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ART FIX: Former zoo worker shares ‘wildlife visions’

ART FIX: Former zoo worker shares ‘wildlife visions’

Friday 21 May 2021

ART FIX: Former zoo worker shares ‘wildlife visions’


A local bird enthusiast, who previously worked at Jersey Zoo, is presenting a series of paintings at his former place of work to help raise money towards wildlife conservation.

Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.

Here is this week’s offering… 

‘Wildlife Visions’

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Pictured: Ricky volunteered and worked at Jersey Zoo.

Jersey Zoo’s Discovery Centre is currently hosting a collection of colourful and wild paintings from one of its former employees.

Ricky Lewis spent many years at the zoo, starting as a volunteer within the bird dept. Ricky then went on to work full time in the department, looking after its feathery residents as well as carrying out feeding and cleaning duties.

Ricky also spent worked for the landscape department as a gardener, taking care of the grounds and looking after the showcase.

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Pictured: Ricky is passionate about nature, wildlife and birds.

Passionate about nature, wildlife and ornithology, Ricky considers himself very lucky to have worked with some “great colleagues” in two fantastic departments that gave him the opportunity to do what he loved most every day: looking after and being in the company of all the birds, animals and nature. 

Since retiring, Ricky has found another way of expressions his passion for nature and animals. Having always enjoyed drawing and painting from his early 20s, he picked up his brushes again just over five years ago, after work, life and raising two children kept him away from his practice. 

Ricky has never received any formal training and has been experimenting with a wide variety of mediums, including acrylics, watercolours and even charcoal. He however admits a soft spot for oils and pastels.

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Pictured: Since retiring, Ricky has been dedicating more time to painting.

“He tries to do some form of art every day, even if a short period, it may be in his art studio in the garden working usually with oils or on smaller pastel pieces in the lounge during the evening,” his wife, Trena, said.

From his garden chalet, which he turned into a little art studio, Ricky likes to work on a number of pieces at once.

“Animals and birds are his favourite subjects, and this is largely due in part to a lifetime of being interested in nature and the natural world, together with working at the zoo and spending time up close and personal with the various inhabitants heightened his love of their specific personalities,” Trena explained.

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Pictured: Ricky has painted several of the zoo's residents.

“It is often remarked the eyes in his paintings capture their ‘soul’.”

Ricky currently has over 30 pieces on display at the zoo, including four large pieces in acrylics depicting an orangutan, flamingoes, bush dogs and hornbills. 

The other paintings include a number of other residents form the zoo, from the lemur, tamarin, meerkat, to the gorillas and of course the birds. Among the latter is a painting of the St. Lucia parrot, the last specimen of which at the zoo, called Gabriel, recently died.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ricky Lewis (@rickylewisart)

Pictured: Ricky's portrait of Gerald Durrell.

Other pieces depict elephants, tigers, chimps, monkeys, rhinos as well as big cats and reptiles.  Ricky also painted a portrait of Gerald Durrell and offered to make a donation to the zoo for each piece sold in the exhibition. 

‘Wildlife Visions’ can be seen until 18 June.

 

“Distorted memories” of Fort Regent

Local photographer Will Lakeman is presenting a pop up exhibition at ArtHouse Jersey’s HQ at Greve de Lecq Barracks on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 May.

He will be showing a series of photographs from his ongoing project that explores “the relationship between everyday places and their strange echoes in our subconscious”. Many of the images are of real locations, which Will either photographs at unusual times - often at night - or illuminates with intense colours, manipulating the scenes in a bid to enhance what he perceives as the “latent background weirdness of everyday life."

Will works as if he is making scenes for a film. His images are often empty of human subjects like sets and stages waiting for the actors to return in a bid to explore the quality of empty spaces which is often reflected in our dreams.  

“Many people describe dreams where we insert ourselves in familiar locations, often changed by illogical additions, or in shadowy, cavernous structures that hint at some subconscious drama,” he explained.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Will Lakeman (@chairmanwill)

Will says he wants to engage people to share their own memories of some of the locations he's made images from, especially the former swimming pool at Fort Regent. Will has manipulated several images of the landmark as a way of holding up a mirror to “our distorted memories of the place”. 

As part of the pop up, Will will also be presenting a series of prints of photographs taken underneath the sea, as well as images of local buildings and the Battle of Flowers funfair, which he has reworked using artificial intelligence.

He will also be selling some photography zines which are designed to be “eerie, colourful and entirely open to interpretation”, like most of Will’s work.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to show some of my current projects,” Will said.

“It’s a great space at the Barracks and the seaside location is appropriate as a lot of my work begins life underwater. Social media is great, but film and photography really benefits from a physical production, so that you can enjoy the images printed out large, and in full colour. 

