Stray Birds

An Intervention by John Hutchinson

This exhibition, a fleeting ‘intervention’ into nag Gallery’s usual contemporary art programme, is a selection from the many images and objects that I have collected in recent times. Not valuable, seldom beautiful, usually rough and vernacular - why do I find them so engaging and necessary? Perhaps because they are the residue of other people’s life journeys, either plainly useful or the representation of beliefs that may be different from mine but which have enough in common with my own experience to resonate and expand in my imagination. The spiritual things may seem somewhat strange and mysterious, but actually they embody ways of exploring and coming to terms with familiar and deep aspects of life, such as fear, death, love, and transcendence. In the main they are optimistic, fortified by faith and hope. I don’t often share their understanding of the world, but I admire, and to some extent envy, their conviction and sureness. I like to surround myself with their simple wholeheartedness, precisely because that quality seems to be so absent in our own culture. And as a reflexive afterthought, I have also included two old postcards, which serve as memories or recollections of what, to me, are influential and meaningful places. One is of the wonderful Rio de Janeiro, where I grew up and was first shown that there are many plausible ways to live our lives; the second reminds me of the university where, for three immensely enjoyable years, I immersed myself in Oriental Studies, without any inhibiting doubt or scepticism. They helped me to understand that the ‘other’, in its essence, is an aspect of oneself. 

John Hutchinson
June 2017