Pia's World


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Julia Peyton-Jones
Publication date:
20 x 15 cm
Illustration info:
Illustrated throughout
'These are beautiful drawings and the book is a beautiful gift from a mother to a daughter.' – Tracey Emin

‘This visual diary is an illustration of Peyton-Jones’ treasuring of her daughter. Immersing myself in these touching drawings takes me back to my own days of motherhood. They’re so full of warmth, wonder and love, I’m left wanting more.’ – Philippa Perry

‘With this artist’s book, the legendary museum director Julia Peyton-Jones returns to her origins as an artist. These wonderful drawings are the first public manifestations of her return to the studio and an art career that started in the late 1970s with paintings, film and performances. Charting her everyday life with her daughter in words and images, this inspiring book is first and foremost a story about happiness.’ – Hans Ulrich Obrist

In this new book, Julia Peyton-Jones tells the story of her life with her three-year-old daughter Pia over the course of the year when Covid-19 spread throughout the world. Made every evening once her daughter had gone to bed, this beautiful series of drawings comprises a visual diary of their lives in the lead-up to and during the pandemic.

Peyton-Jones arranges her sketches, executed in ink, charcoal, pencil and watercolour, into grid formations that act like windows onto the special moments of each day, accompanied by captions. As the book develops, the drawings burst into colour and are complemented by reflections on motherhood, as well as signposts that reflect the state of the world as it was changing.

At the heart of the book is the tender relationship between a mother and her daughter, which is simultaneously deeply personal and universal. During the pandemic, mother and child are contained in a bubble, watching the park and the spaces they once occupied from their window. Everyday events become treasured highlights of the days, which roll by with all sense of time collapsed. When lockdown lifts, we share their joyful return to normality.

About the Author
After winning scholarships at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, Julia Peyton-Jones exhibited her work at the ICA and Riverside Studios, London, as well as at the Scottish Royal Academy, Edinburgh. In 1988, she became a curator at the Hayward Gallery, and in 1991 was appointed Director of the Serpentine Gallery. Over the next 25 years she transformed the galleries into an internationally acclaimed visual arts institution, presenting ground-breaking exhibitions, education and public projects and conceived the innovative architecture commission, the Serpentine Pavilion. She increased the number of visitors six-fold to over a million people a year.

Serving on Boards, including The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant Commercial Advisory Board, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, Melbourne, and Fundación de Arquitectura Fragil, Chile, Peyton-Jones has received awards and recognition throughout her career, including a DBE in 2016. She participates in numerous international committees, panels and juries. Since 2017, she has been Senior Global Director: Special Projects at Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg, Paris, London and Seoul.