Left: “Happy Bird Day at the Zoo” 24x24 inches acrylic on canvas. part of the new collection of work for Darwin 200
John Dyer the celebrated Cornish painter will go back to his roots in many ways when painting at Newquay Zoo for the Darwin200 celebrations in 2009.
John grew up near Newquay at Holywell Bay and has spent time overseas painting plants and animals in many places linked to the zoo’s overseas projects including the Philippines, an area the zoo will be representing in its new Philippine exhibit in 2009.
“I am very pleased and inspired to be working with animals and birds in my paintings again.” says John Dyer.
John will be one of many Cornish painters, photographers, cartoonists and printmakers inspired by the zoo and working alongside keepers to build up a bank of contemporary new works for the award winning “fabulous, family friendly and free” Falmouth Art Gallery collection and its Darwin 200 exhibitions.
“In Darwin’s day and on other great voyages of discovery before photography, artists were routinely taken along to record the landscapes, plants and animals they discovered, so we are both working within a long tradition and also using new media in these exhibitions,” says Zoo Director and wildlife illustrator Stewart Muir.
“We’ve never had a resident artist at the zoo. We’re very excited! Although John Dyer as our Darwin 200 artist in residence will be painting in and around enclosures, we will kindly be letting him go home to his family at the end of the day !” quips the zoo’s Darwin 200 coordinator and Education Officer Mark Norris.
“We look forward to seeing these new works once finished on display in Falmouth and at the zoo in Darwin’s anniversary year 2009.” Newquay Zoo
The residency is the result of a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Falmouth Art Gallery, Newquay Zoo and partners to receive an award of £50,000 to undertake a year long project to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (1809-1882).
The project is being mounted in partnership with Newquay Zoo, Penlee House Gallery & Museum , University College Falmouth, The John Dyer Gallery and The Heritage Lottery Fund. The partnership will host a season of exhibitions, events and community activities as part of the national Darwin 200 celebrations www.darwin200.org
“The most important journey of the nineteenth century – perhaps the most important journey ever – was undertaken by Charles Darwin on The Beagle between 1831 and 1836” says Falmouth Art Gallery director Brian Stewart.
“Little known is the fact that Darwin would have sent and received specimens throughout his voyage and later studies back to this country via Falmouth and the packet ships. The HMS Beagle finally returned to Falmouth on the October 2, 1836, and so Cornwall and Falmouth are linked to the Darwin story and the publication of The Origin of Species, both of which are celebrated worldwide.”