C&C's latest exhibiton Heads and Tails launches

Picturing People and Other Animals
6 September, 2023
C&C's latest exhibiton Heads and Tails launches
Heads and Tails focuses upon depictions of people and animals, by ten contemporary artists based in East Anglia. Each has a different approach to their subject. Included within the exhibition are portraits of people accompanied by animals, these may be domestic pets, working animals in their work setting, or wild animals in their natural habitat.



Nine of the artists included are based in Norfolk, one in Suffolk. They have exhibited widely throughout the country. Their work is approachable, showing how animals interact with us and are impacted by human activity. Others are mythological beasts or symbolise a human quality. Media includes painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, taxidermy, and clay modelling.
There are paintings and drawings by John Kiki and Colin Self, well-established artists who have enjoyed long and distinguished careers. They are both in their eighties and have their work in national museum collections as well as private collections internationally. John Kiki is known for his lively part poured paintings of figures and animals in friezes, often painted on a large-scale. Colin Self is a Pop artist who has used advertising and discarded materials like used stationery, train tickets and chocolate bar wrappers to make his intimate paintings and drawings on paper, maquettes for sculpture and prints. Colin is raising funds for veterans by selling copies of a print based upon his original drawing on an envelope of a former soldier and his dog.


 Artworks by (Top): Colin Self and (Above) John Kiki

Emily Mayer was a taxidermist and sculptor who had a distinguished career traversing both realms. Emily's life-like dioramas of animals are virtuoso examples of the techniques she was instrumental in establishing in contemporary art. Complimenting these playful tableaux will be photographs by Katayoun Dowlatshahi. Her images are built up physically by building up layers of carbon as each photographic print is hand processed using gelatin giving the image a slightly raised three-dimensional presence. They are highly detailed, she finds affirmative signs of life where most would see deterioration and death. Sculptors Roger Hardy and Rachael Long both make constructions from found materials. Rachael Long has carried out several large-scale public art commissions like Lifeboat Horse in Wells-Next-To-The-Sea harbour. She has a fluid approach, using steel from scrap as well as other reclaimed sources that she transforms into an animal's thigh, or rib cage. Her observation of the animal is present in each of her sculptures. Roger Hardy takes water eroded or treated timber that he forages for and subtly alters, applying natural clay and pigments, creating deceptively simple figures. His figures frequently carry markings or take on a morphology from the timber that lend them animal qualities, like flight.



 Artworks by (clockwise from top left): Emily Mayer, Katayoun Dowlatshahi, Rachael Long and Roger Hardy


Louise Richardson has been making mesmerising images from found materials, like early black and white photographs, feathers, textiles, and articles of antique clothing for many years. Her work is presented as 'memento mori', framed assemblages that connect to tell a story by their close association. Jessica Perry makes drawings on paper that explore the difference between the lives of real creatures and their anthropomorphised versions in stories. These will be the subject of a forthcoming book. Nessie Stonebridge paints, makes clay sculpture, and creates drawings on paper often including 3D elements. Her work is expressive and finely drawn emphasising the qualities of the animals in moments of flight or fright, life or death, observed in the rural surroundings of her studio. And Rosie Phillips, the youngest artist in this group, is a self-taught Norwich-based painter who has worked to commission, painting contemporary portraits of people in the home, often with their pets, in their workplace and even on public transport!


 Artworks by (clockwise from top left): Louise Richardson, Jessica perry, Rosie Phillips and Nessie Stonebridge

About the author

Paul Vater, Director of Contemporary and Country

Paul Vater

Paul conducts studio visits to maintain strong relationships with artists, designers and craftspeople who show their work with us. He manages the main C&C website and has developed the online shop where selected works are presented for sale.


Paul established his design company, Sugarfree, in 1990 and quickly gained a reputation for delivering fresh, effective marketing campaigns and brand identities for clients including Save the Children Fund, United Nations Association and UNHCR. Over the years those added to the roster include IPC Magazines, Arts Council England, The Roundhouse, Barbican Centre, Arts Marketing Association, Look Ahead Housing and Care, Paddington Waterside, BBC Worldwide, Commonwealth Foundation, Prestel, City of London Corporation, Baker Street Quarter, Victoria BID and the University of East Anglia.