The Launch of Apples and People; New Ways of Looking at Apples.

Just a quick post to celebrate the launch of applesandpeople.org.uk featuring The Apple World map that I illustrated last Summer. The website is a virtual prelude to the physical exhibition, Apples & People, planned at the Cider Museum and four National Trust properties in Herefordshire for whenever the pandemic allows venues to open more freely. It documents the art, history and science of the apple and how, through the knowledge sharing and collaboration of people across the globe, the fruit as we know it exists today.

As we have all had to adapt rapidly in an insecure world, so did the curator and programmers of Apples & People. Covid 19 forced the museum and National Trust properties to temporarily close but the website is an innovative way to bring the exhibition to the public online instead. Just as you might gradually discover new rooms of artefacts and facts in a physical museum, the online exhibition will slowly be released over the next year and a half. Forty different stories about the apple will be told using the map illustrations I created as a starting point.

There’ll be lots more interesting information and images from the archives supported by leading experts from around the world. In fact, it’s quite remarkable what an international endeavour this has been with contributors (geneticists, historians, pomologists and plant physiologists) from America, Europe, Australasia and Asia. You can subscribe to the site to ensure regular apple stories in your inbox or pop in periodically to turn the virtual corner and find something new on the exhibition walls.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/16/Paul_C%C3%A9zanne%2C_The_Basket_of_Apples.jpg/602px-Paul_C%C3%A9zanne%2C_The_Basket_of_Apples.jpg
The Basket of Apples by Cezanne.

Applesandpeople.org.uk launched with the tale of the French Post-impressionist artist, Cezanne, on the day of his birthday – 19th January. The story is told of how he resolved to make his paintings of the humble apple the talk of Paris; taking something mundane, making us look at it anew and recognise it as something magnificent.

There’s also an interview with British contemporary artist, Anthony Barford, who’s created huge ceramic sculptures of apples and apple trees (from which you can even pick apples to keep!). This current work starts with the story of Adam and Eve and reflects on the apple as a symbol within a society constantly wanting more.

Lastly, it’s lovely to see the logo I designed gracing both the map and the web branding.

It’s been a difficult time for museums but I hope the online exhibition Apples & People at least plants the seeds of new beginnings. It will be a different way to access a curated collection; there will be no physical apples to pick here. But, like the apple itself, it’s been helped to flourish by people from across the globe and like Cezanne and his painting of apples, perhaps the online exhibition will make us experience something familiar in a new way until we are able to visit in person.

Apples & People is a partnership between The Brightspace Foundation, the Cider Museum and the National Trust in Herefordshire.

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