No place like home

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A quiet space at the back of Derek Jarman's cottage in Dungeness

Currently, there is a wonderful online exhibition relating to Prospect Cottage in nearby Dungeness, which belonged to the late Derek Jarman and was rescued through crowdfunding by the Arts Fund. Creative Folkestone has become the custodian and it is given over to artists, academics, writers, gardeners and film makers interested in Jarman’s work.

The present exhibition, until March 5, is by Cumberland born artist Robin Oliver which shows yet another strand to his unique style of framing work, and here he juxtaposes his home place of Cumbria with Dungeness, focusing upon the lives and works of artists such as Derek Jarman, poet John Donne and Cumbria’s celebrated author and artist Beatrix Potter.

Robin’s work encourages us to look, and then look again, at where we live in the context of the place we call home, and why it is that a particular place or area holds us there and he believes that it is significant to look beyond one’s garden gate, village, town or county as one can learn such a lot.

Copyright Robin Oliver – we must protect the environment

Robin’s latest website gallery exhibition eloquently showcases his images and writing, providing romantic accounts of people, atmosphere and environment. There is also an underlying message about the values and behaviours of the farming community working industriously, enhancing and maintaining the landscapes while providing quality products for everyone. It is an inspiring and beautiful exhibition, a story of people, animals and landscape interwoven through Robin’s poetry describing each image.

Many artists like Robin are inspired by and record what is around them, incorporating elements of their home and landscape, and he wrote recently about winter in a place he knows well and a note about Dungeness in his drawing book on January 8, 2021 says:

“Shattered dreams float amongst weather-beaten grasses. Lighthouses beached, boats abandoned, wooden huts are re-imagined as chick shacks, and all that is perceived to be trendy. A landscape which is haunted by those who once lived, loved and lost there. Earth, to earth, ashes to ashes, shingle to shingle.” Robin Oliver

Robin’s images of Prospect Cottage have been published by Art Fund, via their website, in print and printed in their Art Map 2021 and in their Art Quarterly Magazine 2020. As he says: “Quite an accomplishment for a quiet, unassuming Cumbrian.” While Robin travels to other places his heart is in the beautiful, familiar farming landscapes of Cumbria.

To watch the exhibition online go to Robin’s website. At the end Robin treats us to John Donne’s poem, part of which is on the side of Prospect Cottage.

Image Credits: Heidi Foster , Robin Oliver .

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