'Dave Grow A Pair' - Anti-FGM Campaigner, Muna Hassan as part of 'Evolving In Conversation' Commission for Brighton Photography Biennial 2014 by Gina Lundy

The Brighton Photography Biennial opens this Friday, running from October 3rd – Nov 2nd. This year the festival widens the act of curation within a framework of 'Communities, Collectives and Collaboration', more info here: http://bpb.org.uk/2014/

I was one of 4 photographers commissioned by Photoworks and Brighton & Hove Libraries to make work in response to the theme, 'How Individuals Make Society Change', http://bpb.org.uk/2014/event/evolving-in-conversation/

In the run up to this Friday's opening I'm going to show a small taster of some of the work on this blog, including some behind the scenes shots that didn't make the final edit.

My initial idea was to create a set of photographs portraying young people who had spoken out on issues of both personal and community importance, the series has the working title of 'Young Advocates'.

The images above are of Muna Hassan, shot at Spike Island, Bristol. I made contact with Muna through Integrate, a Bristol based Charity formed to help with the integration of young people and children who have arrived from other countries and cultures, and who also campaign against all forms of Violence and Abuse Against Women and Girls, (VAAWG), promoting gender equality.

Muna who was born in Somalia and came to Bristol from Sweden in 2003, is baffled as to why the government does not do more to stop FGM. About 20,000 children are at risk of FGM in the UK each year. Interviewed by Sue Lloyd Roberts on BBBC's Newsnight in 2012, Muna said;

"What would you do if the girl had blue eyes and blonde hair? Would FGM still be carrying on in the UK?"

"They are so terrified and they are using cultural sensitivity as a barrier to stop them from really doing anything.

Asked if she had a message for David Cameron?

"Yes," she said, "Grow a pair and do something about FGM.”

"And if you can't handle the issue then there is no point in you doing your job."

See more of the interview here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18931460

Since the interview, Integrate have been at the forefront of campaigning on FGM awareness, generating a petition with over 200,000 signatures, calling then Education Secretary, Michael Gove to write to every head teacher in the UK, to ensure FGM awareness was addressed in Primary and Secondary schools.

See more of the campaign here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/05/british-girl-guardian-campaign-end-female-genital-mutilation-fgm

Find out more about the work of Integrate at: http://integratebristol.org.uk/

New Work Commissioned for Brighton Photography Biennial 2014 by Gina Lundy

At the beginning of August I was asked to produce work in response to the 'Evolving In Conversation' brief for the Brighton Photography Biennial 2014, a collaborative commission from Photoworks and Brighton and Hove Library.

The commission was offered to 4 photographers including myself and a group of young people facilitated by photographer Georgia Metaxas. The commission immediately appealed to me as it offered an opportunity to work alongside the young people and to start a collaborative dialogue around making images and exploring the central question,

'How Can Individuals Make Society Change?'

Inspired in part by Harper Lee's 'To Kill A a Mockingbird', I chose to focus on young people who had spoken out on issues important to them making a difference in their community. UK Youths' 'Hearing Unheard Voices' Awards was my starting point and from this I contacted a range of youth groups across the UK to see who would be able to take part in the project.

It has been a busy couple of weeks, getting from initial ideas to finding participants, shooting then editing the final images. The commission has seen me travel around the UK from Edinburgh to Taunton, Bristol to Brighton, London and Newcastle.

I've met inspiring young people campaigning against youth violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and youth homelessness. Each of them actively taking part in changing society around them.

The collection of portraits will be on show as part of the Brighton Photography Biennial at the Jubilee Library from October 4th.

To find out more about the commission go to:

http://bpb.org.uk/2014/event/evolving-in-conversation/

To find out more on Brighton Photography Biennial 2014 visit:

http://bpb.org.uk/

Images above from workshop at Jubilee Library with young photographers, Brighton 14th August 2014.

Photograd14 - Private View Tonight, 630pm @ Centrespace Gallery by Gina Lundy

A range of photographic delights for your visual pleasure are presented at Centrespace Gallery tonight by the final year students graduating from the Foundation Degree in Photography at City of Bristol College.

The show features naked ladies on horses, stroboscopic dancing, fast cars, action heroes, everyday heroes,  scrumptious food, and Avonmouth.

Doors open from 630pm, hope to see you there!


Photobook Festival Bristol - This Weekend by Gina Lundy

I'm very excited that this is happening in Bristol, wow what a line up of participants!