“It also gives me a more direct opportunity to try and sell you stuff - in this case some photozines that I have put together especially for this show. I also want to engage people to share their own memories of some of the locations I have made images from, especially the former swimming pool at Fort Regent. If you almost drowned at Pluto’s Playtime I want to hear all about it.“

 

Looking for a bargain?

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Pictured: The Great Acorn Reuse Bargain Hunt’ will take place on Friday 24 June.

Acorn Enterprises are looking for islanders who are fans of the TV programme ‘Bargain Hunt’ and who know their bobby-dazzlers from their cheap as chips for an event aiming to raise funds to provide work and training opportunities to individuals with a disability or long-term health condition.

Originally planned for last November, 'The Great Acorn Reuse Bargain Hunt’ will be held on Friday 24 June. It is the first event being put on by Ashley O’Connell, who is going to run the 2021 London Marathon to raise money for the Jersey Employment Trust and Acorn, the charity’s social enterprise.

It will see 10 teams of two spend £100 in the Acorn Charity Shop, in a bid to see who can find the most valuable items to sell for the charity. 

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Pictured: The event aims to raise funds to the charity, which helps people with a disability or long-term health condition with work and training opportunities. 

Once buyers have chosen their ten items, they will spend the next two weeks selling them across auctions, Facebook and workplaces to try to make the most money for the charity, which helps people with a disability or long-term health condition with work and training opportunities. 

“This is a fun way of supporting Acorn,” Fundraising & Relationships Manager Caroline Spencer said.

“It will suit anyone who loves a bargain and has a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. People can be as imaginative as they like in how they sell their items for the maximum amount possible. We look forward to hearing about some crazy creativity!

“There will be a small prize for the team who raise the most – as well as the prestige of being the winners of the inaugural Great Acorn Reuse Bargain Hunt.”

To sign up for the Great Acorn Reuse Bargain Hunt, islanders can contact caroline.spencer@jet.co.je.

 

Surf’s up… on an envelope

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Pictured: The new stamps feature contemporary images by local photographers.

Jersey Post has just launched a set of six commemorative stamps and a miniature sheet celebrating the island’s surfing heritage.

The stamps feature contemporary images by local photographers - Matt Porteous, Andy Le Gresley, BAM Perspectives and Richard Picot – showing surfers enjoying the waves at Jersey’s ‘surfing mecca’, St. Ouen’s Bay.

The accompanying miniature sheet features an iconic black and white photograph taken by the late John Houiellebecq in 1959 as a record of the formation of the Jersey Surfboard Club, the oldest recognised surf club in Europe. 

Both the stamps and miniature sheet have been printed with a clear varnish in a wave pattern, which becomes visible when the stamps catch the light.

 

Out with the old…

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Pictured: Thatchers from Devon are carrying out the work. (Tom Kennedy)

Work has just started at Hamptonne Country Life Museum to rethatch the 15th century houses as well as Langlois House for the first time in 30 years.

Five thatchers have come from Devon to replace the water reed thatch on both buildings which was in urgent need of replacement. The work was due to be carried out last year but had to be delayed because of pandemic.

The reed  will be replaced by straw, the material that would have been originally used on the roofs. 

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Pictured: The water reed thatch has not been replaced in 30 years. (Jon Carter)

“Although the ridges that cap the top of the thatched roofs have been replaced as part of the maintenance programme, the main body of thatch on both Hamptonne and Langlois Houses has reached the end of its natural life and is in desperate need of attention,” Chris O’Connor, Jersey Heritage’s Head of Property, said.

“We have had to carry out a number of emergency repairs over the past 18 months so are relieved that the team from TJ Thatchers, who were originally due over last spring, have finally been able to make it over to Jersey.

“These buildings have survived four centuries and maintaining the thatch is an important part of ensuring their future. It protects the buildings and the collection pieces inside, as well as adding to the lovely rural ambience at Hamptonne Country Life Museum.”

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Pictured: Islanders can observe the thatchers at work from the north courtyard. (Melissa Rodrigues)

While the south courtyard is closed to the public whilst work is ongoing, along with Hamptonne and Langlois Houses, visitors can see observe the thatchers at work from the north courtyard.

 

And for some music… 

Video: Viv filmed 'Offline' in -15 degrees weather.

Experimental pop music maker Viv Le Vav has recently released ‘Offline’, “a hi-fi song with a lo-fi video”.

It’s the second single this year from the Jersey born, Berlin based musician and the third produced by acclaimed producer Steph Marziano.

The video, shot this winter in -15 degrees weather shows the musician taking a bath underneath a German Stasi-era watchtower. 

Missed last week's Art Fix? Catch up by clicking HERE.

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