Caught by the River

Justin Partyka – The East Anglians

13th October 2009

A major new exhibition of photographs by Justin Partyka, which explore an agrarian way of life, opens at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, on Tuesday 29 September and runs until Sunday 13 December. The East Anglians exhibition features a body of work by Justin Partyka which has resulted from a personal project by the artist, exploring rural life in his home region. The exhibition reveals one of the last vestiges of East Anglia’s deep-rooted agrarian community and provides opportunity to reflect on this in a global context.


We are honoured to host a selection of these images in our gallery (HERE) where you can also read the interview, below, in full.

JONATHAN WATTS: I’m sitting in a churchyard in the parish of High Oak with the Norfolk born photographer Justin Partyka, whose first major exhibition opens on the 29th September at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art in Norwich, and runs through October and November, finishing on the 13th December 2009. The exhibition is entitled The East Anglians. Justin…


JW: Could you give a bit of background on The East Anglians: when the project began, what the impetus for the project was, how it has led up to this major exhibition?

JP: Well, the project began in 2001 and I’ve been working on it for almost nine years now. And at this point I still feel it is perhaps not quite finished. Until a major book of the work is published I’ll always feel the work is ongoing. It tells the story of what is left of the agrarian culture of East Anglia so, these are the small time farmers, reed cutters and rabbit catchers and the landscape that these people live and work on.

JW: These people that work on the land you’ve mentioned – obviously there are large scale farms across East Anglia – were these people hard to find?

JP: Well, if you poke around enough, you’ll find them. I think it is very easy to drive across Norfolk and Suffolk and miss these people and their world because they’re small in scale. The farms are small. You drive across the region today and it is mainly these big fields and these big tractors and you go past what is left of these family farms and you don’t really think about them. So they are there and I think perhaps this project has only scraped the surface of what is there. Still today I drive around and see places that probably have potential that I haven’t explored. So as this project gets major publicity now perhaps other people might even approach me and reveal their own farms to me.


Justin’s website HERE.