Art exhibition revolves around magpies

A Murder of Magpies by Tom Van Herrewege
A Murder of Magpies by Tom Van Herrewege

An art exhibition centred around magpies and the superstitions which have developed around them has gone on display in Market Harborough.

The exhibition contains new photography, an interactive sculpture and drawings made over the last four months while Tom Van Herrewege has been the artist-in-residence at Harborough’s Brooke House College.

A main shot from An Infinite Rhyme by Tom Van Herrewege

A main shot from An Infinite Rhyme by Tom Van Herrewege

Tom said: “The exhibition is a series of recent works made to explore the age-old superstitions and associations we have developed around the magpie yet reconsidered and presented with a contemporary approach.”

The show opened on Friday and closes next Friday, January 30. The exhibition is at 8 Roman Way, next to the Garage Bakehouse.

It will be open to the public from 10am to 6pm each day apart from today, Sunday, when it is closed.

The exhibition coincides with the release of the artist’s new book, Pica Pica.

Tom has been the artist-in-residence at Brooke House since last September.

Last year he was involved in a research project in Madagascar, the island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of south-east Africa.

That lead to the publication of Creature Fady: Perceptions and Understandings of the Animal Kingdom in Malagasy Fady and Folklore.

Tom has continued his line of research in rural Britain but this time focusing on one notorious animal: the Eurasian magpie.

Tom explained: “The magpie is a seemingly ever-present bird in Britain that is heavily burdened with bizarre and often negative superstitious associations, developed over centuries.

“Within this exhibition and accompanying book, I investigate and question age-old ideas surrounding the magpie both in Britain and worldwide.

“My intention is to research and analyse the human logic behind the understanding of specific animals.”

Tom’s exploration considers established mythological and religious human/animal connections.

He looked at certain animal phobias and questions the origins, movement and development of these around the world.

The artist has attempted to rationalise how these ideas have trended, contrasted and developed within different global cultures.