The theme for the Open Art Competition 2014 in Ragley Hall Gallery was Spirit of Place. Curated by Dawn Harris, Artist in Residence at Ragley Hall, the exhibition investigated all the tangible physical aspects of a place including monuments, boundaries, rivers, woods, architectural style, pathways and views as well as the invisible weave of culture; stories, art, memories, beliefs, histories and the presence of people past and present.
Judges Wendy Law (Director Turning Point West Midlands), George Wagstaffe, artist, and Dawn Harris (Director Harris Visual Arts, Artist in Residence, Ragley Hall) made a selection of 54 out of over 200 artists to present their works.
The overall winner of the Ragley Open Art Competition is Brian Cook with small abstract sculpture “2 Soldiers in a Supportive Conversation” (concrete, oak, WW1 dog tag, replica trench whistle). There were four highly commended awards. Denise Startin, for her work “Charlotte’s Locks”, Linda Davies for “Bawley Bay”, a large mixed media on board, Janet Rose for her stitched textile piece called “Walled Garden”, and Janet Tryner for “Field C”, a mixed media work.
My work on the exhibition, “The Statement”, is hand and machine embroidery and paint on textile. I have imprinted my own footprints on the cotton fabric and place them into the embroidered shoes. The footprints represent myself, some sort of the proof of my natural existence. The shoes put my existence into the social and cultural context. The embroidered statement says: ‘The home is where I am standing’.
Is that a true? Is it possible to feel at home everywhere in the world? Is it possible to be yourself even if you are detached from your roots, tradition, language and everything that was well known to you? Can you be at home among the strangers? Those are just few questions that I’ve asked myself, though I still don’t have an answer yet.
Ragley Gallery & Studios