Darren Banks, The Raven

Contemporary British artist Darren Banks has created a new installation based around the extraordinary life of Churton Fairman (1924-1997). Better known by his alias Mike Raven, Fairman started out as a ballet dancer and photographer, before becoming a pirate radio dj, and one of the first presenters on BBC Radio One. He was also a horror movie actor, with a strong interest in the occult, as well as a devout Catholic who presented religious programmes on ITV. In the 1970s he moved with his family to Cornwall to become a sheep farmer and took up sculpture. Fairman’s woodcarvings, which were of a religious theme, were exhibited alongside the work of Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore, and were well received and collected during his lifetime.


Darren Banks recently discovered he had a family connection to Fairman, and was intrigued by his life story. His practice examines the relationship between film and sculpture and he has a developed a body of work inspired by Fairman’s legacy, drawing from the many varied elements of his life. Our Garman Ryan temporary exhibition space hosts an installation by Banks, which incorporates works from our collections by artists including Jacob Epstein, Isabel Rawsthorne and Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven, alongside found objects and film works by Banks. There is an additional installation on Floor 1, including documentary footage of Fairman. We have also been gifted one of Churton Fairman’s sculptures by his family, The Deposition from the Cross, which is on display in our Religion room as part of this exhibition.


In Conversation

Saturday 18 April, 2pm

Mandy Fairman-Dick, widow of Churton Fairman, discusses his extraordinary life and work.


Please book your free place in advance by calling 01922 65400.



Image credit:  Churton Fairman, Courtesy Mandy Fairman-Dick