Heinke Jenkins explores displacement and political upheaval time and time again in her printmaking.
Her work often features people bearing the weight of conflict and private torment on their shoulders… and in her new solo show Migrants, she lays bear the dangers faced by the displaced as they flee oppression in the hope of a better life.
Heinke was born in Heilbronn, West Germany, just before the outbreak of World War II, moving to Britain in 1961.
She studied painting at the University of Stuttgart under Mannfred Henninger, but switched to graphic design and illustration. She went on to specialise in printing and lino-cuts, staying true to the traditions of her native Germany despite their being not much of a printmaking scene in the UK at the start of her career.
She maintained links with her hometown through the Heilbronn Artists’ Association, and also showed at the Royal Academy in London.
Her work is haunted by the aftermath of war, with frequent allusions to control, brutality, displacement and escape. The themes permeating her work are sadly as relevant today as they ever were.
The starkness of theme works well in her chosen medium. Her use of colour is often quite sparing, and early lino-cuts were monochrome.
There is a strong sense of collective oppression. Crowd scenes are frequently ominous and unsettling, individuals gaunt and preoccupied.
Heinke has exhibited in America, Germany, and England. She has won many prizes including: Printmaker of the Month at Leicester City Gallery; Tanner Charitable Trust Print Prize; Coley and Tilley Prize; RBSA Contemporary Prints; T.N. Lawrence Print Prize; RBSA Print Prize.
You can see her show ‘Migrants’ from 15 July to 7 September.
By Louise Palfreyman
Banner image: Heinke Jenkins ‘Arrival’