Capturing the spirit and uniqueness of Hastings’ fishing community

A new exhibition celebrating the life and work of Laetitia Yhap, Hastings resident and acclaimed British 20th century painter, has opened virtually at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery.

By Phil Hewitt
Thursday, 28th January 2021, 6:00 am
Laetitia Yhap
Laetitia Yhap

After moving to Hastings in 1967 it took Laetitia seven years before the magic moment when she discovered the subject that would be central to her work for the next two decades, Hastings’ fishing community on the Stade. My Vital Life – Laetitia Yhap at 80 reflects this unique relationship and sees the return of the artist’s iconic fishing series.

A spokesman said: “This virtual exhibition contains essays by Laetitia and photos of the exhibition, providing insight into her approach. Alongside this are the films The Catch and A Girl Ashore – Laetitia Yhap at 80 by Mark French where Laetitia recalls her first contact with the fishing community and her approach to creating her art, including the challenges of capturing the ‘heroism in the everyday.’ She then goes on to explore the contemporary fishing beach, attaching stories to the boats and equipment, frequently returning to the influence they had on her paintings. These are displayed alongside a number of 18th- and 19th-century prints and watercolours from the museum’s collection, all with inspiration from life at the Stade.”

Cllr Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for regeneration, culture and tourism, said: “This is an excellent exhibition that really captures the spirit and uniqueness of Hastings’ fishing community. If you would like to explore this collection, you can do so online by visiting the Hastings Museum & Art Gallery’s website http://www.hmag.org.uk/collections/myvitallife/ and also their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. We hope we will be able to welcome you to view these physically when it is safe to do so, before the exhibition ends on May 9 2021.”