Joachim Schmid, Gerry Badger, Andy Sewell, Martin Parr, Thomas Wiegand, Max Pinckers, Amanda Renshaw, Michael Mack, Stephen Gill, Jesus Mico, Jon Tonks, Sebastien Girard, Ken Grant, Peter Mitchell, Anouk Kruithof, Bart Sorgedrager, Corinne Noordenbos, Bruno Ceschel, Stephen Bull, Colin Pantall, Paul Seawright and Donovan Wylie.

I have this afternoon free to swot up on who is who and what work they've done so I can try and seem like I know (Bristol accent) something about something or nothing about nothing....

Looking forward to it, hope to see some of you there.

http://www.photobookbristol.com/

Bum Rush The (Graduation) Show! by Gina Lundy

Have been enjoying working with the FDA Photography students @ City of Bristol College this week printing work for the graduation show.

Preview June 20th 6-830 @ Centrespace, Leonard Street, Bristol.

Nice arse Darren! ;) http://www.darrenshepherdphotography.com/glitternude/

Invite to follow.....


AKINA Factory Collective Book Binding Workshop, in Bristol this Weekend by Gina Lundy

Really looking forward to taking part in the AKINA Factory workshop this weekend in collaboration with IC-Visual Lab.

 After a successful first workshop in Le Photobook Fest in PAris, AKINA bring their factory to Bristol to produce a new photo book through a collective editing, sequencing and biding.

On Sunday, AKINA will be also giving a talk at  the IC-Visual Lab space combined with an exhibition of the images submitted for the workshop.

Location:

IC-VISUAL LAB SPACE

13 West St. (Old Market)

BRISTOL BS2 0BH

 

 

 

Jeremy Deller - Bristol Festival of Ideas by Gina Lundy

 

Jeremy Deller kicked off the Bristol Festival of Ideas with a Sermon from The New Room at the John Wesley Chapel, last Sunday, 4th May 2014.

I'd been to see 'English Magic' at the City Museum although I wasn't particularly aware of his previous work – this was the work which Deller represented the British Pavilion with in 2013 at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. I'd heard his name of course, but I'd presumed a degree of inaccessibility. What I heard on Sunday was genuine, honest, plainly spoken, refreshing and inspiring.

I walked away feeling relieved and with new vision, Deller challenged many previously held notions for me that 'public art' had to be some sort of soother, that it should bridge gaps or promote unity – reflecting some idea of a cohesive family, when often our communities can be anything but. A welcome relief from some of the historical worthiness associated with public art of merit - or as Claire Doherty from Situations phrased it, 'Turds on a Plaza'.

Through a re-structuring of historical associations - photos from David Bowie's 1970s tour inter-spliced with documentary photographs of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, Deller seems to be asking us to consider the presentation/consumption of the stories, a slowing down of time perhaps, to make new associations,

 

'weaving a narrative that is almost psychedelic; hovering delicately between fact and fiction, real and imagined'

(http://www.jeremydeller.org/EnglishMagic/EnglishMagic.php).
 

The realisation that there is space for both artist as object maker and artist as storyteller was liberating in this context. I admired his confidence to question, provoke and open the wound rather than stick a plaster over it, as shown in the re-staging of (Battle of Orgreave (2001).

When questioned Deller was unapologetic regarding the distress some elements of his work might cause, (It Is What It Is, 2009) - war is upsetting, destroying communities and losing your livelihood is upsetting (Battle of Orgreave, 2001), many things are upsetting, the act of creating an artwork that gives an opportunity to start conversation around the issues can be cathartic, having your voice heard again, being listened to and not forgotten, an act of recognition, remembrance perhaps.
 

Putting artwork in a gallery can stop the conversation or certainly limit it to a certain audience, taking it to the street as it were, opens the work for debate, re-ignites passions, allows us to speak plainly, to see things again afresh and possibly with greater clarity.

 

I've posted the image which upon viewing during the lecture helped made me 'get it' - a photo of Adrian Street, a Welsh born wrestler with his father and fellow miners down the pit, a narrative from which Adrian escaped to reinvent himself as a wrestler, finally settling in Florida. He returns in this photo to display himself in shiny lycra glamorous glory, the prodigal son returned, a messenger from the future showing the way forward, an act of sweet revenge – look what is possible! It is this possibility and contrast, the ability to re-write a story, to change tack, to re-invent and challenge, to return and to be defiant that made me reconsider my position – for me that's what it's all about.

 

http://www.situations.org.uk/watch-jeremy-deller-lecture-public-art-now-live-event/