Kids Company Exhibition

Kids Company

Our Many Faces Exhibition at the RWA 

We grow up acquiring a range of personalities to enable us to adapt and survive the different environments and situations we are in. ‘Our Many Faces’ discuss the different masks that individuals use when dealing with the outside world. We work with the notion that we all wear masks, all the time, some habitually, some self-consciously.

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 ‘Our Many Faces’ is an exhibition of artwork and sculpture created by children and young people from Kids Company, in collaboration with The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) courageously exploring the positive and negative aspects of the self, the different masks we wear and what’s behind the mask once its lifted. The children bravely demonstrate the choices and power we can gain of having the self-awareness of these different personalities we all have and the different environments we choose to bring them out to play in.

The partnership between the RWA and Kids Company is based on the belief that the practice of art in the context of compassionate human relationships can be life changing for vulnerable children. The staff at Kids Company are therapeutically trained and support children through potential trauma recovery. The staff and volunteers at the RWA have brought their artistic experience to the project and share a commitment to enrich and transform children’s lives.

This exhibition celebrates the astounding ability of children and young people to create art from adversity.


Most people consider their personality as fixed and unchanging; in Psychotherapy there is an understanding that we can operate out of different parts of ourselves. These parts (or ‘sub-personalities’), which can come from the different roles we assume in life or from ways we have learned to behave in different situations, can behave and think in very different ways from one another.

Just think about the part of you who is a ‘Lover’ and the part that is ‘The Good Parent’: each has its own way of behaving, thinking, and being in the world. If you let the Good Parent sub-personality choose your summer holiday, you might end up having a week in Disneyland, while the Lover sub-personality would prefer a romantic weekend in Paris!

The more we look, the more sub-personalities we can find, and we discover some of them have very different motives, needs and ideas about how your life should be run! This can cause internal conflict, which can make life very difficult, especially if you get identified with a particular part. Understanding the different parts of ourselves enables us to stand back and become conscious of how these different parts operate. This can be very empowering and give you back conscious control of internal dynamics, which can be so tricky and confusing if you are not aware of them!

Once you become aware of how these parts operate you can stand back and get an objective view of reality and choose which part to give your attention to. Some of your subpersonalities may have been formed in childhood and are way past their ‘sell by date’ and could do with a review or a bit of transformative work. The ‘Stroppy adolescent’ sub personality might have been very helpful in helping you formulate your own ideas and break away from your family, but its behavior in your current life might be unconsciously destructive in relationships at work.

One subpersonality we all have to deal with is the Internal Critic, which can be extremely judgemental of others and hugely critical of ourselves, undermining our best efforts, berating us for ‘mistakes’ and sapping self confidence and esteem.  At the root of every sub personality is a quality, the Internal Critic might ‘bring out the best in us ’or help us to discern what is useful in what is offered by others. When its negative or cynical thinking gets out of hand however, it is important to become conscious of it and evaluate its contribution to our lives. Recognising and accepting, or transforming these parts gives us more control and choice in how we live our lives.

True Self and False Self

In early childhood, if something authentic (e.g. an essential quality or our true-Self) is not acknowledged and mirrored back to us by our parents, we presume it is unimportant so we repress it and develop ego structures that will help us cope without it.

True self and false self are terms introduced into psychoanalysis by D. W. Winnicott in 1960. Winnicott used the term “True Self” to describe a sense of self based on spontaneous authentic experience, a sense of “all-out personal aliveness” or “feeling real”.

The “False Self” was, for Winnicott, a defense designed to protect the True Self by hiding it. He thought that in health, a False Self was what allowed a person to present a “polite and mannered attitude” in public but he saw more serious emotional problems in patients who seemed unable to feel spontaneous, alive or real to themselves in any part of their lives, yet managed to put on a successful “show of being real”. Such patients suffered inwardly from a sense of being empty, dead or “phoney”.

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Back From the Front Events Programme

To accompany the Back From the Front Exhibitions the RWA have scheduled a programme of fascinating events to give participants a greater insight to these challenging, thought provoking  and often moving exhibitions.

Back From the Front – Art, Memory and the Aftermath of War explores the theme of conflict and memory across a series of interrelated exhibitions, including Brothers in Art: John and Paul Nash; Shock and Awe, Re-membering I, Re-membering II and The Death of Nature.

Shock and Awe: Contemporary Artists at War and Peace ‘Walk and Talk
Free with exhibition entry

Professor Paul Gough RWA will lead an informal ‘walk and talk’ tour of this challenging, diverse and fascinating exhibition.

Brothers in Art: John and Paul Nash ‘Walk and Talk’
Free with exhibition entry

An informal tour of the Nash show led by exhibition curator Gemma Brace.

