A shining yellow car captured in a Jèrriais poem has vroomed into life through the 3D work of an abstract painter with a lifelong interest in endangered languages.
Currently on show at CCA Galleries, Danny Rolph's exhibition 'Jèrriais' is inspired by ‘Le neu jaune’ - a haiku written in Jersey's native tongue by St. Helier Procureur du Bien Public and local linguist Geraint Jennings about a yellow car in the sunshine.
Express learned the story behind the artist and his work depicting what's known in cockney rhyming slang as a 'jam jar' (car)...
Having grown up in a family speaking cockney rhyming slang, Danny says he’s always been interested in endangered languages. He had previously studied Italian, but became interested in the island's indigenous language after visiting and exhibiting in Jersey in November 2017.
Video: Express met Danny to learn about his poem-inspired exhibition.
It was that interest that set the wheels in motion for what would become a very special exhibition, tying together multiple passions.
“To an extent, [this exhibition] sort of ties in with the way Painting – capital P - is periodically referred to as a sort of 'endangered language' in the era of many media,” he explained.
Admitting that he "love[s] haiku form", the artist continued: “I decided I wanted to make an exhibition of a haiku... I found one on the internet by Geraint Jennings, which I thought was wonderful, because it was 12 words long. I got the translation and each painting represents one word in the haiku. So the exhibition is at once an exhibition but it’s also a poem in painting.”
Pictured: Geraint Jennings's haiku was the inspiration behind the exhibition.
The exhibition, which tied in with last weekend's Fête du Jèrriais, will continue until 10 June at CCA Galleries.
Sasha Gibb, Gallery Director, commented: “Sitting in on Geraint Jennings and Danny sparring in Jèrriais and Cockney Rhyming slang was one of the most exhilarating conversations I’ve had in a while. CCA International have always supported the Jèrriais language and are looking forward to taking it to a wider audienc
“Danny’s work is in collections all over the world and this is a rare chance to own a piece of International Jèrriais and join the discussion for its survival.”
Pictured: One of Danny's 12 triple wall paintings.
Tom Dingle, Director at ArtHouse Jersey, who supported the project said it was “unique and exciting.”
“The exhibition will showcase a collaboration between our local language and a renowned international artist, which is both innovative and inspiring," he said.
Danny’s favourite material – triple wall plastic, which he’s been using for over 20 years – serves as the canvas, with acrylic paint, old drawings, archived photographs, collage and foam adding relief to the piece.
Pictured: 'Le jeu jaune' is about a yellow car in the sunshine.
“I came across this material and I straight away fell in love with it as a surface and a material, because it has a prior industrial purpose in the like of conservatory roofs. But it also meant I could paint on the front and the back and these become like collage construction and over the years they’ve evolved, over 20 years, in different ways but they are overtly pictorial," he explained.
“The method is painting the front and the back, the front and the back, so it’s almost like the initial impression, when you turn it around, there’s an expression. My work is intuitive, I make my work as I go along. It takes me three to four months for each painting and I’m working on them at the same time more or less.”
Danny finished his painted haiku about six months ago and went on a series of travels. He only saw the pieces together again at CCA Galleries last week, when the show opened.
Pictured: Danny's exhibition can be seen at CCA Galleries until 10 June.
"It’s really nice to see these works together again. I want them to talk about the difference in each word and the different ways you can make a painting.
“We’ve got this different thing going on between, the drift between different mediums, poetry, obviously writing and visual language and the haiku, being an ancient Japanese form; Jèrriais, being you know a wonderful ancient language; and then making it into something in the present, you know materialised in paintings. That was the concept which I worked from.”
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