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St Helena wildlife by Bemmie

Catching up with Robin from Bemmie

This week we speak to UK-based Saint, Robin Richards from Bemmie about their latest St Helena poster design, Jonathan and the RMS St Helena.

What have you been working on since we last spoke?

Inspired by the series of St Helena posters, we decided to extend the visual style and sentiment of those posters and celebrate where we live now – Bristol, UK.  We have therefore created two more posters.  The first celebrates the local park near where we live (Victoria Park), while the other celebrates the wider city of Bristol (Bristol poster).  We are so humbled because the Bristol poster was chosen to be used as the cover for the official Bristol 2017 visitor guide.  It is an honour to represent our adopted home in this small way.

You’ve created a St Helena wildlife poster, what inspired you to do so?

Not seeing these things on a regular basis.  Being born on St Helena, growing up and living there, its natural environment was just the environment.  What is unique about it, wasn’t special.  It wasn’t something to marvel at – it was just how the world around you was.  However, moving away, you then realise how very special the natural environment of St Helena is.  You miss it.  The poster aims to celebrate this emotion.  Each illustrated species has a bit of a personal story linked to it as well.  While also hopefully telling a visual story of the wider St Helenian wildlife. How endemic and migratory/introduced species combine to create a wonderfully rich environment.

Can see and learn more about the poster here.

St Helena wildlife poster by Bemmie

What’s your favourite island species?

I just love telling stories about Jonathan.  I’m not sure that counts as an island species, but he is a living legend.  Also there is an understated wonderment in just watching a fairy tern hovering against a bright blue sky.  Likewise the ambiguous tungi is often thought of as a menace (and it can be) however because it dominates so much of the landscape, it can also intrigue with its colour, texture, and many, many shapes.

Have you got any other St Helena posters in the pipeline?

At this moment there are not any immediate plans.  However, we’re always coming up with ideas inspired by St Helena (as well as Ascension and Tristan), so there might be something in the future.  Stay tuned and watch this space 🙂

Did you go and see the RMS St Helena when she was in London last summer?

I did.  It was a surreal moment to see the ole gal docked along the Thames amongst the vast lights of London.  We only got to see her from afar at night (we even randomly bumped into some fellow Saints), but it was lovely to reminisce with them and the wife about the journeys travelled – bringing back some happy memories.

It’s our hope that our RMS poster does likewise, allowing someone to go back to times spent travelling on the RMS and remember it with love.

Bemmie at Reading Sports Day

What do you make of the UK press coverage of St Helena Airport?

While most of what I have read is a bit on the negative side, I’m of the opinion any press is good press.  It has raised the profile of the island (I’ve personally had people mention it to me, where they wouldn’t have bothered before) therefore my thinking is that when the Airport is up and running, more people will know about the island.  Whether that is a good or bad thing is another subject, but whilst it would be preferable if the press coverage was more positive at this present time, anything which helps increase St Helena’s profile overall is useful.

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