Friday, 21 January 2011

St Dunstan’s Recreates 1940s Shop at Newhaven Fort for Art Wave

A beautiful three tiered wedding cake takes centre stage in Pearson’s the fruiterers, where the surrounding shelves are laden with fruit and vegetables and a plinth contains a bust of Winston Churchill. But on closer inspection all is not as it at first appears. The fruit and vegetables are made of papier mache and clay and the wedding cake is made of cardboard. Lifting the cake, its contents of a humble Victoria sponge cake are revealed, something that would have been a common sight at weddings during World War II as people made do with limited rations.

This is just part of the contents on display in Pearson’s, a 1940s shop which has been recreated by blind ex-Service men and women who attend the craft workshops at St Dunstan’s Centre in Ovingdean. The shop will open its doors at 9am on Saturday 28 August at Newhaven Fort as part of Art Wave 2010.

Sarah Jarron, St Dunstan’s Craft Department  Manager, said: “We came up with the concept to re-create a typical fruiterers from the 1940s to give a snapshot of life during World War II. The shop will include a display of a typical meal of the time and the mediocre rations a family would have to live on. Everything in the shop has been made by St Dunstaners in the craft workshop from the Dig for Victory posters, to the fixtures and fittings and the bust of Winston Churchill.

“What’s really great is that people who visit the shop on the morning of 1st September will be able to meet the St Dunstaners behind it. That includes Wallace Burnet-Smith who flew night planes with 85 Squadron during World War II. One of the many items Wallace made for the shop is Dr Carrot, which recreates a Government advertisement to encourage people to eat carrots for night vision. Obviously something that would have helped as they walked the streets during blackout and perhaps Wallace on his night sorties. The shop is based on a photograph of a fruiterers from the 1940s that was owned by Arthur Walton’s family, a St Dunstaner who made the pilots taking centre stage in the second room.

Named after Arthur Pearson, the newspaper magnate who founded St Dunstan’s in 1915, the shop will remain open until 12 September.

Quote from Wallace Burnet-Smith – what Wallace has to say about flying night sorties during World War II – if Wallace would like to comment on that. Or perhaps his memories of going into such a shop during the time.

To find out more about St Dunstan’s visit:
written by Catherine Goodier

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fabrica trip

We took a couple of our St Dunstaners to Fabrica on Tuesday16th November. Fabrica is now an art exhibition space that used to be a church. Some of the original features still exist including the font and the stained glass windows. The work exhibited is usually a single contemporary installation piece and there are usually 4 works per year.

This one was called ‘The House of Vernacular’, several collections of photographs selected by curator Martin Parr and put together within several temporary built rooms.  We were part of a private tour of the exhibition by Naomi Kendrick for ‘Second Sight’ inviting visually impaired people to explore contemporary art.

The work engaged with post World War 2 International consumerism and austerity, from Brazilian black and white photographs painted with oil colour to the interiors of African dictator’s private jets. The discussion we had afterwards was really interesting how many nations tried to display their wealth and prosperity to the rest of the world. Before walking round the rest of the exhibit we were invited to put on a hat displayed in the first room which looked like a small 1950’s -60’s high street shop. To me it felt a bit like an episode of Mr Benn expecting the shop keeper to appear “as if by magic”.