A collection of winning artwork and poetry inspired by images taken by scientists at Norwich Research Park will go on display at the Sainsbury Centre next week, offering an insight into the close link between the arts and science.
Norwich Research Park has unveiled the winners of its Engaging Images art and poetry competition. The competition showcased the talents of both professional artists and members of the public, and entrants were invited to submit creations that had to be inspired by one of 11 photographic images taken by scientists based at the Park, that were shown in an exhibition at the Norwich Science Festival in October. The images covered some of the global challenges we face such as healthy ageing, food and energy security, sustainability and environmental change. A selection of paintings, sketches, sculpture and poems were entered.
The competition was organised by Alexia Mlynarska, Associate Director of Communications and PR for Norwich Research Park, Dr Jenni Rant and Sami Stebbings, both of the SAW Trust, to promote the Park’s image library. The idea for an image library came from Jenni’s work with the SAW Trust, which brings together science, art and writing (SAW) to disseminate scientific research in schools and is based at the John Innes Centre. The images are used to inspire choolchildren to explore the underlying science by doing experiments, writing poems and creating works of art for sharing.
Jenni said: “We are building a library of striking images that reflect the fantastic research being conducted here on the Park that will be freely available to schools, universities and businesses. The research undertaken here can generate stunning images and we are delighted that we have been able to share them publicly and that they have provided the inspiration for this competition.”
The winning poem was ‘Oblivion’ by Daniel Page; first place in the 12-18 years category went to ‘Diatoms’ by Poppy Bye; the winning adult art piece was ‘The bite of victory without the song of pain (or) southern fried nuggets’ by Maia Brown; and the number one professional artist entry was ‘Three’ by Sophia Shuvalova.
Sami commented: “We feel it is important to use the arts to create a greater interest in science. This was the first such competition we have run and we plan to run it again next year, where we’ll aim to increase the number of entries and encourage greater involvement from schools.”
The Engaging Images competition was judged by a panel including Professor Anne Osbourn, John Innes Centre; Sophie Stainthorpe, Content Editor, Archant; David Parfrey, Executive Chair, Norwich Research Park; Chris Hann, local artist; and Becky Tough, Director, artpocket.
David Parfrey said: “It really is wonderful to see such a close link being shown between the arts and science. If we can engage with as many people as possible and make science an inspirational topic like it has been for this competition, then we should be able to make science mainstream and get all ages interested in its importance in our futures.”
Anne Osbourn said: “The quality of entries was exceptional. It was great to see what science can inspire and how the arts can stimulate the minds of scientists. I was particularly impressed by the poem ‘Oblivion’ by Daniel Page, inspired by the bacterial image, which suggested that we are all heading for oblivion.”
Sophie Stainthorpe said: “It was really interesting to see the different ways in which the artists had interpreted the images from Norwich Research Park’s scientists and the different media used – poems, sculptures and paintings. My particular favourite was ‘Pacifying Robigus’ by Josh Waites because it explored the complexities of Ethiopian culture and its uncertain future. It really did create a connection with me as it reinforced the human element in our world’s struggles.”
Chris Hann said: “The standard of entries was impressively high, even for the non-professionals. Every artist interpreted the original image in a very personal way. It was quite a job to find a winner. For me the Protein Pyramid sculpture by David Heulun was fantastic. I love the playfulness it exhibited using children’s toys to promote a strong and serious message about the future of foodstuffs posing the question ‘Do we eat too much meat?”
Oblivion by Daniel Page
In the inane blackness,
A forsaken satellite, Disturbs the vacuum of space.
Peppered over the eons, By a multitude of debris,
It hastens along the event horizon.
Ever decreasing circles,
Of cosmic inevitability,
An oblivion it cannot escape.
The winners will have their images displayed at an exhibition in the Sainsbury Centre from December 3-8. Entry is free.
If you would like to know more about these images or how art and science meets, please go to www.sawtrust.org.
To access the Norwich Research Park free library of images please go to www.images.norwich researchpark.ac.uk