Monday, 16 February 2015

Pitt Rivers Museum inspires Rycotewood Furniture Centre and Langtree School students

The Pitt Rivers Museum  has inspired a new exhibition by emerging furniture design talent. From 29 January to 15 March you can enjoy the new case display of work on the Lower Gallery by second-year Foundation Degree students at Rycotewood Furniture Centre  at City of Oxford College.

  Foundation degree students from Rycotewood Furniture Centre © Pitt Rivers Museum
The rather intriguing title of the exhibit is 'Containing…', a theme that encourages us to consider not just the everyday importantce of useful containers, for food or possessions, but also the containment of more transient commodities such as light, or emotions. The students’ work is inspired by artefacts or functional ‘types’ of objects that caught their imagination when visiting the galleries.  The students have used a range of materials in their work, including concrete, metal, leather  and reclaimed timber, which requires the development of a variety of new processes and skills.
'Containing...' display in the lower gallery © Pitt Rivers Museum

This exhibition is the third in a series of displays showcasing the work of Rycotewood students at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Rycotewood is a renowned Furniture Centre, located at the City of Oxford College, which teaches the principles and practice of handcrafted furniture making.  Its emphasis on design, innovation and the mastery of practical skills and understanding of materials make it a perfect partner for the Need Make Use project here at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Need Make Use is a Heritage Lottery Funded project which, through a series of collections-based public events, workshops and displays, encourages visitors to appreciate the ways in which human creativity and ingenuity has driven developments in design, craftsmanship and technologies.   

second display, in a nearby case, shows work produced by Year 10 Product Design students from Langtree School in Woodcote, Berkshire. Led by jewellery designer-maker Kate Coker, students were taught repousse and chasing metalwork techniques in their D&T classroom at school, using their facilities. They created copper amulets inspired by the votive offerings and amulets on display.

Heating copper at Langtree School © PRM
Learning repousse metalwork techniques 
 Amazing Amulets display © Pitt Rivers Museum

 Copper Amulet by Robyn Sedwell © PRM

You can visit their delightful display from 15 January until 8 March on the Lower Gallery of the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Monday, 9 February 2015

A Flag for the Unspoken: Art performance and workshop by Nathalie Bikoro at the Pitt Rivers

Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro, a leading international artist from Gabon, was invited to create a performance in the Pitt Rivers Museum as part of the adult education programme and Black History Month

Nathalie Bikiro at the Pitt Rivers Museum © Pitt Rivers Museum.  Taken by Jon Eccles.
The idea behind this event was to create a space in the Museum for a Non-Western and African contemporary artist to respond to the collections in relation to the theme of ‘Black Histories', to create new ‘narratives’ and bring Pitt Rivers Museum African collections into a contemporary art discourse on postcolonialism, diaspora, migration, creolised identity, heritage, memory and homeland.

Nathalie’s performance, ‘Les Statues Meurent Aussi II' (Statues Also Die II - after Alain Resnais and Chris Marker) engaged with the history of the Pitt Rivers Museum and referenced the 1953 film Les Statues Meurent Aussi that featured a number of African masks and sculptures from General Pitt-Rivers’ private collection.
Flag for the Unspoken © Pitt Rivers Museum.  Taken by Jon Eccles.

For a description of the performance please read the article 'A Flag for the Unspoken: Nathalie Bikiro at the Pitt Rivers Museum - Yvette Gresle' in Numéro Cinq, an international online literary and art journal.

Following the performance, Nathalie ran an afternoon workshop with tutor Rachel Payne and her students from Oxford Brookes University Artist Teacher Scheme. Nathalie worked with students to engage with objects in Pitt Rivers Museum collections to construct their own narratives, and to combine responses to objects with personal stories and images from newspapers and magazines.
In this workshop and performance Nathalie is asking us to question supposed ‘fixed’ narratives, perhaps those of the Museum itself, or colonial history, to think for ourselves and hear ‘other’ voices speak in the Museum.

Flag for the Unspoken © Pitt Rivers Museum.  Taken by Jon Eccles.