Although I knew that I love her work as I have seen several pieces before, I wasn't really prepared for how much it moved me, nor how impressive the sculptural work and craftsmanship is. I was left with an overwhelming feeling that this piece was saying something so profound about humanity and that it will be around in centuries of time, being studied by our descendants many years hence who will have a sense of how we are from this set of sculptures - like we study the Easter island sculptures or Aztec icons. I can't quite tell you what they will conclude, or what the figures are telling us now but somehow, it is an expression of who we are and how we relate to each other : love, concern, worry, fear, compassion, courage - it is all reflected there in powerfully featured faces and expressive eyes that will tell the world about us in years to come.
Ana Maria Pacheco was head of fine art at Norwich School of Art (now Norwich University of the Arts).
During her time in Norwich she made friends and developed a bind with the city. Many people are thrilled to have her work here and it has been so skilfully curated by Keith Roberts for the Norfolk Contemporary Art Society (NCAS), in association with Pratt Contemporary. It feels very special for Norwich.
I have only seen two of the works so far - at Norwich Cathedral and another at the NUA Gallery in St George's Street when I went to the opening. It was so crowded it was hard to see the work as the art community of Norwich turned out to greet Ana Maria in person.
Curator Keith Roberts said “Ana’s art encompasses large and enduring themes; violence, journeys, death, love, transformation and metamorphosis reflect her high seriousness, but at the same time her work is neither pompous nor devoid of humour.”
All I can say is that you should go and see, and take the time to be able to look at each piece - as far as I can tell each piece is carved out of a tree trunk, an ash tree I am told - making use of the natural curves of the trunk but still enabling a hugely sophisticated finish of paint, eyes and other additions to create the fine detail. The exhibition are in place for some months but each have different dates so check the details here