Thursday, 18 May 2017

Kick Arts Exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum

In Spring 2017 the Pitt Rivers Museum was proud to present the Kick Arts exhibition. Kick Arts is a model of working which allows young people working outside mainstream education to engage with the Arts.

The exhibition was a presentation of the work of eight young people who have been spending one day a week at the Museum since November. They explored the Museum, hunted for inspiration, developed their creative skills and confidence, and discovered new artistic talents they didn't know they had.  Each young person developed their own project, and had their own display of work as part of the exhibition.  The exhibition also comprised of a pop-up collaborative installation on the balcony of the Pitt Rivers Museum, inspired by the Ancient Egyptian coffin, canonic jars and mummies in the Pitt Rivers collection.  The sculptures were made from withy and painted papermache, and the textiles have been created using the wax-resist technique of dying fabric called batik.

The workshops were led by Charlie Henry from OYAP Trust, working with young leaders with a range of arts skills. The programme is part of a Young Roots partnership project between the Pitt Rivers Museum and OYAP Trust, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The young people worked in a variety of creative media, from poetry to rapping, photography, sculpture, film-making and painting. They have all successfully completed a Bronze or Silver Arts Award as part of the project.

We are extremely impressed with the quality of the work from all the young people, as well as their commitment to finishing their work, producing a public exhibition and their Arts Award portfolios. We have loved seeing our collections through new eyes thanks to their creative perspectives! A big thanks and well done to all.

Katherine Rose
Education Officer (Secondary and Young People)
Pitt Rivers Museum

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Japanese Master Carver, Hideta Kitazawa, at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Man sitting cross legged on a  small stage carving a mask.
Japanese Master Carver, Hideta Kitazawa © Pitt Rivers Museum 

In February 2017 Hideta Kitazawa, a Japanese Noh theatre mask carver visited the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, to demonstrate his skills to the public. Kitazawa-san was visiting the UK to deliver a mask that he had recently carved that was to be used in a Noh theatre performance in London, and was running a range of workshops and demonstrations as part of a trip in parnership with the Japan Foundation.

Close up of a chisel being used to carve a wooden mask
Carving a Noh Mask © Pitt Rivers Museum

This short film shows the artist at work on the Clore Learning Balcony of the museum. It was an incredible success. Kitazawa-san is a natural performer and communicator and the public were mesmerised by his work. Some people sat and watched for up to three hours, and on the Saturday the museum received a record number of visitors, over three and a half thousand.

Hideta Kitazawa had previously visited in 2009 to run similar workshops. In 2015 the museum commissioned Kitazawa-san to carve three masks to show the processes that he uses. These are now on display in the museum (PRM 2015.28.2-4) as part of an HLF funded re-display and public engagement project  Need Make Use. There is no doubt that he is a master carver and my personal favourite is a mask that he was commissioned to make for the Williamette Theatre in Oregon US, it’s a mask of Frida Kahlo.

Hideta Kitazawa carves a mask of Frida Kahlo
Carving a mask for the © Pitt Rivers Museum

I feel very privileged to have worked with Kitazawa-san on two occasions. I particularly enjoyed being referred to as Andy-san. The highlight for me was when Kitazawa-san ran an informal workshop with students from Rycotewood Furniture Centre as part of the museum's HLF funded Need Make Use project. The two-way discussion of tools, materials and processes was truly inspiring. I’m looking forward to the next visit. This is a picture of my son wearing one of Kitazawa-san's masks.

Child holds up a Not Mask in front of his face
Wearing one of Kitazawa-san's Masks© Pitt Rivers Museum

Andy McLellan
Head of Education and Outreach
Pitt Rivers Museum 2017