20.1 C
Harrow on the Hill
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeCommunityMichael Rosen exhibition to open at Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner

Michael Rosen exhibition to open at Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner

The Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner is set to host a landmark exhibition, Michael Rosen: The Illustrators, opening on June 29. This exhibition will journey through the life and career of Michael Rosen via a selection of original illustrations from his books.

Featuring work by 14 artists across various mediums, including pencil sketches, watercolour artworks, film, digital art, and collage, the exhibition spans Rosen’s career from the 1970s to the present day. It showcases pieces by renowned long-time collaborators such as Quentin Blake and Tony Ross, as well as exciting projects like Claire Mackie’s illustrations for Michael Rosen’s Book of Nonsense and Rosen’s latest books, illustrated by David Melling and Michael Foreman.

Michael Rosen, born in Harrow in 1946, spent his childhood growing up in Pinner. He is one of the UK’s most celebrated children’s writers and is also a renowned poet, performer, broadcaster, and scriptwriter.

As a patron of the Heath Robinson Museum and an advocate for children’s literature, poetry, and illustration, Rosen’s exhibition emphasises the integral role illustration plays in his work.

“The child who reads and looks at my books sees it as one whole thing,” he says.

“Words and pictures are part of a ‘thing’ but not as separate elements. They combine in fascinating ways, each side of the combination contributing to the other: words informing the pictures, the pictures informing the words.

“One person called it a ‘relay’ as if our minds run to and fro between the two. I agree with that, but it leaves out the fact that our minds combine the two. Our minds are great at synthesising information from different sources. So, for me, illustrations in books where I’ve provided the words are crucial to this. They are a vital element of the synthesis that the child makes out of the book they’re looking at and reading.”

He adds that having worked with so many illustrators over the years, he could not possibly choose his favourite.

Michael Rosen exhibition to open at Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner Harrow Online
Illustration © Korky Paul

“Every illustrator I’ve worked with has brought something different to the table and created a new ‘unity’ that we call the book,” he says. “I’m always fascinated and delighted by what they make, page by page, through the book as a whole.”

Besides illustrations, the exhibition includes examples of Rosen’s poetry and storytelling, and a timeline of his career.

Hannah Whyte, assistant curator at the Heath Robinson Museum, is a lifelong fan of Rosen’s work and was delighted to take on the task of creating this show.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to meet lots of different artists, and hearing the stories about how they brought Michael Rosen’s work to life,” she says. “I can’t wait to share those stories with our audiences. This exhibition is aimed at everyone, but is especially geared towards children, who will discover the wit and wonder of Michael Rosen’s storytelling, as well as the beautiful, whacky and silly illustrations that breathe life into Michael’s words.”

The exhibition includes several features designed for young visitors. There will be a reading and learning zone filled with books, coloring pages, and cushions. The gallery’s Activity Studio will offer activities and fun facts, focusing on the process of illustrating written works. Regular storytelling sessions and a workshop with Michael Rosen are also planned.

There will also be activities in Pinner Memorial Park. Details of these events will be published on the gallery’s website, www.heathrobinsonmuseum.org.

For Michael Rosen, the show is a chance to share important insights into how his published books take shape.

Michael Rosen exhibition to open at Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner Harrow Online
Illustration by Korky Paul for NO Breathing in Class by Michael Rosen -Illustration © Korky Paul

“I hope that people will see that someone like me who works in the world of children’s books as a writer is in reality someone who is part of cooperative, collaborative, creative process,” he says. “When you look at an illustrated book, you are really listening in to a conversation between writer and illustrator. That may be a literal conversation, when we chat to each other, or it may be a metaphorical conversation that goes on in, say, the illustrator’s head, when they interpret the words I’ve written. Their pictures are in essence a ‘reading’ of the words, just as we say an actor does a reading of a speech. What we see is the illustrator’s interpretation. I hope visitors will see how they’ve done this.”

Michael Rosen will be at the opening of the exhibition in Pinner which runs from 11pm to 4pm on June 29. Michael Rosen: The Illustrators runs from June 29 to September 22.

Tickets can be purchased on walk-in or prebooked online at the Heath Robinson Museum Website

Never miss another news story, subscribe to Harrow Online for FREE!