Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Drawings Inspired by a Tiny Train at Hove Museum

In the Toy Trek game upstairs in the Wizard's Attic at Hove Museum, there is a tinplate steam train in a glass cabinet commemorating the coming of the railways to Brighton in 1841. It is dwarfed by playing cards and framed by an oval window in the display about a metre off the ground. It is easily overlooked and it tells of a time when Brighton was opening up to the world. 

During residency at Hove Museum, Fabula member Penelope Chong has spent many hours drawing this tiny object literally from the different viewpoints of an adult, a child and a toddler. 

The act of drawing is an act of scrutiny and this close examination has helped her to reflect on the different lives of objects. As a toy this was made to be played with: Stories of the passengers - the driver and the stoker  too - could be imagined as they were glimpsed through the carriage windows. It bears the fingerprints of ‘giants’ - the children that played with it. Now it sits behind glass as a museum piece, telling a different story.

The toy casts a dramatic shadow that Penelope has incorporated into her drawings. She says she was straining to see the detail in the train because of the size of it and the lighting conditions. This was a reminder to her of the passing of time and that her sight is deteriorating as she gets older. An interest in shadows and scars: ephemeral versus permanent is a recurring theme in Penelope’s own work and perhaps that is why this small toy train held her interest and why she dealt with it in this particular way. 

We thought you would find it interesting to see Penelope's sensitive drawings and to hear some of the thoughts bought about by the process of drawing a small toy train.  Next time you're at Hove Museum why not have a close look in The Wizard's Attic and see if you can see the little train? Maybe you'll see it a different way and bring your own story to it.

Penelope is a Brighton-based artist who is just as likely to pick up a scalpel or needle as a pencil or paintbrush, and enjoys working in a range of media and on a variety of surfaces, including live plants. She studied Fine Art Printmaking at Brighton University gaining a First Class Hons degree and she is midway through the MA in Sequential Design/Illustration. See more of Penelope's work at www.fabulacollective.com

Artists from Fabula will be in residency again at Hove Museum on Monday 29th August - do come down and see what we are doing. 

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