Written by Claire Messenger, Manager, International Training Programme.
On Monday 28 September I was delighted to be invited to a Zoom-talk by Aprille P Tijam, Senior Manager for Exhibitions and Collections, Ayala Museum (Philippines, ITP Fellow 2019) as part of the Ayala Museum Monday Studies series. Aprille was talking about her research on the Fernando Zobel collection and donation to the British Museum, a project conceived during her International Training Programme placement in 2019 and supported by the British Council’s Connections Though Culture programme
With an excellent audience attendance, Aprille gave a fascinating presentation and looked at the main aspects of the project.
Who is Fernando Zobel?
In this project Aprille was supported by the Ayala Foundation. who encouraged her to conduct the research as “official business”; the British Council who provided the funding and the British Museum, through the Department of Prints and Drawings, who provided access to the collection.
Aprille explained the objectives of her project – how she aimed to catalogue, condition check and create a reference list of the donation. She intended to look at how, when and why the donation was made to the British Museum and she wanted to continue her international networking.
Aprille then discussed her methodology and thanked those in the BM Department of Prints and Drawings who has supported her visit. She explained how she had taken photographs of all the works – a very important part of the project – for future reference and documented the donation looking at the archives that sat alongside the generous gift.
Her summary of the donations were fascinating and engaging and brought Fernando Zobel ‘to life’ as a global figure and true internationalist. She talked about Zobel’s friends in London as she had the opportunity to meet with Mr Christopher Mendez and his son Max and Mrs Lorna Rowlands, the widow of the former Keeper of the British Museum’s of Prints and Drawings. The stories of time spent in London and Spain with the artist painted a lovely picture of strong personal relationships.
Aprille finished her presentation by looking at ‘what’s next’ and talked about how she wants to continue to learn more about the printmaking techniques used by Zobel in his work, to continue her collaboration with the Department of Prints and Drawings and to look to a future exhibition of the prints and drawings of Fernando Zobel.
Aprille then took questions from a clearly very engaged audience who gave both positive feedback and some exciting suggestions for the future of the project.
I would like to thank Aprille and her colleagues for inviting me to be part of this event. It was a truly wonderful experience and left me thoroughly looking forward to hearing what will happen next for this project.