"My job is to notice things that other people don't notice."
At the end of the course, after they had spent some time looking at
what contemporary artists did, my friend asked them, 'What do you now
think a contemporary artist does?' And the same child said 'They notice things.'
And I thought, wow, that's really a short, succinct version
of what an artist does. My job is to notice things that
other people don't notice.

Sir Grayson Perry in 2014
in Playing to the Gallery, Penguin Books 2014
ISBN 978-0-141-97961-8


My job is to "Die of service, not of rust"

That was the one bit of my school song that's stuck for 70+ years, and one that I've try to apply.


So from a big fan of Grayson (and his writing), this is a glimpse of some the offbeat work I've produced in the last decade for schools and churches to put to use. It's sort of art with its sleeves rolled up - perhaps the unwitting outcome of noticing things with a different eye. Grayson's Elizabeth II and mine show that.


These galleries have called for spare time, space and paints, an eye for opportunity, some carpentry, side-ways thinking, and a sense of humour.  The result is what I like to think is artworks that are easy on the eye, brain and soul - and useful. And for me to be happy to have produced.


This page has links to key information; but if you'd like to know more, do get in touch.


With best wishes

Hugh Gibbons

Conductor of Just1 (and artist-in-residence, obvs)




  New for 2024    
    A likeable idea for schools and parishes
to consider growing - perhaps by Pentecost



A WhoArtful Gallery is a simple idea - a school’s collection of The Lord’s Prayer in different languages
found among their pupils, families, friends, and parishioners. Schools will have good ideas on how to put theirs to use –
eg displayed on paper or screen; illustrated; read out in assembly or class. Pentecost in May would be a good aiming point.


It’s a celebration of their diversity today – and synodality. “In a Church that is living synodally, different cultures, languages, rites, ways of thinking, and realities can engage together and fruitfully in a sincere search for the Spirit's guidance”, said the Synodal Church in Mission Synthesis Report from Rome in October 2023.


The Gallery will be an echo of the Church of the Paternoster on the Mount of Olives with its hundreds of language versions on ceramic plaques. Yours will be on paper, maybe laminated for display – and personal to your school.


The idea springs from the Paternoster Gallery made in 2018 - a collection of 20+ language versions mounted on wooden blocks for display in churches and schools.



  Available to visit schools & churches    
    The Adelante Gallery of Unofficial Saints  

is a unique piece of public art - good simply to look at or study its four sides turned round. It's an artful gallery of Unofficial Saints. Adelante - Forward - was made to celebrate the canonisation of St Oscar Romero in 2018, updated in 2020 to reflect the many 'saints next door' seen in the pandemic.


 It's been seen by several thousand pupils and parishioners, having long stays with over a dozen secondary and primary schools as well as churches - including a cathedral.

Adelante is designed to travel happily in the back of the car, take up little floor space, and be wheeled around. Handy for a school workshop is the A-Z of Unofficial Saints. Adelante is happy to be handled - the detachable panels encourage that - and includes dozens of quotes and stories, some spare socks for Romero donated by Churches Together in England, a sickle, and a 20mm cannon shell.


Full details are in the PDF Guide at www.just1.org.uk/adelantegallery

  Lost to public view    
    In the beginning was Big Oscar in
St Francis of Assisi Ascot

The origin of the Galleries lies in scaled-up variations on the well-known Romero Crosses. First was one to go in our porch at home at Bracknell (left). Another is nearby with a family friend.

The big one was made in 2013 to be on very public view outside St Francis of Assisi church in South Ascot. It was code-named Big Oscar, as it was to be a form of tribute to the spirit of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador - the world-loved "voice of the voiceless." The cross was a present to the parish in thanks for 50 years of supporting CAFOD - the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development - by me as a schools and media volunteer.

The cross was a bit like a stained-glass window lit from the inside, and meant to be enjoyed by passing motorists, cyclist, pedestrians, as well as parishioners - and pupils and parents at the primary school.

The Cross was made in three parts with wood from Wickes - the main piece and the two panels that make up the crosspiece. This involved some serious carpentry with doweling to get the surface flat - and 2400mm high. There meant quite a lot of over-engineering round the back, as well as a wooden frame and many coats of varnish.

This Cross introduced some fun, being enjoyed here by parishioner Sarah (who had visited El Salvador with her parish in Ohio USA) and daughter Anja. St Francis is holding up a dove and a globe. Oscar Romero is peeking round, in his trademark glasses and eyebrows.  And a small crowd of parishioners give a wave. Why is the bird upside down?  You tell me.

The Cross is no longer on public view.  In 2014 the parish priest gave it to St Francis of Assisi Primary School next door, where it's possibly tucked away in the grounds. So any potential viewers should contact Reception there.

However, using this as the springboard, the next move was to accept the invitation to create something inside and in the horizontal... the Gallery in the hall at  St Margaret Clitherow Primary School in Bracknell.

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  Still on view after 10+ years    
    The Spirit of Romero Gallery at
St Margaret Clitherow Primary in Bracknell

This gallery was painted in Spring 2013 as a present to a splendid primary school. There were strong Gibbons connections. Both Maggie and Matt were there, Anne was long a Foundation Governor, and I got great support for CAFOD and social justice campaigning in their assemblies.

