‘It’s A Hard World For Little Things’ comprises two multimedia exhibitions, by C.A. Halpin. The first runs between 4th July - 2nd August 2015 at Angus-Hughes Gallery, London E5. The second is at the V&A Museum of Childhood, London E2, between January-July 2016.
The exhibitions feature large-scale drawings, sculpture, music performance and projections, depicting children carrying heavy objects - from bricks and bags to water and each other.
The concept is inspired by the 1955 film ‘The Night of the Hunter’, a story of good and evil, seen through the eyes of two runaway orphaned children. While Halpin’s graphic works echo the film in style and tone, they lack any sentimentality in acknowledging young people’s strength and fortitude as they deal with life’s challenges. Halpin’s monumental graphite drawings render the ordinariness of their burdens iconic and cinematic, elevating mundane struggles to mythical storytelling.
The themes that run throughout the shows are further explored in a soundscape with Charles Laughton’s abridged re reading of the book by Davis Grubb, to be accompanied by a choreographed performance and a projection of the original film.
The show highlights Halpin’s typically collaborative approach, with an ever-changing group of artists, musicians and performers, here named ‘The Outside World All Stars’, including composer Mat Ducasse, voice artist Fenella Fudge, Royal Ballet dancer and choreographer Vanessa Fenton and projections from Rucksack Cinema. There is also input from typographers Pixel Press and photographers including Alixandra Fazzina and Claire Lawrie, while The Bhopal Medical Appeal charity have allowed access to their photographic archives as reference.
'It’s A Hard World For Little Things' is arranged across two multimedia exhibitions, with Halpin presenting a number of large-scale graphite drawings, which articulate the pressures and strains on young children, carrying the burden of the adult world’s expectations and hopes on their shoulders. Driven by their primal instincts of survival and preternatural resilience, the young subjects of her drawings demonstrate an innate humanity and kindness. But the dryness of Halpin’s eye and her firm, bold lines avoid cloying sentimentality. Rather, her work as ever, brings forth a remarkable alliance of technical mastery and poignant, apposite subject matter to reflect upon a universal human condition. - Arsalan Mohammad, Editor, Harper’s Bazaar Art
C.A. Halpin is a Londoner who lives and works firmly in the East End, amongst the landmarks and people that created Britart, the most successful British art movement for generations. A startlingly talented draughtswoman, that unfashionable but impressive activity, she is absolutely not caught in the past, and works across many media in a playful and unpredictable manner. Her thinking is utterly contemporary – finding connections with witty ease. Her meticulous eye, accurate hand and tender heart will ensure that her work will achieve the prominence it deserves. Guy Kennaway, Writer & Journalist
At first glance upon the drawings, we here filled with an instantaneous combination of intense pain and extreme pride. Pain for the loss of our beloved Ricky and pride at how wonderfully Cate had immortalised him in her paintings Grainne O’Rourke, Oldest sister of Ricky O’Rourke the homeless subject of the drawings.