Hidden sketches are heart of exhibition

SHAUN LOWTHORPE For nearly 60 years they were hidden away in a drawer. But now sketches by a Norwich-based artist detailing the building of a new road in post-war Yugoslavia, are at the heart of new international exhibition.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

For nearly 60 years they were hidden away in a drawer.

But now sketches by a Norwich-based artist detailing the building of a new road in post-war Yugoslavia, are at the heart of new international exhibition.

For Doff Ransome the works were part of her sketchbook she filled in during a six week spell when she was a volunteer in the British brigade in 1948.


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"I was digging the road," she said. "I wanted to see a bit of the world and we shared a hut with students from Denmark and Zagreb. Working in teams of around 20, the then 21-year-old said days were spent digging - but she still found time for some drawings.

"We were under armed guard because of Stalin," she said. "It's quite near Novi Sad and it's now on the map."

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Now the 79-year-old, a graduate of the Slade School of Art has found the drawings again for the Norwich Twenty group twin cities exhibition which is showcasing the work of its members and artists from twin cities Rouen, El Viejo and Novi Sad.

"My family hasn't even seen them as I put them away," she said. "But I showed them to a friend who thought they would be suitable to put in the exhibition as it would include works from Novi Sad.

Vesna Latinovic, from the Novi Sad-based Bell Art Gallery, who has brought works over to Norwich for the exhibition, said the road, whose name translates as Brotherhood and Unity, now stretches from Slovenia in the South and into Macedonia, forming a vital part of the country's transport network.

"It formed the spine of the ex-Yugoslavia," she said. "I was really surprised to see the sketches because for my generation this is part of our history. The drawings are interesting in themselves but also because they capture how her work has matured."

Set up in 1944, the Norwich Twenty Group has evolved from a discussion group of professional artists to one hosting weekly life workshops at Wensum Lodge.

The exhibition also features works of members who have recently passed away including Ena Morris and Mary Tall.

Barry Watkins, chairman of the Norwich Twenty group, said: "This is a new venture for the group and as well as welcoming fellow artists from these cities, we hope it will be a catalyst for further co-operation between fellow artists from other countries.

The exhibition at the former Bally Shoe Factory in Hall Road, Norwich, is open 10am to 5pm daily until September 15.

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