The Entangled Forest

Join us for the South West Academy’s annual Drecki Lecture at RAMM for an innovative exploration combining academic research with graphic novels.

Acclaimed artist John Hurford joins socio-cultural anthropologist Dr Ivan Tacey as they discuss their experiences with the Batek, an indigenous community in Malaysia. Taken seriously, graphic novels can communicate the Batek’s current predicaments, world view and relations with spirits and outsiders with a wider public. 

John Hurford Hon SWAc, SGFA is a North Devon Farmer who became a full time painter in 2001. His work has been reproduced in many magazines and books since the 1960s and his early psychedelic work is in the collection of the V&A museum. He has been shown in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Whitney in New York and The Tate Gallery in Liverpool. His work mainly concerns the flora and fauna on his farm, but in June and July 2019 he went to Peninsular Malaysia with Dr Ivan Tacey to photograph and paint the Batek. He is producing photographs, painting, books and a graphic novel written by Dr Tacey resulting from this experience. 

Dr Ivan Tacey is a socio-cultural anthropologist specialized in Southeast Asia. His research examines relationships between humans and the environments they live in. For the last 15 years, he has worked with the Batek, a small group of gender egalitarian hunter-gatherers who live in the some of the last remaining tropical forests of Malaysia. His research interests include shamanism, animism and how indigenous peoples relations with spirits refract historical, political and environmental transformations. 

The Drecki Lecture Series is named honour of of Zbigniew Drecki, who nurtured the South West Academy in its early years. The lectures have ranged from personal accounts given by distinguished artists to fascinating journeys in art and philosophy, and even a dramatic presentation.

Doors and drinks 6pm

Lecture 6.30pm

Event Information

Dates and Times

  • 7 May 2024 6pm – 7.30pm


Doors and drinks 6pm, Lecture 6.30pm




Gallery 20

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