Sunday, 1 June 2014


  is an exhibition at Morley College - open until June19th - of work inspired by the collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Morley is 5 minutes walk from The Old Vic theatre and a mere 10-12 minutes down Westminster Bridge Road from Big Ben itself.

The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai ca 1831-1833

Neil Macgregor, in his History of the World in 100 Objects, features Under the Wave of Kanagawa' (The Great Wave) as Number 93. He says '(It) is probably the most iconic Japanese artwork in the world. It depicts a monstrous wave about to come crashing down on three fishing boats and their crews. On the horizon is Mount Fuji, dwarfed by the colossal wave. The print was created by Hokusai when he was about 70 years was made using coloured woodblock printing and many thousands of impressions were made - each one sold quite cheaply'.

This much-loved print is said to have inspired many works of art, including both Debussey's La Mere and Rilke's Der Berg. The artist Patricia Leigh writes 'I have always admired the prints of Hokusai and I especially wanted to translate The Wave print from a flat, one sided view into a three dimensional sculpture. 

The Great Wave by Patricia Leigh

Photographs cannot do justice to her The Great Wave, which is sinewy and strong yet has the delicacy of a seashell. It bows with the wind yet hints at jaws which might snap at anything in its path. Its lacey edges could have made of ice. And the joy, of course, is that unlike Hokusai's flat picture, we can move around to see it from all perspectives.

The first waves I saw as a child swept in from the windy North Sea onto Lowestoft's sandy beaches. Someone told me that every seventh wave had special power. This was something I was very prepared to believe, because each one seemed magical. I counted the waves for weeks afterwards. Then a fisherman told me that at sea waves were as big as houses. That, I thought, was a step too far, though I quickly learned it was true indeed it's something of an understatement. 

Patricia Leigh again:" Conceiving the dynamic force of water and elements I want to portrait the surge and beauty of the sea as in the Hokusai print. I tried to capture the entire majestic magic of wind and water in clay which  I subtly highlighted with  some glaze to enhance the effect of light playing on water". gallery,

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