lydiaandcolinchroniclesArtist Colin Riches and writer Lydia Fullylove have compiled a chronicle of the passing of the four seasons on the Western Yar estuary, which is now on display in the West Wight.

Their exploration of the area took place via visual images, poetry and diary observations. This body of work details their journey through this watery landscape and takes into account the experiences of the folk who work on the land.

‘The River and the Sky’, arranged by Dimbola curator Rachel Flynn, can be seen at Dimbola Gallery, Freshwater until 4th February 2015. There were certainly some fascinating insights into life on the land. During the journey the owners of King’s Manor decided to discontinue grazing their herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle and having become quite used to seeing the cattle within the landscape those undertaking the project found that the cattle were missed when no longer there.

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A number of workshops were included in the project. Children from Yarmouth and Shalfleet Primary Schools were among those taking part.

In collaboration with a preview evening of the exhibition was the launch of a book entitled ‘Estuary’ featuring Lydia’s collection of poetry and prose compiled in conjunction with the project as well as Colin’s art work.

Although Colin has now relocated to Cornwall he returned to Dimbola for the exhibition opening and he and Lydia talked of their experiences on their journey along and around the River Yar.

Dr Brian Hinton MBE Chairman of the Trustees of Dimbola congratulated both Colin and Lydia on their work which shows what can be learned about the estuary even if you are used to seeing it on a daily basis.

Brian also said that 2015 would mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Julia Margaret Cameron a pioneer amongst early photographers and whose home and workplace was at Dimbola between 1860 and 1875. Dimbola was named after the family’s tea plantations in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

Therefore, it is apposite that one of the first exhibitions for 2015 would feature an artist of Sri Lankan descent, who at present has work featured in the current show at St. Martin’s in the Field, London. ‘Retracing the Eye: Giving a Voice to the Voiceless’ is a new collaborative exhibition of etches, wood-cuts and photography by visual artists, Sunara Begum and Dunstan Perera. These two British artists of Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan descent look at the work of Julia Margaret Cameron. Their exhibition explores, researches and collects images taken by Cameron in Ceylon in order to re-imagine the life of her silent subjects over a century later. Both artists stage a new interpretation of Cameron’s work by engaging the local community in a new relationship with the images, whilst documenting their stories and revealing their hidden narratives.

Brian was also proud to announce that Dimbola had secured a major feature for the Spring of 2015. World renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz’s collection entitled ‘Pilgrimage’ will take pride of place in the gallery. This body of work is linked to people she admires and respects including Charles Darwin and to this end Annie visited Dimbola recently and was impressed by what she saw.

At present ‘Pilgrimage’ is touring the USA.

Report by Alan and Suzanne Whitewood

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