Jane Colling's original screenprints series A to Z - An Alphabet is up at W&T until 27 May 2012. Last night, a public event was held to launch the event with poet Sarah Reilly and musician/artist Peter Blegvad performing a recitation of Alphabet. It's no secret that Blegvad's Leviathan has always amused, bemused and boggled me, so it was a special treat to get a signed copy!
What a special treat last night! Jude Cowan launched her exhibition For The Messengers at W&T and to show his support, Channel 4 newsman Jon Snow was on hand to say a few words. Jude read from her book of poetry of the same name, and shared about her work - poetry and art - in response to the news. (She is a news archivist for ITN/Reuters.) Jude also shared raw footage of journalist Fadel Shana's last moments, when the cameraman was killed in Gaza, so that the audience could get a visual sense of the kind of materials she processes daily in her job. It was shocking and thought-provoking, to think of the 'sanitised' versions of the newsfeed we see on TV. Jude's book was dedicated to 'messengers' like Fadel and many like him; the people and lives behind the images we see which are often invisible to us. During the Q&A, Jon and Jude provided rare insight and commentary into the decisions made behind the scenes of every news broadcast. Questions raised included the role of 'mediators' played by professional news workers, the increase in mobile phone images of events taking place in real time captured by everyday people (e.g. Gaddafi's final moments), and how the latter has impacted what we have access to. Jon spoke of the pros and cons of the proliferation of such images and their importance - in the Sri Lanka tragedy for example, these images were proof of war crimes committed, something that has not been available in previous tragedies, from Bosnia, Croatia to Rwanda. But is such images were readily seen on TV, would this desensitize viewers? Would younger viewers connect the dots that this was real? Or would these images seem to be an extension of other violent images, like those in video games? Thank you Jude and Jon for an insightful evening.
What a lovely event with US artist Dwora Fried, poet Charlotte Innes and American actresses-based-in-London Stephanie Ellyne and Erin Hunter (video coming soon!) Dwora provided glimpses into the process of creating her artwork; e.g. Glee (see below) which was a commentary on her wedding to Jehan three times "until it stuck." Thought-provoking, her assemblage art pieces are imbued with personal stories and social commentaries that will make you take a second, if not third look. The "Boxed In" exhibition will be on display till 31 August 2011, and all artwork on display are for sale at £350 each. For more details on Dwora and her work, visit www.dworafried.com
"Fried has captured miniature operas and intimate moments in her boxed assemblages. At first they seem wondrous and playful, but take a closer look." - Advocate Magazine, US, March 2011
Diva Magazine, August 2011 issue
It was a truly amazing evening with Israel director-author Shira Geffen, Palestinian author Rabai al-Madhoun, artist Martyn Stanton Harris, Jewish comedian Ivor Dembina and writer-editor Shaun Levin, who acted as moderator for a panel discussion. The event began with a slide show of powerful images by photographer David Lurie. Martyn then took the stage to share the impetus for his artwork (images of the exhibition below).
Director-author Shira Geffen next shared the motivations behind her most recent work, which led her on a secret trip to Gaza where she met the mother of a jihadist martyr. She related how moved she was when this mother embraced her warmly, in that one moment - stripped of ideologies and ethnicities - she was "just a daughter" and the woman who welcomed her into her home, "just a mother." The audience were treated to a short film by Shira called What About Me? on the absurdity of checkpoints.
Author Rabai al-Madhoun next read some excerpts from his most recent work The Lady of Tel Aviv (the English translation will be published next year). He spoke of being in exile for 38 years, and of being displaced from his homeland.
Comedian Ivor Dembina had the room in stitches when he performed extracts from his solo show 'This Is Not A Subject For Comedy.' Poking fun at his Jewish upbringing (especially those from Hendon!), Ivor's biting and sometimes irreverent humour touched on everything from Israeli politics to what Israel has come to symbolise to the Jewish diaspora.
Writer-editor Shaun Levin wrapped up the event with a panel discussion on what it means as an artist and writer to address conflict issues. This was followed by a lively and incisive Q&A session and book-signing with Shira, whose screenplay Jellyfish, has just been released.
It was a full house last night with almost 60 people at Woolfson & Tay for Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 commemorations. This year's theme is 'Untold Stories.'A small part of the Surviving History exhibition is on display at the W&T Gallery (the bulk of it is at Biddenham International School & Sports College at Bedford), together with US artist and genealogist Susan Weinberg's beautiful canvases.
We were graced by the participation of Gena Turgel MBE, who shared with us her survivor testimony and reminded us that such horrors took place not so long ago. Southwark Councillor Mark Gettleson opened the night's proceedings. Spoken word poet Leah Thorn performed her powerful piece entitled 'I Place My Stones.' Author Mark S Smith spoke about his journey in uncovering the story of Treblinka survivor Hershl Sperling. Susan Weinberg shared poignant tales of her time in Vilnius and the stories within her paintings and their inspiration. The night rounded off with a screening of the award-winning short film Surviving History. (If you missed it, you can view it on the History Channel )
Quite a few people shared with us their feedback after the evening's program. 'Powerful', 'poignant', 'wonderful' were some of the adjectives used to describe the session. To those who joined us, thank you for coming. Thank you for remembering with us and for honouring those who lived and those who were lost.
The exhibition continues until Feb 20. Next week, we will also add a video installation so that you can hear the survivor's words and perhaps watch the film too. For more info, visit here
Angel Boyle performing
The exhibition 'Travellers' by Danish photographer Kirstine Fryd launched with a pubic event - 'We Are Who We Are: Glimpses of Traveller Life.' The event was conceived with assistance from the Southwark Travellers Action Group (STAG) and Southwark Traveller Education Support Service (Ethnic Minority Achievement Team, Leadership, Innovation & Learning Support Division).
Dr Brian Belton spoke about the myths and misconceptions with regards to the label of Travellers. Simon Evans of Open Productions, using footage he had filmed as well as footage from UnmanageableTV, put together a short film featuring evictions throughout the UK. Simon spoke passionately about the need for sites rather than spending exorbitant amounts to "chase Travellers round the country." A short interview with Christina McDonagh, the 'Duchess of Peckham', by Woolfcub Productions, was also screened. Angel Boyle, 12, sang a few Country hits popular with young Travellers acapella style.
It was a thought-provoking event, raising questions and discussion about Traveller life and (mis)perceptions of Travellers in society. Woolfson & Tay would like to thank Kirstine Fryd, Dr Brian Belton, Simon Evans, Angel Boyle, Christina McDonagh, David Cannon, Tricia Bowie Phillips, Daniel Quinones and all who helped bring this event and exhibition to our gallery.
The number of people who came was unexpected. Quite a few guests arrived without prebooking as the evening wore on, and we found ourselves a little unprepared for the almost 50 guests who eventually turned up. As you will see from the photos, there soon was standing room only! We thank all who came to share in the insights offered that night and for your patience when we ran out of seats.
Woolfson & Tay are honoured to be hosting Simon Croft's 'Time Out On Holiday Street', a photography exhibition about AIDS in Ukraine. Oksana Shved from EveryChild Ukraine came especially to London to share aboutthe stigma and secrecy attached to the illness; not just with HIV+ patients but also family, friends and those who work with HIV and AIDS patients. As Simon put it, 'This exhibition is about angels - those who work and support AIDS and HIV patients.' Despite widespread stigma and discrimination, those featured in this exhibition have allowed for their identity to be known. We salute these everyday heroes and heroines. The exhibition is free to view and will be on show till 7 Nov 2010.