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Robin Charles Reynolds

"Between Heaven and Hell"


Dimensions: 230 x 130 cm framed

Medium: Pen, ink and watercolour

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In his colourful pen-and-ink cityscape, ‘New Orleans: Between Heaven and Hell’, Robin depicts more than 150 episodes and themes that have shaped New Orleans since the day explorer De Bienville first marked the spot on the banks of the Mississippi in 1718. The story behind each element in the image is told by former BBC journalist Cathy Loughran, and the interactive guide that ties it all together is the work of the artist’s brother, London-based Simon Reynolds. They were guided by New Orleans visual historian Sarah Borealis, and Bobby Ticknor of the Historic New Orleans Collection. It was Robin’s biggest undertaking to date, taking more than two years to complete. Robin called it ‘Between Heaven and Hell’ after the bitter struggles of the city emerged from the research. ‘I was struck by how my picture was littered with fire,’ says Robin. ‘There was fire at the beginning, when the city almost burned down twice in the late 18th century, and fire at the end, with the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010. And many more infernos in between.’ But the wonder of New Orleans is the contrast. The flip-side of fire, slavery and yellow fever is the joyful parading, wonderful music, and creative eccentricity. The work is currently on show at the Historic New Orleans Collection’s new $38m exhibition center in the French Quarter.

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