Art and War: Truth, Propaganda and Protest Half-Day Workshop | £10 | £5 Friends, RWA, Artist Network Members and Students

Looking at the wider themes of the exhibition, this half-day workshop will combine gallery-based talks with an illustrated lecture led by exhibiting artists and Dr Grace Brockington, senior lecturer in Art History, University of Bristol.

Shock and Awe: In discussion…
Free with exhibition entry

Join Dr Hazel Brown, Project Research Assistant (UWE First World War Centenary projects) and exhibiting artists, for an informal, gallery-based discussion.

Landscape and the things behind: The Places and Paintings of the Nash Brothers; Art History Day School£30


This study day led by Dr Justine Hopkins, offers an opportunity to explore the paintings of the Nash brothers. The day will include three lectures and a tour of the show.

Download the full programme here BFTF Whats On
For further information and how to book please visit

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A Chat with Professor Paul Gough Curator of ‘Shock and Awe; Contemporary Artist at War and Peace’

Marketing Manager Rebecca quizzed Professor Paul Gough RWA about his motivations for Shock and Awe; Contemporary Artists at War and Peace.

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Paul Gough, some answers 

  1. What inspired you to take on this subject and this project?

  •  I wanted to reflect on the impact of war on two renowned British painters – John and Paul Nash – and set their work in the context of today’s artists who had also been drawn to the challenging themes of conflict, peace and reconciliation.
  •  Bristol is possibly creating more cultural reflection on the legacy of the First World War than any other British city outside London, and I wanted the RWA to be part of that creative wave.
  •  Like every British university, UWE Bristol has many impressive artists, musicians, writers and historians among its staff and alumni – through the Bristol 2014 project I wanted to create a platform for the work of a diverse group of practitioners. With Arts Council funding we were able to commission some fascinating and unique pieces.
  •  There are many academicians from the RWA who wanted to be part of this project and I knew they would respond with insight and enthusiasm.
  •  The publisher John Sansom and his team have shown support for the wider project, and how could I refuse his unalloyed interest in promoting British art of yesterday, but also tomorrow.


2. What are you working on currently?


A suite of drawings originating from a recent visit to Hanging Rock in central Victoria SE Australia; hatching a new book idea with the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham and with the National Trust; slowly drafting a series of lectures and papers in the UK in November each linked with the Armistice; and a clutch of ideas for creative projects linked to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign. And trying to write a book chapter on ‘The Sounds of Silence’ with one of the RWA exhibitors, Katie Davies.


3. How did you select the artists and artwork?


We are showing some of the most innovative and insightful artists dealing with the charged issues of conflict, violence, recovery, and peaceful protest. They are so good they virtually selected themselves. Talking to each of them over the past year, visiting their places of work, and getting to know them and see their idea evolve has been one of the joys of my role as curator. I have learned  a great deal from working with them but also with the staff at the RWA, whose professionalism has been so rewarding.


4.       Do you have a favourite piece from the exhibition?

Not really; having been part of the team that hung the show in the past few days I’m taken by the overall unity of the main galleries – its essential monochromatic, serious nature, and the dramatic events that slowly reveals itself in each piece of work.

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  1. Is there a piece you wanted to put in the exhibition but couldn’t? 

Not really: I tend to overhang an exhibition, to put too much in, so it was good to work with a hanging team – including the inestimable talents of Gemma Brace and Alison Bevan – who advise on the placing so that we made the most out of each individual piece and each juxtaposition.

It was also good to be able to show a balanced number of works by new artists and those Academicians who play such a part in the life of the RWA.

I would have liked to have shown a sculptural piece by Michael Sandle RA who has been a major figure in my own practice ever since I was a post-graduate student at the Royal College of Art. But if I can pull it off I’m hoping to stage further shows in London and there may be an opportunity to do so then and there.

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Our Highlights from The Power of the Sea

Days before the new Back From the Front programme of exhibitions open the staff take a moment to look back and reflect on their favorite bits from The Power of the Sea exhibition and events programme.

Rosie Dolton (Customer Services Assistants)

“My highlight of the Power of the sea exhibition was the sculpture by Annie Cattrell ‘Currents’ I really liked the way it looked like it was made of glass and had the appearance of being heavy but actually when you moved it  was made of a light plastic making the piece seem ephemeral. It was a beautiful and seemed to shimmer like the sea. I also liked the way the piece was displayed like the artist had cut a square out of the sea and placed it on the gallery floor and the viewr was able to walk around the piece. It seemed to it freeze a moment in time and captures a movement of the sea which is usually so fleeting. It is a poetic artwork which makes the viewer reflect.”

