In 2015-2016 Jonnie Turpie was proud to be High Sheriff of the West Midlands. He was also Artist in Residence at the historic Birmingham School of Art. Having trained as a printmaker over 35 years ago, he was honoured to be invited by BCU to take on this role. Over the year he honed his old skills, updated and developed new drawing and digital techniques to draw and print portraits of 30 West Midlanders he met as High Sheriff.
The portraits capture a wide and diverse group of people who in prominent and official public and private sector roles participated in the High Sheriff's year, as well as those who contribute and maintain the excellent art and culture of the region.
He considers it an honour to exhibit in the original ‘Print Room’ adjacent to collections of great artists held by our city, including the iconic Pre Raphaelites. Jonnie says "that this is way out of his league", but is a great recognition of the High Sheriff’s role, the West Midlands Shrievalty and an opportunity to celebrate it and those that have contributed.
Jonnie is looking forward to making more portraits of people from the region and beyond as he embarks on his work at the Birmingham School of Art, pursuing his work and research into digital and analogue techniques of printed portraiture.
During his year as High Sheriff he choose to focus his year on the arts, creative industries and young people which enabled him to meet many talented and committed people in the creation, delivery and promotion of arts and culture. To focus his activities he chose a national charity, the Koestler Trust and the Midland's John Feeney Trust. Both charities have supported young people from diverse and sometimes challenged backgrounds to find expression through the arts.
Birmingham Museums Trust faces core funding challenges as it plans for a 21st Century future. The Shrieval Year prints are available for sale with all proceeds going to the Trust.
A donation to Birmingham Museums Trust helps to maintain the great value arts, culture and our heritage make to our quality of life and the invitation to people of all creeds from the West Midlands and beyond to welcome all peoples to our city.
For more information about Jonnie Turpie, his work as High Sheriff in 2015-16 and the role of the High Sheriff please download the Printed Portraits pdf.