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Tuesday 1st May

10.00 - 17.00

Ruth Borchard Self Portrait competition - Prize winner and selected entries

University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST

Celia Paul’s £10,000 prize winning entry and 30 other works purchased from the recent Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition and exhibition at Kings Place Gallery, form the basis of this exhibition which includes among others works by Maggi Hambling, Mary Mabbutt, Brita Granström, Marcelle Hanselaar, Greg Tricker and Shanti Panchal. 
In 1937 Ruth Berendsohn married Kurt Borchard and in the following year, like many other Jewish refugees, fled Nazi Germany for Britain. Ironically, as a victim of persecution, she was then interned as an “enemy alien”, first in Holloway prison and then in an internment camp on the Isle of Man. Her semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical novel, “We are Strangers Here”, vivid enough to make a memorable film, is based on her Holloway experiences while her detention on the Isle of Man demonstrated her extraordinary resilience. While there she devised a programme of morale boosting jobs for her fellow detainees, many of whom were bereaved, as well as bringing up her daughter Katherine. (Her husband Kurt was separately interned in Dorset.)
After the war this cultivated and resolute woman followed up her interest in memoirs and diaries by focusing upon their visual arts equivalent, self-portraits. With a certain chutzpah she offered promising artists of the day 21 guineas for their self-portrait and was rarely refused. She was prescient, too: the collection that she acquired includes Euan Uglow, Anthony Eyton, Patrick Proctor and Roger Hilton, a veritable constellation of future stars.
In 2011 a Borchard self-portrait competition was held to signal the centenary of her birth as well as a means of bringing the collection up to date. Celia Paul’s poignant, even desolate study was the winner and other participants whose work has since been purchased include Mary Mabbutt, Maggi Hambling, Marcelle Hanselaar and Leslie Marr.  In the original collection there were only five women artists and their greater representation now is not a matter of a feminist redressing of the gender balance but simply a recognition of quality. 
23 March – 11 May 2012
Monday – Thursday 10am – 5pm
Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm
Admission Free
University Gallery, Northumbria University 
Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST
T: 0191 227 4424
E: [email protected]
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