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Annie Cattrell Currents

Rose Mazillius (Customer Services Manager)

“It’s very difficult to think of just one highlight over the course of The Power of the Sea. We had so many fantastic visitor comments, stunning artworks old and new, as well as some unforgettable events in the RWA calendar. For me though, it would have to be the first time I saw Kurt Jackson’s ‘An Mor Kernewek’. I studied Kurt’s work at school and loved his free use of paint on the canvas and the way he captures the light of the Cornish coastline. During install, I walked upstairs and was met by this expanse of blue sea, as though I were looking out of a giant window over the ocean. This moment stuck with me and is why I’d have to say it is my top highlight from what has been a truly unforgettable exhibition.”

Kurt Jackson Image copy

Kurt Jackson An Mor Kernewek

Gemma Brace (Exhibitions Manager)

My favourite memory from The Power of the Sea was working alongside Janette Kerr and Ben Rowe on the day the contemporary work was placed. After months of seeing images of the work and discussing the practicalities it was a huge sense of excitement to have all the works together in one room and to finally see how they worked alongside one another. You can never really tell what something will look like until it arrives and you can see it in the scale of the galleries – especially on a sunny day with the light flooding in through the roof lights.

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The Power of the Sea during the install.

Rebecca Clay (Marketing Manager)

“My favourite thing from the Power of the sea is slightly different as it isn’t a thing at all. I loved the Bristol Art Weekender and all the amazing events that were scheduled alongside The Power of the Sea over the course of the weekend. It was during a time when I was very new to Bristol and it was an absolute delight to be part of something so big and exciting. The events we held at the gallery were really quite busy and the whole place had a certain buzz about it, the glorious weather didn’t hurt either. “

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Diary of an Install Part 2

This week we are de-installing The Power of the Sea exhibition and beginning the installation of the Back From the Front Exhibition Series. Ralf Togneri has been helping our Technical Team and is keeping a blog of the progress, here is the second part of his entry.

Day two of the de-installation ( can I just call it ‘striking’ as in striking the set after a theatrical show?).  Emma and I arrive to find things as we left them, well not quite.  Tristan, Ben, Nick and Rachel had started the ‘strike’ once more early in the morning while I was lying in bed waiting for my alarm to go off).  Yup, even more was removed and the first of the major works had been transported down stairs and secure in its transit case.  It was heavy before, now it was a six person lift – and strain!

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It is in the box, now what?  I didn’t manage a photograph of the loading into the waiting van as I was one of the six people lifting the crate and art-work, which was soon on its way back to Birmingham.  Time for tea – the universal pick me up!

More pictures taken down, wrapped and packaged, put in a waiting area from where they will be taken to the waiting vans and back safely home.  Large glass-fibre constructions dismantled – beware fibre-glass rash and fine strands somehow getting under your finger nails.  The trick to dismantling the piece is double spanner action – in quite a lather by the time it was all done! (Still itching though – my arms more than anywhere else (reminds me of putting insulation in the loft – ended up throwing the clothes I wore to do the job in the bin – the little strands just persist).

The day continued at a pace and by 3 o’clock the walls were all cleared.  All over bar the packing!

Many different types of packing are used – bubble wrap in industrial amounts is the most fun.  It pops all the time as you walk on it.  It needs to come in big quantities because some of the art-work is BIG (as the next photo shows).

An enjoyable couple of days.  Lots of art-works safely ‘struck’, packaged and despatched.  Six very happy and tired people.  But we are ahead of schedule!  This gives a bit of leeway in the event of unforeseen problems – and there is always the potential for unforeseen problems!


Everything moves on – final activity tomorrow (Wednesday) to despatch the works to their respective  homes, with a clear gallery before all the screw-holes are filled, the walls repainted, plinths check and painted and new plinths built for some stunning new works for the next show.  The hanging starts and the whole magical process of changing a bare, almost sterile set of galleries into colourful, challenging environment for visitors to come and make their own minds up about what is happening in the arts at the oldest art gallery in Bristol.

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Diary of an Install

This week we are de-installing The Power of the Sea exhibition and beginning the installation of the Back From the Front Exhibition Series. Ralf Togneri has been helping our Technical Team and is keeping a blog of the progress, here is his entry from Monday.

“The Power of the Sea Exhibition closed yesterday.  Today, Monday the usual Academy closed day, found me and a new volunteer Emma, coming to help with the Tech aspects.  (Tech is a form of organised chaos – removing works from the walls, packing, and packaging works, meeting their timetables of the companies who collect the works and take them back to the galleries from which they were borrowed)

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We arrived almost at the same time, about 10ish to find that Tristan and Ben, the gallery’s regular technical guys had arrived around 7 am, supported by professional technicians, Rachel and Nick, to start things moving.  The first photo shows the main galleries at around 10 with trestle-tables in place, packing cases to carry art works home and handling equipment already in place!


