Tuesday 24 January was an exciting day for the archive, heritage library and museum team – the launch of new exhibition, ‘Unfamiliar’.
Visitors and guests arriving at the Grade I listed modernist RCP building noted how striking the exhibition looks from a distance. The bold, jewel-like colours of the photographs newly created for Unfamiliar by fine art photographer Theo Deproost stand out brightly against the tile and hessian backdrops of the building, drawing the eye.
Unfamiliar was co-curated by Deproost and Debbie Jegede, a lead physician associate in the emergency department at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. Together Debbie and Theo combined their medical and artistic viewpoints to select items that appealed to them from the museum and library stores. These items were then photographed by Theo, who reimagined and reinvigorated the items, showing us how looking at things in new ways can engage the senses and challenge what we think we know.
The evening included speeches from Lowri Jones, RCP senior curator, Debbie and Theo, followed by an active round of questions from attendees. Theo and Debbie spoke animatedly about their work on the project, both reflecting on how working with the other has made them look at things in their day to day work differently. Debbie spoke about how she now thinks more deeply about the equipment she uses at work, and mentioned that although she previously ‘didn’t have a creative bone in [her] body’, she recently started visiting art galleries and museums while on holiday. Theo discussed the process of working on a project such as this, referencing his work with other museum collections and speaking about how the collaboration with Debbie brought a really unique side to reinterpreting the medical collections at the RCP.
Unfamilar is free to visit during RCP Museum opening hours and at museum events. If you cannot visit us in person, a short version of the exhibition can be viewed online.