Yasmin David: Into the Light At The New Walsall Art Gallery

Finding a new artist’s body of work to love and savour is always a moment to cherish. That is what I encountered when I checked out Yasmin David’s ‘Into the Light’ exhibition that is currently showing at the New Walsall Art Gallery. The exhibition is the first of David’s work, she is a relatively unknown artist with work of real beauty that was hidden away in her home in Devon during her lifetime, only to be discovered in its entirety by her daughter Clio David, during lockdown.

Now the work is taking its rightful place in the museum that is also home to the world renowned Garman Ryan collection, rightful, because Yasmin is the daughter of Lorna, the youngest Garman sister, a glamorous muse to artists and writers. Her father was the writer Laurie Lee, something she didn’t discover until her teens, and wasn’t confirmed until she confronted him in a pub at the age of 19. With such a dramatic, unconventional family, often involved in scandalous, convoluted relationships, Yasmin went against the grain and kept her artwork and life private, although always harbouring a dream that one day her work would be displayed alongside the works of her illustrious family. Seeing her work at the New Walsall Gallery, it feels like another piece in the puzzle of the Garman’s has been put back into place.

Yasmin loved her South Devon home, and the landscape, rivers and streams of the county were often the inspiration for her work. Her initial paintings were conventional in their style, but often with a glorious sense of colour and place that made them come alive. Later paintings became more abstract, but Yasmin never lost the thrall she gained from that landscape, producing painting after painting.

The exhibition is a wonderful way to access Yasmin’s work, with lots of source material also available in the guise of polaroid’s of some of the sites and settings of the paintings, letters between Yasmin and her family, and archive photographs of family  These provide a real sense of place and inspiration for the work and give an insight into Yasmin’s life.

You can find out more about the exhibition here.


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