Taking art down is easier than putting it up – first of all you know where it is (no ‘taste’ councils deciding which piece goes where), the problems of hanging a piece of work have already been thought about and solved (all you have to remember is the order of putting it up and reversing it), Tristan and Ben have a schedule of art leaving the RWA (priorities already set) so it is al straight forward and simple!!  Oh yeah, when you need five bodies to lift a massive and extremely valuable piece from the wall and only four can be found; when screws that went in easily do not want to come out at all; when you need foam blocks to protect the art work from the floor and vice versa and none is around.  Oh yeah, it is simple!


Amazingly, by around 12.30 when we stop for lunch – Tristan, Ben, Rachel and Nick had been there since 7 or so, not such a strain for Emma or me – a major number of works were off the walls, protected, mirror-mounts removed (the side mounts that secure work to the walls), useless screws thrown away – see photo.


Ah, refreshed, ready for the afternoon session.  The modern works already off the walls are being wrapped, some of the major borrowed works are crated and now we start of the LARGE and super valuable works.  This time supervised and supported by a a member of the lending gallery.  Conservation handling and management of removals after a condition report is written – thank goodness for the Art Handling training run by the RWA!  Satisfied, the lending gallery member monitors as we remove the work from the wall, supported at all times by physical labour, lowered gently onto polystyrene protective blocks, mirror-mounts removed, handling and packaging notes checked and then packaging using the correct for each work.  It is steady rather than slow, deliberate actions thought about and taken while all the time the whole piece of work is preserved and conserved.  This includes not only the work itself but also its frame, and if appropriate its glazing too.  Once the conservator is satisfied packing can continue.  Physically tiring holding a valuable work safely once the wall mounts are removed – emotionally worrying if you slip or move it too quickly.  It is the old 99% steady and 1% panic.  But each piece is safely stowed in the correct transit packaging, take a breather and start again.

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Emma, a music graduate who plays oboe, has had an enjoyable and eye-opening day.  “I have learned so much about art and the whole gallery way of doing things.  It has been an interesting and enjoyable day”.  I break off and go back to my usual day and leave the rest of the team working away.  Tomorrow morning Emma and I will be back with the others to move things on until the galleries are empty, ready to be spruced up before hanging the next show.  Now that is another story.”

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Meet the Academicians

The RWA is one of five Royal Academies of Great Britain and Ireland and has a maximum membership of 150 Academicians elected by their peers. Earlier this year 6 artists were elected as Royal West of England Academicians, This week we look at the work and inspiration of Terry Flaxton.

“I began sketching in earnest at 8, then painting, and on becoming a teenager I was fascinated with sound with which I created various works, until I first came across film and photography in 1971. At that time at Wimbledon College of Art I concentrated on painting but by 1976 I studied at University of East London a subject that was to become ‘Communication Design’. This was influenced by McLuhan, Carpenter and Buckminster Fuller – but hamstrung as it reached out for digital interdisciplinary by a set of analogue practices that kept ,materials separate.


Print from the sequence ‘Until I’m Gone’, printed onto aluminium , 42 x 23 inches

So from 1976 I began creating moving image artworks and won a prize in the fourth Tokyo Video Festival in 1979. Initially I worked creating artworks from scratch then on vbecoming a ‘media’ professional I turned to commercial work where I appropriated the footage I’d shot (for instance from companies such as Apple during the making of Ridley Scott’s famous 1984 commercial – this footage then became ‘Prisoners’). Through the eighties I fine tuned my art practice side by side with producing television work and I was responsible for creating a 5 part Channel 4 series called ‘On Video’, which charted British and then European Video Art), plus I was commissioned to make a piece entitled ‘The World Within Us’ alongside other leading video art personages in the Ghosts in the Machine series also on Channel 4. This work won prizes at the Locarno and Montbeliard Festivals. My work at that time went to many festivals, was shown in galleries and also museums.

These groups were Vida, which ran from 1976 to 1980, Triple Vision, which ran from 1980 to 1992 and Ignition Films from 2000 – 2008. In Vida we organised around 150 shows between 1976 and 1980, then co-organised the first UK independent video festival with other early video makers; Triple Vision had a retrospective of work at the Mill Valley Film Festival during the mid-eighties. I had another at the Den Haag Video Festival around the same time – the most recent was the Rome Film Festival in 2010. But, all that I really know is the work I have made has shown at many locations for many years – I’m not sure what it means to say that though.

Things changed In 2007 when I undertook the first practitioner-led research into the properties of high Resolution images, before commencing a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship at the University of Bristol, during this time I made many new works and showed work in Italy (Milan several times), China, France, New York, Japan and Sweden. In collaboration with BBC R&D and Uni of Bristol, I led the capture of first higher dynamic range, higher resolution and higher frame rate experiments to measure which combination of these developing parameters of image capture, would best engage the audience. I also created Uni of Bristol’s Centenary portraits. In 2013, I joined UWE  where I am now Professor of Cinematography and Lens Based Arts and Director of the Centre for Moving Image Research at the University of the West of England.”


Thanks to Terry for his work on this piece.

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