Following the walk to the Garden Gate Project, to coincide with the opening of the new exhibition at the gallery; a session was held with John Akomfrah in conversation with BBC historian David Olusoga. The film by John is being shown as part of the exhibition.
John had made the film installation (initially commissioned for the Venice Biennale 2014) entitled ‘Vertigo Sea’ which I had previously seen at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. It is an extremely powerful and emotive film which addresses issues that are still relevant to issues today. I was anxious to meet him in person and engage in a brief conversation which I was able to do!
The group met for an introduction at Turner Contemporary, and aim of the session was of walking together and stopping for readings at stages along the route.
It was not a day conducive for walking but we carried on regardless and the weather did improve as the time went on.
Alongside reading from the poem, Elspeth had also arranged for some of the visitors to set up ‘Walking Books’ sessions and various people signed up for a session beforehand.
The group walked from the gallery along the seafront and ended up at the Garden Gate Project.
Keith, a member of the group read one of his poems at the end of the walk.
It is now nearly a year (17 November) since the group formed and we went on the first walk. It has gone from strength to strength with Elspeth ensuring that each walk has a main focus. Alongside the main aims, friendships have emerged and the parameters have been extended as to how the group has developed offering a positive prospect for the future.
The Garden Gate is an inspiring project that has been set up at Northwood House, Margate and provides various activities aimed at helping people with learning difficulties; ranging from gardening to craft activities.
On 7 October was a fund-raising day when the site was open to the public. There was everything from a photography darkroom which had been set up in a shed, a Canterbury Cathedral stall where visitors were able to make paper stained glass windows to freshly made pizzas (donations only!)
Elspeth from the TS Eliot Walking Group invited me to go along and I took the following images together with helping to paint some of the gardening boxes frames.
Elspeth who set up the original Turner Contemporary group held another walk as part of a TSE symposium day for the University of Kent. I was commissioned to take images of the walk for her. This in turn led her to ask me to do a joint Artist in Residency with her at Sun Pier House Gallery, Chatham.
The following are some of the images from the day:
An invitation was sent by Dover Arts Council advising that the site would be open to local artists for one day. It provided an opportunity to take images of a site of historical interest which is rarely open to the public. The site has been used since Napoleonic times with evidence of gun placements, and during WWII it was used as a weapons storage facility.
Although a bright sunny day, the light inside the buildings was challenging in places and the resulting images did not truly show the textures and decay that were evident in places.
This lady was taking advantage of the sunshine and I loved her hat!
Since the Turner Contemporary TS Eliot Research Group came into being in August 2015, I have been documenting all the meetings and activities. I have also been part of the Evaluation Team, which has looked at all processes and activities to gather feedback, to enable the group to move forward and progress effectively.
To date although the number of members attending has diminished from the earlier meetings, there is now a strong group who attends and contributes regularly. The group have collaboratively put forward suggestions for pieces to be included into the final exhibition and is now at the stage of putting these forward to the curators to see whether or not these will be available to exhibit in 2018. These are some of the suggestions that I put forward for inclusion.
Subway Drawing – Henry Moore 1941
Dust Breeding – Man Ray 1931
Night Hawks – Edward Hopper 1942
The group is now on its summer break until September 2016.
This meeting focussed in the main on the reasons and importance of evaluation and explored creative ways that this could be undertaken. Michele led the meeting in her capacity as the consultant professional evaluator for the project, and followed on from the initial introduction to the process that Trish and I had introduced at the last meeting on 5 April.
The meetings are now following the format where a topic is covered in the first part, and then a discussion is held to consider images which the members have submitted online for possible inclusion into the final exhibition. The images considered at this meeting related to journeys, migration and myth.