Sainsbury Centre Visit January 19

Outing to the Sainsbury centre on Friday 11 Jan 2019.

Eight U3A members arrived in two cars driven by Jill and June at the Sainsbury Centre at 11:30 on Friday.

The centre is located in the campus of the UEA at Norwich. On enquiring at the desk we found that we could go on two tours.

One introducing the building and its contents and the second around the Elizabeth Frink exhibition.

After a nice cup of coffee we met with a volunteer guide Phillipa who first explained to us the history of the building which was built in 1973 to a design by Norman Foster to house the art collection Robert and Lisa Sainsbury.

They gave their collection of objects,paintings and books on art to the university.

The collection includes many ancient and modern anthropological artefacts as well as some modern works including a beautiful mother and child by Henry Moore.

We started by looking at a lovely little hippopotamus, made in Egypt of fired clay about 3000 years ago. Our guide explained that the items are arranged according to regions of the world.

We looked at items from the middle and Far East, south and North America admiring the skill of their creators and enjoying the beauty of many of them.

After enjoying the permanent exhibition we joined another volunteer guide Diane who took us downstairs to view the special exhibition showing the work of the sculptor Elizabeth Frink which was titled “Humans and other animals “.

In the first room were 3 outstanding works, a walking Madonna, a seated man and 3 flying men. All were outstanding. The Madonna was not the gentle lady of tradition but a striding angular figure with a grieving face.

The seated man oozed power and strength while the flying men seemed to be wearing flying helmets and just launching themselves Our guide explained something of the life of Elizabeth Frink who was much affected by experiences during wartime and by the menace of the atom bomb and Cold War.

Her method for constructing her sculptures was by using an armature of wire, metal and scraps over which she worked plaster. Although she cut away some plaster later her works are mainly rough surfaced. She mainly made figures of men many of which I felt looked aggressive or threatening. Her animals and birds also looked aggressive. Her cat was not a friendly pussy but a threatening fighting moggie.

It was a very stimulating experience.

After all this we were ready for a light lunch in the light airy cafe which looks out on several sculptures.In the afternoon some people went to see the other exhibition of paintings by Ken Kiff.

I revisited Elizabeth FrInk We all felt that the sculpture park around the building and campus would be good to visit in the summer.

We left at 3:00 with many thanks to our guides and to Jill for organising a very enjoyable day.

Marian Rowe.