You shouldn’t need a degree to understand art. Every person should be able to construe a piece of art without bias and knowledge.
However, sometimes information in the form of booklets, guides or apps can greatly improve an exhibition experience, by making the viewer understand the underlying meaning of the art.
Yesterday I attended the MA Photography degree show of the University of Westminster, after I found out about the event on Instagram.
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New work – 'Longbridge Some Dreamers Dream' for 100 years Longbridge was the site of the Longbridge Car Factory. Situated on the outskirts of Birmingham, UK, the factory was at one time the largest car plant in the world, employing thousands of people and producing iconic cars such as The Mini. The factory collapsed in 2005, with the loss of 6,500 jobs. Since then the area has been going through a massive regeneration scheme. The large factory buildings have been demolished, and car production has finished. The site is now home to a retail park, offices and homes. This project explores the dramatic shift in local identity documenting the new forms of work & production within Longbridge, and raises wider questions about how the way we live and work in the UK has changed. See the work exhibited at Ambika Gallery from the 23rd, Private View on September 1st – for details @outofdustexhibition
Being a short walk from Baker Street, the Ambika P3 venue was easy to find. The event was the degree show for the MA Photography Arts and MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism degrees, as the wonderful lady at the door explained – “Light into Matter” for the former and “Out of Dust” for the latter.
The first part, “Shattered Seconds” by Mike Cookson, showed decay – from cars to birds. The rusting cars, tyres and debris in the middle of nature showed the passage of time and the look of the area surrounding London’s edges. The use of geotags for naming each photograph was a unique detail.
As soon as I descended the stairs, I was instantly drawn to Krystian Data’s “Within Without” exhibition. The photographs depicted vulnerability, and it showed the faceless human body in an abstract and sculptural form.
The I Mind section by Hannah Leadbeater and the Mind in Harrow chose to do a participatory project, as individuals with experience of mental health issues photographed each other in an attempt of noticing and being noticed.
Tania Diez explored women from different faiths in God is a Woman. Religious figures are usually seen as men, however, recently, women have taken steps as leaders in the communities of faith.
My main reason I wanted to attend was because of the Longbridge part of the exhibition, as I knew the history of the area in the south of Birmingham. During my final year of university, I was an Event Planning intern, working on the Longbridge Public Art Project. As life revolved around the Austin car factory from its inception in 1905 to its closure in 2005, the community is still trying to recover from the loss of countless jobs in the factory and trying to find a new purpose and a new identity. Longbridge: Some Dreamers Dream by Stephen Burke beautifully explores and addresses the changes in the area and the loss of a unifying identity – but the gaining of a new, complex, varied one.
Moat by Ives Salmon explored immigration in this glimpse into the life of London residents and their fears, hopes and expectations of the Brexit outcome. As the status of many remains uncertain following the EU referendum, the exhibition looks into the shift in the atmosphere.
There are far more brilliant artists exhibiting at both the “Out of Dust” part of the exhibition and the “Light into Matter” one. I urge you to go as soon as possible – the exhibition ends on the 5th of September and it is open until 7pm.