Katie Horwich studied Illustration at the University of Brighton. She grew up within the Finchley area. In infants school she remembered that she would swap bits of 'Japanese paper' in the playground. After seeing the MoDA Collection and the Japanese influence, she wondered if the area had changed since she’d left. She was reassured to discover that there was still a strong connection, “amongst the local children, Japanese and Gujarati are the most common languages other than English spoken in the homes of West Finchley.”
For the Hasler Gallery she has created a decorative screen, which combines images of the local Barnet landscape with ancient Japanese screens, direct observational drawing with imagined exotic motifs. Her pieces evoke the act of swapping the snippets of the exotic within the very urban environment of the playground, and the magical quality found within these juxtapositions.
On one of her explorations of the area she writes: “ …I stood at the 221 bus stop on Alexandra Grove and stared at the sky. I’d spent hours waiting there as a schoolgirl. A pigeon landed on a branch, but I wished it were a hummingbird. I was waiting for dusk when the Finchley sky turns purple and you squint, imagining you’re in Kyoto” She looks at her work and asks whimsically “I wonder if somewhere in Japan there is a small suburb that looks just like Finchley?”
To see Katie's design journey, visit her MoDA project page. You can see more of her work on www.katiehorwich.co.uk.