A thought-provoking exhibition that explores the identity of Europe as a safe home has gone on display in Worthing.
Safe European Home? at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery brings together the work of four contemporary artists: Delaine and Damian Le Bas, Alex Michon and Julia Horbaschk.
Archive material, objects and art works from Worthing Museum’s collection also support the theme of this hugely debated topic. Safe European Home?, which takes its title from a song by punk band The Clash, speaks of people from around the globe who have looked to Europe for a safe home, as well as those within Europe who have looked to the UK. This subject has fuelled debate historically, and will continue to be just as significant in today’s climate and in the future.
Paintings such as White Poppies by Gyula Sajo and Le Lavoir, St Nicholas-du-Pelem, Brittany by Stanislawa Karlowska celebrate the diversity of artists who were European by decent and have made a rich contribution to art history in England. Other paintings such as Home Sweet Home by Walter Sickert are chosen to pose questions around the idea of ‘home’, and The Trial by Keith Vaughan acts as a reminder to consider civil rights.
Many of the items from the museum’s collection have been selected because they reference borders, boundaries and movement. The installations and art work by Damian, Delaine, Alex and Julia each have their own voice but the threads that weave the whole exhibition together are concerned with acceptance, tolerance, responsibility and much more.
First shown outside the parliament building in Vienna in 2011, Safe European Home? comes back to the artists’ home town in Worthing. Damian Le Bas, a leading exponent of the Roma Revolution in art who died in 2017, lived and worked with his wife Delaine Le Bas, the Romany artist, in Worthing.
“I’m literally putting Gypsies on the map”, Damian would say of his cartographic representations of Europe. Although seen from a Roma, Gypsy, Traveller perspective, this ongoing project Safe European Home? which Damian and Delaine have been showing throughout Europe since 2011, encompasses their broader protest against the phantom of fascism they believe to be stalking the continent.
Emma Walder, art and exhibition curator at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, says, “Our heritage is culturally diverse and has been shaped by people from all cultures, from all corners of the globe.
“Refusing to be history-blind, the pioneering work of Damian and Delaine Le Bas serves as a timely wake up call to remind us that the human soul has no borders. We wish this exhibition to serve as a tribute to Damian Le Bas, who worked with Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, together with Delaine, on many memorable occasions. Damian was an extraordinarily talented, inventive and uncompromising artist whose passion, spirit and revolutionary commitment lives on through his work.”
Also on show will be a recently revised body of work titled Labour of Love, a photo-installation, by Julia Horbaschk, who lives in Worthing, and art by Alex Michon, who designed several ranges of clothing for The Clash between 1977-1983 and has written a book about her work with the band.
Safe European Home? is at Worthing Museum & Art Gallery, Chapel Road, Worthing, until Saturday October 13. Phone 01903 221448 or visit worthingmuseum.co.uk.