Bringing Italian art to Islington
As the Estorick Collection’s popular exhibition ‘War in the Sunshine: The British in Italy 1917-1918’ comes to a close, we caught up with Jenny Pengilly education coordinator to talk about her work with Islington’s communities.
The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art sits in a beautifully restored Grade ll listed Georgian town house in Canonbury Square. The gallery reopened in January after an extensive refurbishment, which has opened up the entranceway and shop and extended the café space with a new glass conservatory.
Jenny has worked at the gallery for the past three years and designs and manages a programme for schools, families, adults and community groups.
“For schools, it’s trying to bring the collection to life for the pupils, so we talk about the different approaches to art, the context the work was made in and the materials used. Whereas for the adult programmes, it’s more about teaching people different techniques.”
Adult evening classes relate to the gallery’s temporary exhibition and permanent collection. Estorick has 122 pieces, including a number of key Futurist works, dating from 1890 to the 1950s and is Britain’s only museum devoted to modern Italian art.
“Our main goal as an art foundation is education so my work is really at its core. And because it’s art you can talk to people about their opinions and ideas surrounding the work, so I feel I get as much back as what I offer them.”
The gallery works in partnership with local organisations like Stuart Low Trust, Claremont project and Age UK to deliver creative workshops and tours with a focus on art and well-being.
“In Islington, there is so much available culturally. A lot of the people that come here are so busy because there are so many workshops and events on offer. That’s why I like my job, because I get to meet lots of different people.”
The gallery’s forthcoming exhibition focuses on Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) who was one of the founding members of the Futurist movement and an undisputed master of modern Italian art. It opens on Wednesday 5 April and runs until 25 June.
“This is a whole retrospective of his work so we have lots of amazing examples of his applied arts in fashion, furniture and interior design as well as his early paintings. So I’m really excited about that. There’s going to be lots of bold colour and shapes and we will be doing some exciting workshops looking at fashion, light and movement with schools.”