WOW WOW & WOW
Should you find yourself in Blackpool make sure you go and find HIVE… actually even if you’re not in Blackpool get on the train and get to Hive, as it’s here you’ll find amazing coffee, incredible food and the fantastic photography exhibition;-
Representation on the Line III: (Un)framing Our Identities
Moving from Chelsea to Blackpool, hidden upstairs at HIVE awaits the exhibition put together by the Royal Photographic Society: Hundred Heroines and Arrested Development. After a coffee and a bagel, my friend Kat and I ventured our way to the exhibition via a door and up some stairs…
Immediately on your way upstairs be sure to watch your step! As my gaze was drawn down to the images placed on the steps, finding myself slowing down looking at the photography of Dawn Mander:Other people
My step paused; already I’m gripped! forced to look down at the images laid on the stairs, the people in these photographs make up part of the homeless community of Blackpool, I the viewer am made to look down at the people in these images, (as society often does)! Dawn has stopped and engaged with these people one on one, and now she’s forcing me to engage with these images in a way I’m not familiar with! each image offers a moment of hope/joy, one step at a time on my way up I’m asking myself, who are these people? how did they end up in this situation? what is left of the person they once where? and who are they now, what forms their identity?
Now above Hive I’m overwhelmed by the shear amount of prints on the walls, looking at how each set is hung or laid out before engaging with each body of work, the space is amazing, the way the light comes through the window the Lillys on the window sill, what a great space! I start moving towards the work of Kadiya Qasem’s – The allure of otherness, I’m lost in the dream like state she must get in when creating this work, the gentleness and softness of her work takes the edge off I feel relaxed, I could look at this work all day, but there more to be seen…
Present in the Room is; Dawn Mander, Kate Yates, Ellie Ramsden and Denise Felkin; all of whom have work on display within the exhibition, I would like to thank all of you for your hospitality and your engagement, often at galleries I can feel quite anxious, but with a little bit of engagement and discussion of the surrounding work I quickly become relaxed, relaxed enough to agree to an interview on camera, its not often I find myself on the other side of the camera, but I felt compelled to share a few words with Ellie, who’s work ‘too many men’ peers into the UK grime scene, that of which previously photographer Ewen Spencer had pointed his camera into many years prior, Ellies work has a distinct female gaze, looking at the female artists repping the grime scene, who are often overlooked! The image ‘Roxxxan: MC‘ is a confronting image, the subject looks back into the camera self assured in her pink studded tasseled jacket and matching pink hair lent against the concrete urban backdrop, confident! the work speaks volumes! I for one will be going to find some of the work of Roxxxan and the other grime artists Ellie has photographed!
Denise Felkin’s work ‘Mum’s not the word’ is a body of work that raises many questions and in itself collectively creates a patchwork blanket of images, each time Denise works with her subjects , they’re asked to remove there clothes and share their story, to which all women in Denise’s photos have in common they don’t have children! why? each story is different!
I see each image a as a beautiful work of art, the subject led down, naked on there own bedsheet, gaze set away from the camera, almost as if there looking into the future, for me it raises the awareness of the Anthropocene, we are all living in a world with an ever-growing collective population 7 billion of us and raising every second, we are witnessing what strain we are having on Mother Earth, we are watching the Amazon burn, but the machine keeps churning, and with birth rates increasing maybe we have to stop and think about how this turns out! does it turn out extinction is created by the excess of well… more humans, I’m not sure its just one of the many thoughts I had while viewing Denise’s work.
The gallery continues further up another stair well and through many other rooms, all different, all amazing bodies of work, thought provoking, filled with hope, with beauty its a feminine look at the world we live in from Sian Lakin’s – “I’m Not Your Baby Girl”, questioning of the female/male role through the medium of tinder, to the observation of Carol Allen-Storey’s ‘planting a pineapple for the future’ all the work here is relevant and compelling, its not only about the female identity its about the many cultures of the world, the female gaze and observation of the identity that was once yours, and how fragile identity can be, its a look at how we are all part of the same moment in time, how a future world led by the feminine offers more hope, less violence. I demand you go and see it, you will be moved!