Session 3. Easter break objects at the Sainsbury Centre, 22nd April 2015

27 people came to our first session after the Easter break, so it was a busy morning.


Nikki, our SCVA volunteer, and Jo, our volunteer coordinator, took the photos.

We began in the Studio – the Francis Bacon exhibition is now on, so the corridor downstairs is tomato red, and smells of fresh paint. We will go round the show during another session. Some new people joined the group as participants and volunteers, some people we hadn’t seen for a while returned, and we said goodbye to a volunteer, Molly Molloy, who is off to be Education Officer at Turner Margate. We missed people who were ill or couldn’t get to Sweet Arts for the taxi.

Up in the gallery everyone spent around 45 minutes with their sketchbooks, looking individually for objects which struck a chord with their experience of the Easter holiday break.

IMG_0952 IMG_0948 IMG_0940 IMG_0979  IMG_0913IMG_0980  IMG_0917

That seemed to be long enough, so we were back down to the Studio for coffee etc – and Molly’s cake, speeded on by the rota’d volunteers. During the break people also filled in Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale questionnaires and the Journey Star that we have used before, plus we completed the referrals and photo permissions.

Up in the gallery again, we gathered round the first object choice to be the subject of conversation. Our Pinterest site has all the collection objects.


Little dancer aged fourteen. Edgar Degas (1834-1917). 1880-81. Bronze, edition unknown, cast c. 1922. h. 99.1 cm. Acquired 1938. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 2

She is restricted, the fabric is worn out. People passing by said she’s beautiful, gorgeous. “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” (Anais Nin)

Made in 1880 for the Impressionist exhibition of 1881, the original wax sculpture shocked audiences with its hyperrealism. Degas exhibited the sculpture wearing a real tutu, ballet slippers, and a wig made from real hair, tied with a silk ribbon. Some years after Degas’ death, nearly 30 bronze casts were made of the wax sculpture.

The figure was based on a young Belgian dancer called Marie van Goethem, who was a student at the Paris Opera, where Degas often painted and sketched.


Untitled. Orhon Mubin (1924-1982). 1968. Oil. 33.0 x 41.0 cm. Sainsbury Abstract Collection. SAC 32 (two photos of the same painting, BBC above, SCVA below)


Up and down over 24 hours, busy busy busy. “Mixed feelings” or “A day in the life of the emotions”


A new acquisition, terracotta, contemporary ceramics

Making beautiful hangings from patterns of fabric squares. Takes the mind off, keeping busy, I leave myself and don’t worry.


Head. Melanesia, Vanuatu, Malekula. 20th century. Wood, fibre, cloth. h. 54.0 cm; head h. 14.0 cm. Acquired 1967. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 177

A bucket list ambition ticked off, horse riding, this is the look on my face when trotting.


Brooch as draped female figure. Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). france. 1937-38. Gilt bronze, edition of 3. h. 9.2 cm. Acquired 1972. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 50. ADAGP, PARIS AND DACS, LONDON 2005

Jumping for joy, a symbol of hope. She’s rushing towards something hopeful. She’s a brooch, you could wear her.


Chief’s regalia (pendant with chain). West Africa, Mali: Dogon. 16th-19th century. Brass or copper alloys. l. 74 cm. Acquired 1986. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 927

Everything stops at holiday time. There are different carers, everyone else is having fun. It’s a chain, with a prisoner looking through a hole.


Man on Sea Wall. John Davies (b. 1946). England. c. 1972. Pencil, biro, pastel on paper. h. 65.2 cm. Acquired from the artist 1975. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 644. © The Artist, courtesy of Marlborough Fine Art

Beaches can be lonely places. Bad experiences were laid to rest after 37 years.


Engraved shell disc, one of two. Central America, Guatemala (?): Maya style. Late Classic period (AD 600-900). Shell, traces of red pigment. h. 7.3 cm. Acquired 1981. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 809b

The connection with an old friend is starting to dissolve. The friendship has run its course.


Figure. F E McWilliam. 1947. Concrete. 162 x 81 x 45.5 cm. UEA 41269. © The Estate of F.E. McWilliam

The perfect body, size 0. Trying to balance states of being and reconnect the head with the body.


The sisters. F. E. Mcwilliam (b. 1909). England. 1946. Paper, crayon. 30.2 x 44.1 cm. Acquired 1949. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 103. © The Estate of F.E. McWilliam

A bad time at work, upset and unfairly accused. People getting up too close and in your face.

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Dancing female tomb figure, one of a group of three. China. Tang Dynasty, 7th-8th century, 618-906. Red earthenware with traces of red, white and black pigment. h. 25.6 cm. Acquired 1933. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 407b.

A wedding, three women who all met Woofing years ago.


Hornbill carving. Melanesia, Northern New Ireland. Late 19th century, c. 1880. Wood, shell, opercula. l. 81.3 x h. 34.5 x d. 10.5 cm. Acquired 1986h. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 942

The bird is out in the air, spring-like. Spring, emergence, freedom, the wind going through your hair.

A person who couldn’t come to the session but who used the SCVA website to identify an object that evoked the Easter break chose this one.

wwwopac-1 wwwopac-2

Female figure with folded arms. Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, the Cyclades. Early Cycladic II, early Spedos variety. (c. 2700-2400 BC). Marble, traces of red pigment. h 21.9 cm. Acquired 1966. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 339

She has her arms folded over her abdomen, and that’s how Ive spent most of the last two weeks since going into hospital. Also, it made me think of my family enveloping me in love and care.

During the session someone else chose a similar object.

wwwopac-3 wwwopac-4

Female idol with folded arms. Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, the Cyclades. Early Cycladic II, Spedos variety (c. 2700-2400 BC). Marble. h 21.6 cm. Acquired 1969. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 340

All nose, having had a bad cold over Easter.

Perhaps these figures are particularly strong for health and illness? In Living With Me one was chosen to represent a break dominated by a damaged ear which muffled the outside world.

This shell is the one described in Barbara’s comment below.


There is much more detailed information about it here.

P1060039 P1060035

It was a big group so not everyone got a chance to share thoughts about their chosen object. We are going to think more about how people can have the best looking experience in the gallery – it is difficult for everyone to gather round, some of the spaces between showcases and plinths are tight and the acoustics make it hard to hear what people are saying.

There was a Steering Group meeting after the session and more people will probably be able to stay on for the next one, which is on the 9th September after a Sainsbury Centre session (see Schedule).

VWM gets together again on Wednesday 6th May at Sweet Arts, for a morning of Clay/3D modelling. We will start at 10 am so that there is time for everyone to have a drink and sort out where they are sitting before we begin.

3 thoughts on “Session 3. Easter break objects at the Sainsbury Centre, 22nd April 2015”

  1. My object was the Conch Shell from Guatemala . Maya Culture
    c A.D. 300 -900 . Terracotta White Slip Acquired 1977 UEA 673 .

    ” Easter time was a time to go inside my safe shell space to dream new dreams for creation , to rest and to replenish , to restore my energy levels , my body and my living space ” . For me ,to retreat is very positive .

  2. Thanks Barbara, retreat to restore is right. I will put a photo of the shell in the post, though it’s already good to see you looking at it in one of Nikki’s pictures.

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