Sarah Hegenbart is the curator of art at Pembroke. She is currently working towards a new temporary exhibition for the Pembroke Art Gallery and is acting as curator and conservator for the JCR Art Collection. Sarah also advises the JCR Art Fund Committee on possible new purchases and has recently organised a series of art school and gallery visits to identify new artistic positions. One of her aims is to establish a platform for cultural collaborations with other institutions, which will contribute to a wider engagement with the JCR art collection. Having completed a M.St. in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Magister in Philosophy and History of Art at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Sarah worked at the German Embassy in London. Currently, Sarah is a PhD candidate at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her research examines Christoph Schlingensief’s ‘Opera Village Africa’ (2008-ongoing) in Burkina Faso as a participatory experiment, which brings together the longer narratives emerging from Germany’s fascination with Richard Wagner. Among the exhibitions, she curated are Christoph Schlingensief’s first solo exhibition in the UK and Juergen Teller’s Pictures and Words. Sarah co-edited, together with Sven Muendner and Benjamin Eastham the book Mythos Berlin - A London Perspective, which accompanied an exhibition of the same title that was part of the Frieze Art Fair VIP Programme in 2012.
Nathalie Kantaris Díaz
Nathalie Kantaris Díaz is an undergraduate studying French and Italian, and the current Chair of the Pembroke JCR Art Fund. Her role is to represent the students’ interest in Pembroke’s art gallery, and to make sure they have as much access to the collection as possible. Nathalie, together with the curator and the committee, decide which approaches to take with the JCR art collection in terms of acquiring new works, always with the aim of maintaining the exceptional quality of the collection, and sticking with the founder’s ethos of raising awareness within the student body about the contemporary British art of our time. Our gallery went public for the first time last year under the previous chair, Claudia Zwar. Nathalie hopes to carry on Claudia’s hard work, keeping the gallery open to the public, and promoting it further for a wider public around Oxford. The curator and committee will be working together this year in the hope of holding a new exhibition in the gallery (following on from the success of the John Bratby and Jean Cooke exhibition last year), of video art, a very exciting new endeavour.
In addition to the work focused around the art gallery, Nathalie also works with the JCR Art Representative, running art-related events for students throughout the year. In fact, one of the committee’s first events of the year was hosting BBC arts editor, Will Gompertz, at Pembroke to talk about his new book. She hopes to hold many more exciting events like this one throughout the year.
Claudia Zwar is an undergraduate studying History and English, and last year was the Chair of the Pembroke JCR Art Fund. She has chosen to stay on the Committee this year as a trustee. During her time as Chair, Claudia collaborated with the gallery curator, Sarah Hegenbart, and was closely involved in the preparation and staging of the John Bratby and Jean Cooke exhibition. In addition to her work within the gallery, Claudia also worked with the JCR Art Representative, Eleanor Trend, to run art related events for students throughout the year. This year and last, for instance, she hosted an event at the Ashmolean museum in collaboration with the Ashmolean University Outreach Program, titled ‘Pembroke at the Ashmolean’. This was an opportunity for over 100 Pembroke students to visit the Ashmolean museum after hours, and listen to talks given by artists, academics and students from across Oxford. Claudia also oversaw the ‘going public’ of the Pembroke Gallery, and remains committed to raising its profile in Oxford and the wider art world
Nicky Laird is a volunteer for the Pembroke JCR Art Fund. She ran an art consultancy WhiteWall Partners in London for ten years before coming to live in Oxford with her family. Nicky has experience in helping private collectors buy contemporary art and her role at Pembroke is to advise the college on future purchases. Nicky is also helping Pembroke link up with partners in Oxford for future exhibitions in the gallery.
Natalie is an undergraduate reading English at Pembroke College and has been a trustee on the committee for just over a year. Her role is to help make sure that the JCR Art Fund runs smoothly, which means she does jobs ranging from taking minutes at committee meetings to helping invigilate the gallery at public opening times. However, her biggest contribution to the gallery, this far, redesigning this website and the Art Fund logo. She is committed to making sure Pembroke JCR Art Fund is presented as well and as widely as it can be, as well as ensuring that the Fund continues to uphold the ideals that Anthony Emery started the collection with and which make it such an asset to the college.
Chesney Ovsiowitz is a final year undergraduate studying English and French, and first came to the JCR Art Fund as the Vice-President of the JCR in 2014. After a year in Paris working in a boutique PR firm representing art galleries and interior designers, he hopes to bring these experiences back to the Art Fund as a Trustee.
JCR Art Rep
I’m Meris Ryan-Goff, a first-year student studying English and French, and the current Art Representative on the Pembroke JCR Committee. My role is to encourage participation in art-related events among the student body: running drawing classes - now including portraiture as well as life drawing - and art competitions. I will also oversee picture loaning from the JCR collection and help run other projects including the annual art week in Trinity term. This year I also hope to make art a bigger feature in the communal student areas, such as the student bar. I am very excited to be part of the Art Committee and look forward to supporting the great work that they do in managing the college’s very special, uniquely student-run gallery.