Ricky Romain probes your human rights in new exhibition at Bridport Arts Centre

Ricky-Romain-at-work-one-of-his-Lost-Voices-series

‘Marking Injustice’: A Painter’s Way of Coping

Saturday 18 April to Saturday 30 May, Bridport Arts Centre

This is the biggest local exhibition of Ricky Romain’s work since a show at the Town Mill in Lyme Regis back in 2001 was opened by the former Labour leader Michael Foot and the novelist John Fowles. The focus then was on Human Rights – and so it is this year.

With the General Election coming up, the Bridport Democracy Project and the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, Ricky’s show could hardly be more topical.

Lost-Voices-14-Ricky-Romain

Large black and white images of ghostly painted people are being created especially for the Allsop Gallery, and not just for its walls. Ricky’s favoured technique of scratching through layers of paint, ink and gesso is used to investigate what is happening to refugees, to immigrants and to us.

The aim is to stimulate a debate about who and what we now value – and why – and to show that art itself can still be relevant and inspiring.

“As an artist,” says Ricky, “every mark can contribute to something else. As a human, if you help one person, you help the whole world.”

Ricky’s ancestors came to the UK on HMS Victory in 1781, from Gibraltar, brought by the Admiralty after Spain tried to reclaim the Rock. He himself was born and brought up in an extended Jewish family in London’s East End. He moved to Axminster 20 years ago.

Ricky Romain with a painting from his Lost Voices series, which forms the backbone of his exhibition 'Marking Injustice'.
Ricky Romain with a painting from his Lost Voices series, which forms the backbone of his exhibition ‘Marking Injustice’.

In person, Ricky has the same kind of beady cheerfulness and socially-engaged intelligence as Barking and Burton Bradstock’s Billy Bragg.

Get chance to meet him during this exhibition at Bridport Arts Centre, and you should take it. Ricky and his partner – the artist Heather Fallows – are planning to be in the gallery on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Heather is helping to design and manage the exhibition, and creating a variety of assemblages.

Heather Fallows.
Heather Fallows.
Robert Golden, whose new film about Ricky Romain, called 'Re-Appearances', is premiered at Bridport Arts Centre on Tuesday, May 5.
Robert Golden, whose new film about Ricky Romain, called ‘Re-Appearances’, is premiered at Bridport Arts Centre on Tuesday, May 5.

Also making a big contribution is the Bridport-based filmmaker Robert Golden. All are keen for the show to get people involved in numerous activities such as workshops, talks and a collaborative work of art (a beautiful handmade visitors’ book).

There will be a free premiere of Robert’s new film about Ricky and a talk by the two men at Bridport Arts Centre on Tuesday 5 May at 7pm.

Another date for your diary: ‘Searching for Justice – Why Justice Matters for Humans Rights Abuses and How Survivors have Persevered to Achieve It’ is a discussion chaired by Carla Firstman of REDRESS on Saturday 16 May at 2pm at Bridport Arts Centre.

“With solidarity comes power,” says Ricky.

For more information: www.rickyromain.com

‘Marking Injustice: A Painter’s Way of Coping’ is backed by Arts Council England, a client of Watershed PR, whose staff are shareholders in Yarn Magazine.

From Ricky Romain's Lost Voices series.
From Ricky Romain’s Lost Voices series.

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