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Woolcock work to be featured in exhibition

An exhibition detailing the life and work of late cartoonist Peter Woolcock is set to hit the Bermuda National Gallery next year.

Decades of the artist's work will be featured in the show, set to open on January 21, including a host of never-before-seen work and illustrations dating back to his teenage years.

Gallery director Lisa Howie said she first sat down with Mr Woolcock around two years ago with the goal of putting together a retrospective of his work. However, in the wake of his death late last year, the decision was made to change the project into a tribute detailing his evolution as an artist.

“It was tragic that we weren't able to realise it with him as the assistant curator,” she said. “I think it would have been a lot of fun. We hope that we are bringing something to life in his passing.

“His daughter Diana [Andrew] has been amazing.

“She has given us full access to important, precious documents as well as drawings and illustrations that have never been seen before.

“It should be a really beautiful, lively fun show. We will also be creating interactive experiences for young people because many of his illustrations are like little miniature worlds, and so we're hoping to give families with children a reason to come back again and again.

“Meanwhile for those who followed and enjoyed his satires, many of those will be on display as well.”

The exhibition is just one part of the tribute to the late artist. Later this month, a limited-edition book of his previously unseen children's illustrations is set to be published, while at the end of the exhibition several of Mr Woolcock's work will be auctioned off with a portion of the funds going to charity.

Gallery curator Sophie Cressall said that Mr Woolcock was a pleasure to work with on the project, saying: “He was such a humble artist, but brilliant, which is a rare combination. I wish he was here to see it.”

Describing the collection, she said a wide range of work will be highlighted, including pieces that may surprise those who knew him only from his political satire.

“We will get to see his real trajectory as an artist and his evolution,” she said.

“The earliest illustration we have is from when he was 15 years old. We then have illustrations from when he went to war in Belgium in the tank division. He created a sketchbook while in that moment and he managed to create a sketchbook that made light in a very tactful and understanding way of something that was horrendous.

“He sketched all the time, and we have this story that not many people know, and I think that's the magic of the exhibition. We are showing parts of Peter that people didn't really know.”

“There are a couple of pieces that his daughter has given us permission to publish, and these are unseen works. These, I believe, are a mixture of his nursery pieces going all the way through to his political works. There's a cheekiness to them, but still a naivety to them. I think those are going to really astound people.”

Mrs Andrew said she believed the collection would surprise and delight people, noting that when searching through her father's works she found items that she herself had never seen.

“There were a little treasure trove of smaller items that I don't remember ever seeing, and of course I have given them to the gallery,” she said. “There will be some things that dad would never have put forward for the show himself because he never would have thought they were important enough.”

She added that she has been overwhelmed by the affection her father's works have received from the public after his passing, saying: “I knew people appreciated him and loved him, but I don't think I realised how much until after he had passed. “He seems to have been able to span across the entire economic strata of our community in ways I don't think many people have before.”

With my friends: a self-portrait

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Published December 01, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 01, 2015 at 8:52 am)

Woolcock work to be featured in exhibition

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