University of Leicester eBulletin

Film on Talented Leicestershire Artist Premiered in City

Updated October 2003

Leicestershire and Rutland people invited to event

IMAGES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST: EMAIL pressoffice@le.ac.uk

A rare opportunity for Leicestershire and Rutland people to view the life and works of one of the county’s foremost artists recently took place at the University of Leicester.

The University, in conjunction with Goldmark Gallery of Rutland, invited people to the free film premiere of Irish Voyage, a 50-minute film on artist Rigby Graham.

The film viewing was preceded by a short talk by the film’s director Charles Mapleston and was followed by a reception and exhibition of Rigby Graham’s paintings. A number of woodcuts were also donated to the University of Leicester.

The event, on the evening of Friday 3 October, took place in the University Film Theatre, Attenborough Building. 

[Photo: Guests at Rigby Graham film premiere]
VIEWING: (left to right) Charles Mapleston, Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess, Rigby Graham and Mike Goldmark

Rigby Graham was born in Stretford in Lancashire in 1931 and educated at Wyggeston Grammar School, Leicester. A noted painter, printmaker and writer, he formerly studied at the Leicester College of Art and has spent the whole of his adult life in the city. He has been represented by the Goldmark Gallery since 1987.

He taught at the Leicester College of Art, has painted across the UK and Europe and has produced several significant books of local interest.

His illustrations feature in numerous publications, including works by Spike Milligan and Oscar Wilde and he has many printed works to his credit. A long sequence of watercolours, Packhorse Bridges of Leicestershire and Rutland, was completed in 2001.

Mike Goldmark, of Goldmark Gallery in Uppingham, said: “The film covers a week’s journey across Ireland with the artist revisiting many places where he has previously painted and culminating in a breathtaking climb up Skellig Michael.

“The journey with its hardships and laughter stands as a metaphor for the artist’s life.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Robert Burgess said: “The University of Leicester was delighted to join with Goldmark Gallery to celebrate the work of Rigby Graham.”

The film maker, Charles Mapleston, has for over thirty years made arts documentaries for TV and runs an independent company called Malachite.

He said: “Travelling across Ireland with Rigby Graham was a revelation. There is hardly a corner of this fascinating country that he cannot illuminate with his experience and vision. The man has been working in Ireland for more than thirty years and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of its past, its people, its pain and its passions.

“The film we made together is a kind of 'retrospective road movie' visiting many of the artist's old haunts and creating dynamic new work along the way. Graham has a dry sense of humour and enlivens the film with his own cryptic commentaries written daily on postcards home.

“It was a challenging film to make, not least for Graham who, in his seventieth year, had to undergo a demanding journey. His journey culminates in a spectacular climb to an ancient monastery perched on a rocky island sanctuary set deep in the Atlantic: a pilgrimage that inspired profound reflections on his life and works.”

Graham believes that each outdoor painting is in some way a record of his time in that place, of the light, and of his frustrations, pleasures and struggles in responding to what was in front of him.

He said: "When I'm on my own and quiet, the landscape tells you a good deal and Turner and Cotman talk to me from the clouds.”

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: October 2003
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