Bright Move: Anita Bigsby, artist and creator of Ludlow Fringe

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Written byClaire Hunte

Arts contributor, SJB, recently met up with Anita to discuss her involvement in the Fringe and her own work as an artist. We’re giving you a glimpse of SJB’s feature, for the full version, click here

Ludlow Fringe is one of the mainstays of the Ludlow arts scene and so is its creator, Anita Bigsby – a well-known and well loved figure throughout the community. Anita is a co-ordinator of the long-running festival and her zest for life and the arts comes through in the eclectic line up of the two week event.

Anita moved to Shropshire in 1989 to teach at Ludlow College, where she eventually became its head of art. While there she developed the sculpture and ceramics courses helping to widen artistic opportunities for her students. As a teacher, Anita says she thrived on giving her students all the cultural and creative experiences that she had growing up in London. In nurturing their talents she says she felt great pride in their successes. 

It was a similar drive and wish to engage and educate people about art that became her inspiration for establishing the Fringe Festival. Initially set up with just £10 and as a community interest company.


fragile pieces

made from clay, wire and wax

Honest performance

She decided that the ethos behind The Fringe would be an extension of opening up her house to invited guests. A warm celebration where everyone is enjoying themselves, where performers have a chance to engage honestly with its audience. Anita is a force of nature when it comes to the Fringe with boundless energy but she is also an artist in her own right.

Born to Irish parents and raised in London, Anita credits her diversely cultured childhood as the catalyst forging her artistic career. Her recent art work reflects her Irish Catholic upbringing.

Although she is an atheist, she still cherishes the rituals found in Catholicism and other religions. She creates beautiful fragile pieces made from clay, wire and wax then manipulated as far as the material allows representing the talismans that people have always revered.

Anita explores how various religions believe in protectors and deities and is interested in how the narratives contained within them have served as guidance and support in an ever-changing world In her body of work. Anita summarises her work as “reflecting a theory that through classical and religious depictions of gods and man, myths and beliefs forge their way into all contemporary and modern seminal works to evoke a kind of immortality of human spirit and a homage to human endeavour.” 

Anita’s abstract forms…convey a strength

Anita’s abstract forms…convey a strength

Human bonds in art form

The abstract forms are at once erotic and pitiful yet still convey a strength. These sensual pieces are an exploration of human fragility, vulnerability but also resilience, conversely the distressed pieces can also be seen as a metaphor for the decay of religious celebration in the west.

Anita’s exploration of human bonds within her pieces are reflected in her role within the community. The Fringe Festival is already attracting international artists and Anita’s ambition is to fuse with other global Fringe Festivals — an opportunity to share ideas, stories and cultures.

Her love for the arts is unquestionable. Wholeheartedly championing local artists, she states “we have a creative industry here, it affects every house, everyone is a singer, or painter, dancer, writer, an artist of some sort. Let’s exploit it!”

Anita is working towards an exhibition planned for next year. The Ludlow Fringe Festival runs from the 15-30 June

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