6 September 2002

Farm art gallery now main attraction with the Yellow Hat Tribe

BROOKFIELD Ostrich Farm, Churchweston, Oxon, or more precisely the Vince Tyack Gallery, is the home of the Yellow Hat Tribe exhibition, and a visit is an uplifting experience.

To be surrounded by so many brilliant paintings all featuring faceless, yellow-hatted people in various situations in the desert is a sight to be remembered and cherished.

The artist, Irene George, has spent most of her life working hard bringing up six children and fitting in jobs around them to make ends meet. For 30 years she lifted potatoes and went fruit picking. But that has all changed now for this lively lady from Hereford, who has made Oxfordshire her home.

An accomplished artist since childhood, she had the brainwave in the early nineties to draw and paint these people queueing in the desert. The name – the Yellow Hat Tribe – came to her one evening when her partner, Vince, was describing a farm in Zimbabwe he had come across when he was there buying ostriches.

There are still ostriches on Brookfield Farm, but these days they are just kept for their "pulling power", as people like to see them wandering around when they visit the gallery. Several other African creatures appear in Irenes art; crocodiles, giraffes and zebras feature in Crock racing, Polo neck and Desert Crossing. She paints about 70 pictures a year and has taken commissions from as far afield as America and Australia.

All of the pictures have a somewhat whacky theme but they are very popular as originals and prints or as cards for birthdays and anniversaries.

Diversification is expected of farmers these days, but the hassle to get planning permission for the gallery would have put off less determined folk. But eventually it was granted and it has paid off.

Jean Howells

Contact: Tel: 01993-832042 or www.theyellowhat-tribe.com

Irenes pictures feature the colourful Yellow Hat Tribe.