A chance to revisit 'Straw People' online with Active East Riding

Mon, 11 May 2020

The Exhibitions Online section of the new Active East Rising website has added a new exhibition for virtual viewing at home : 'Straw People' by Julian Swift.

Originally on display at Beverley Art Gallery in 2018, the exhibition portrays a surreal and intense sensation of mystery and fantasy on the doorstep of our everyday world.

Julian Swift studied at Manchester College of Art in the 1960s, and then spent over 30 years as a graphic designer. His straw-people fantasy came to life in the 1990s when he saw two straw scarecrows in boilersuits in a field in Norfolk appearing to conduct a conversation. He then created a whole straw society invisible to humans, using things which affluent society throws away. The exhibition features mainly oil crayon drawings in gouache.

The straw people scavenge waste from city dwellings, and use it in their own ways, and sometimes they try to infiltrate into human society, like the straw lady who found a winning lottery ticket.

Curator Helena Cox said : "This exhibition proved popular when we had it on display in Beverley ASrt Gallery - it's very interesting to see the darkly humorous work of Julian Swift, and how it mocks our human ways."

Alongside his art, Julian has published two books. An autobiography, 'Flying Bricks and Grizzly Bears', captures, in the author's words, "the memories of being brought up in one of the dirtiest back streets in Manchester, and perversely enjoying every minute of it". Julian's other book 'Merlin and his Teapot Eagles' is aimed at small children. He is currently working on a book of fiction linked to the theme of the Straw People.

The exhibition can be viewed on www.ActiveEastRiding.co.uk in the Exhibitions Online section.

Active East Riding is a new website, full of ideas and suggestions for people of all ages during the period when the council's facilities are closed, allowing people to #stayhomestayactive

Rather than being a period of doing nothing, the council is hoping that people will discover things to do, to learn from and to take part in whilst at home.

 Active East Riding has lots of ideas for children and adults - discover things you can do, learn from, and take part in whilst

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