Journey into the wild

Wild Worlds image courtesy of The Gloucestershire Echo

Wild Worlds image courtesy of The Gloucestershire Echo

This summer, The Wilson invites you to journey into Wild Worlds, an immersive and innovative exhibition of artwork inspired by beasts savage, domestic, fantastical and real, or at least based on real creatures.

The exhibition takes up two whole floors at Cheltenham’s beautiful art gallery and museum on Clarence Street, and offers the chance to explore, play, dream and create.

Single Dog by Catrin Howell

Single Dog by Catrin Howell

The exhibition, in two parts, is on until 4th September, with the lower floor showcasing a display of animal art on loan from Aberystwyth University’s ceramics collection. “From lions, tigers and rhinoceroses, to more familiar creatures like cows, foxes, and dogs, this part of the exhibition will encourage children and families to consider how animals are used around the world in storytelling and mythology,” says Julie Finch, CEO of The Cheltenham Trust, which manages The Wilson.

Raku Duck by Tony White

Raku Duck by Tony White

In the second section, upstairs in the third floor gallery, you’re invited to enter a purpose-built wild world of discoveries, where flowers bloom and parrots zoom.

Wild Worlds parrot image courtesy of The Gloucestershire Echo

Wild Worlds parrot image courtesy of The Gloucestershire Echo

Inspired by work produced in children’s workshops run by Kerrie Reading, artist Sarah Butterworth and a team of practitioners have worked to transform the gallery into an interactive, tactile, and sensory experience.

Wild Worlds LogoColour, lighting, sound, movement and texture all contribute to evoking the impression of a land where anything is possible.

“We’re very excited about welcoming visitors to see Wild Worlds this summer at The Wilson,” says Julie. “This is a unique, unusual and hugely creative exhibition, and we’re hoping that both children and adults will enjoy feeling like they have explored wild worlds beyond their expectations, and discovered animals to inspire their imaginations.”

Find full details at www.cheltenhammuseum.org.uk.

Iconic images of Audrey

Audrey Hepburn cr Norman Parkinson Ltd Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

Audrey Hepburn © Norman Parkinson Ltd Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

Best known perhaps for her performance as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanies, the exhibition Portraits of an Icon offers an insight into the life and work of Audrey Hepburn that’s unexpectedly moving.

Audrey Hepburn by Jack Cardiff from Simon Regan Collection and Jack Cardiff

Audrey Hepburn by Jack Cardiff from Simon Regan Collection © Jack Cardiff

Audrey Hepburn was never just an actress, never just a model – as the images reveal, she was a spirited, curious, caring individual, who began her career as a ballet dancer raising money for the Dutch Resistance in World War II, and spent her final years working as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador working in poor communities in Africa. In between came glitz, glamour and decades as a muse to couturier Hubert de Givenchy, but, as this exhibition shows, her beauty always far more than skin deep.

Housed within Cheltenham’s splendid art gallery and museum, The Wilson, the images on show are accompanied by information on what was happening in Audrey’s life at the time each shot was taken, and includes less famous pictures, many of which capture moments of whimsy and apparent happiness. My favourites were those showing her relaxing at her rental villa in Italy with Bimba the donkey or grocery shopping with Pippin the fawn, suggesting that at heart Audrey was a country girl as at home in wellies and jeans as in a stunning red carpet gown.

As photographer Mark Shaw is quoted as saying: “Audrey is the most childish, adult, feminine tomboy I’ve ever photographer… She’s many women wrapped up in one…”

As she aged, the photos displayed reveal that Audrey’s attractiveness only intensified. There’s a genuine kindness in her eyes that makes it easy to understand why people from all backgrounds were drawn to her, a detail particularly evident in images caught towards the end of her life in Sudan and Somalia by Robert Wolders.

Along with many others, I discovered Audrey Hepburn through films like Breakfast at Tiffanies and Roman Holiday, and entrancing as these performances were, it’s clear there was far more to this woman. This exhibition is a wonderful reminder of that.

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon is on at The Wilson until Sunday 14th February 2016. The exhibition is just one of many well worth visiting at the Cheltenham art gallery and museum.