AWITA

SPOTLIGHT - LARA WARDLE

LARA WARDLE

Director, Jerwood Collection

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Where did your interest in the arts come from?

I can’t remember not being interested in the arts but I do remember a specific moment that sparked my passion for 20th century British art: it was on a school trip to Tate Britain and I was stopped in my tracks by Mark Gertler’s extraordinary work Merry-Go-Round painted in 1916. It draws you in with bright colours and simplified forms and then delivers a sucker punch of darkness. That was the moment I knew I needed to find out more about art and what makes it so powerful.

What is a good reason to say no?

Saying no can be harder than saying yes, particularly in today’s 24/7 world of social media but it is important to be able to say it. I believe that what you do, you should do well and that does mean having to say no at times. 

Tell us about a woman, well-known or not, whom you admire and why.

I have limitless admiration for Michelle Obama: a beacon of hope and positivity in the current sea of global chaos. I haven’t read Becoming yet, but it’s on my Christmas list.

What advice would you give to women starting in the art world?

Be bold, be yourself and recognise female colleagues as your allies not your competition. Always speak up for what you believe to be right.

What leads you to look at art, visiting a specific museum or do you go out to see certain artists?

I do both and I’m driven by a continuing thirst to learn, understand and be inspired.

Photo credit: Phil Adams