, with its unique seaside setting.”

credit: Alex Bland

credit: Alex Bland

Jerwood Gallery Director Liz Gilmore says “Crowd funding is so important because it helps encourage conversation about the exhibition and awareness about the role of museums and galleries, including the true cost of exhibitions and the way in which people can be involved making of exhibitions.  Most importantly, it’s enabled us to bring such an eminent artist as Paula to Hastings – bringing world class art and a world class artist to the town. None of it would have been possible without the public’s support.”

For more information follow @jerwoodgallery on Twitter and visit www.jerwoodgallery.org

1001048 ©National Trust ImagesCaroline Irby
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