Rodin Spotlight Loan in Walsall: Claire Messenger & Barbara Vujanovic (ITP 2016)

Written by Claire Messenger, International Training Programme Manager

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining colleagues from the British Museum – Ian Jenkins, Joe Edwards, Eleanor Chant and Sophie Szynaka – attending the evening opening of the Spotlight Loan, Rodin: rethinking the fragment, at The New Art Gallery Walsall.


Eleanor, Barbara and Sophie

The show opens at its third and final venue today having previous toured to Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal and the Holburne Museum, Bath.

The New Art Gallery Walsall says it ‘presents, collects and interprets historic, modern and contemporary art in innovative and challenging ways, welcoming visitors from all over the globe as well as our immediate locality.  We aim to increase the understanding and enjoyment of arts and culture through our dynamic exhibition, education and events programme’.  On floors 1 & 2 the gallery presents the Garmen Ryan Collection, gifted to the people of Walsall in 1973 containing many works by Jacob Epstein, alongside their own world collections which include paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints.  While on levels 3 & 4 they have changing displays of contemporary visual art currently focusing on the works of Daniel Silver and Sarah Taylor Silverwood.


It was a wonderful opportunity to see Barbara Vujanović (Croatia, ITP 2016) again who has come over to the UK to attend the opening, give a curator’s talk and is also planning to spend the weekend in Birmingham seeing the cultural highlights of the city.


I think Barbara will agree that The New Art Gallery Walsall – as well as being a beautiful space, inside and out – has created an amazing space for Rodin’s The Thinker (on loan from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow).  Throughout 2019 – to coincide with the 60th anniversity of Jacob Epstein’s death – the gallery is showcasing sculpture in all its forms through a season titled ‘Sculpture in Focus’, and this provides a perfect setting for Barbara’s show.


A nod to the ITP!

Click through to read the exhibition guide.

Today, after the excitement of last night, I’m in Birmingham with plans to go to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) to see two of their current exhibitions: Women Power Protest and Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, marking the 500th anniversary of the death of the artist.

I’m very excited to see the Leonardo exhibition which features 12 drawings from the Royal Collection, never seen in the city before and includes Head of an Old Bearded Man (c.1517-18), and A Map of the Valdichiana (c.1503-4).

Meanwhile, Woman Power Protest brings back happy memories of ITP summer 2018 when we asked our fellows to visit exhibitions and displays around London marking a century since the first British women won the right to vote.  This exhibition brings together modern and contemporary artworks from the Arts Council Collection and BMAG and celebrates female artists – including Susan Hiller, Lubaina Himid, Mary Kelly, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Sonia Boyce, and Margaret Harrison – looking at themes around ‘protest, social commentary and identity’.

The last two days have been a lovely opportunity to catch-up with Barbara and to meet new colleagues from The New Art Gallery Walsall and the Burrell Collection Glasgow – thank you to everyone who has made this Spotlight Loan possible and so memorable.