The head of RE asked whether it would be possible to replace the simple wire crucifix above the big screen in the busy hall of the school. The answer was to make a gallery 2400mm wide - on a single piece of wood from Wickes.

The 7 big figures were specified by the pupils, Year by Year, including Reception. They chose Malala Yousafzai, Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Isaac Newton, The Virgin Mary, David Beckham, The Good Samaritan, and Florence Nightingale. The staff chose governor Anne Gibbons.

While the main figures were being gradually painted, about 20 smaller ones were found to fill the spaces. Oscar Romero carries a CAFOD postcard with the message Aspire Not To Have More But To Be More. In the centre is a wooden Romero Memorial Cross painted by Lazaro Rodriguez in La Palma, El Salvador. And the artist Hugh is in there, wearing a Phrygian cap, obvs!

This gallery has been on view to around 3000 pupils, staff, family members, parishioners and visitors.

There was a neat follow-up - after writing a few letters during the 2013 school summer holiday. Acclamation for the Gallery came from people and places associated with the figures - including Buckingham Palace, the Vatican, the United Nations, the Royal Society, CAFOD, the Embassy of El Salvador, and the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing.

The Gallery has attachment points for bunting or banners - as seen in the photo on the left at a retirement party the day after it was put up. Teaching assistant Maureen was painted in as a late present!

for a full guide to the story of this gallery.
This website includes a useful slideshow of the story in
PDF and PowerPoint formats

  Missing after years on view    
    The 2014 Romero Gallery of Good Examples
for St Joseph's Church in Bracknell

This was painted as the request by the parish priest for a gallery on the lines of the one in St Margaret Clitherow Primary School. This gallery was again 2400mm wide x 300mm deep, but with guides to the figures on either side, and detachable cork noticeboards underneath for CAFOD and other social justice news.

Eight of the big figures were specified by the 26 candidates for Confirmation in 2014 - all of whom also appear as small figures dressed in white along the bottom on the Gallery.


They chose as "Good Examples" Nelson Mandela, rugby player Brian O'Driscoll, Martin Luther King, Demi Lavato, Fr Adrian Walker, Fr Danny McEvoy, Rosa Parks, St Josephine Bahkita, Mary Berry and Gordon Ramsay. St Joseph, St Margaret Clitherow and Archbishop Oscar Romero also appear as big figures, together with with some smaller figures.


This Gallery featured several of the figures carrying placards as on a rally. It included a rosary made in El Salvador, a small cross from Bethlehem, and a key-ring given by St Josef's Church in Schweinfurt. All these eventually disappeared.


The gallery got a nice write-up by David Jones in The Catholic Universe Last Word series on 26th September 2014.  Click here for the article.


As requested by Hugh Gibbons for his work, the parish gave a donation of £150 to CAFOD. The Gallery was removed in 2022 when the hall was renovated. Its location - and that of an old carpenter's spokeshave - is currently unknown.

for a full guide to this gallery.

  Had one year on public view    
    The Bracknell Community Gallery of
Greeters & Inspirers - plus World School Wall
and Rebus Station

Romero and Pope

Joy Aloft


Henri Dunane


IN MARCH 2015 this was a unique outdoor community gallery on the railings right across the front of St Joseph's Church, overlooking the now Braccan Walk. 

The Gallery was created in a unique way. A general invitation was made for anyone to depict someone who they felt was inspiring for whatever reason. The figure was to be shown greeting passers-by, and there was a set size to allow for hanging on the railings - with acrylic paint as the hopefully weatherproof medium. So "Citizen" artists painted the figures, though many had never before picked up a paintbrush.  So good sports of all sorts generated a remarkable array that was on display 24/7, weatherproofed against the rain and wind.

Primary and Secondary Schools also played a collective part, including Ranelagh, Easthampstead Park, Winkfield Montessori, Woodlands, Sandhurst School, St Margaret Clitherow, South Ascot, St Joseph's, and Sidcot Quaker School in Somerset.

The Gallery received praise from passers-by - possibly for adding a touch of colour and character to this part of Bracknell town centre. And perhaps some enjoyed the backwards clock...

In September 2016, the parish priest announced plans for major changes to the front of the church. To clear the space, the paintings were returned to the artists. The changes didn't take place.

In addition to the three dozen pictures on the first wave, the area below the Gallery became a World School Wall - to mark the 18th birthday of the remarkable student Malala Yousafzai. It was also also dedicated to all the world's brave and inspiring voices for social justice. About 1000 pupils and parents contributed to the pictures.

The figures on the railings Gallery were:

Oscar Romero & Pope Francis (left)
Sally Gunnell
Giles Duley, US Army Medevac Team, Lucy Anning (left)
Maria Montessori & Nelson Mandela
Tim Burton
Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai
Nelson Mandela
Ron McAllister
Ann Maguire
Medecins Sans Frontieres
Daniel Barenboim
A Fox
Swiss Army Inspirer
Bracknell Life House Team
Bracknell Food Bank
Fr Danny McEvoy
Field Marshal "Monty"
God's Family
Richard Tauber
Fairtrade & Friends
Jesus Christ
Henri Dunant (left)
Vincent Van Gogh
Craig Strugnell
Harry Potter
Emma Watson
Mother Teresa
Dan Mohler
Franz Liszt
Joy Lofthouse & Margot 'Chile' Duhalde (left)
David Hogan

for a very full description of all the artworks.




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