MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – 2019 – PART I

Not really knowing how to start this blog post … so I am just going to welcome you and say “HAPPY BANK HOLIDAY”!

 

Firstly, the decision to write a periodical culture reviews in Hull was a big mistake. Four months have passed very quickly and despite having a very mellow involvement with culture and the city, a lot has happened.

2019 started with a positive outlook on upcoming life and work events and I really didn’t want to skip the commitment to the city and its culture/arts scene. I gave myself a relaxed task to share periodical cultural experiences, making it less of a chore.
And here I am  – slightly regretful, unsure and of course still happy to have an archive of four months worth of culture.

To be able to deliver this, I really need to travel back in time.

January ’19

The month started with general wonders around local areas and quick visit to Humber Street Gallery Place to Place by Liverpool Biennial.

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From what I remember – it was a simple, minimalist experience that didn’t really had a wow factor. But I appreciated the tones, simplicity and shapes.

The thing about Hull, camera and me is that in my head I have various visions of specific locations and potential images. So I sometimes plan a random journey, hoping to discover something unseen or not photographed previously.
The next selection is one of those. I wanted to travel down to one of my favourite streets in Hull Boulevard for the mural that has been there for a while.
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Moments before I drove past Hull Marina and recorded the beautiful morning light – this pretty much sums up my January.

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February ’19

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February was a busy month and I remember being surprised by the workload.
Most of my culture consisted of work duties and getting ready for an Artist Takeover #4 exhibition in at Queens House Showcase
Full insight here: ARTIST TAKEOVER #4 @QUEENS HOUSE SHOWCASE

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During the exhibition I held various activities – photo booth, talk about my HOME GLORY series and COME AS YOU ARE photo project.

Free photo booth was a lovely way how to invite people into the gallery and do what I do best – take a photograph.

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The talk about my HOME GLORY series was a an interesting experience to have – it turned out to be an intimate talk with small group of people about my heritage, photographic journey and stories I am trying to tell.  I didn’t need crowds to feel the  support and I am thankful to those who came.

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COME AS YOU ARE was a thing I wanted to do for a while and I was lucky to get a small platform where to test out the idea.
I asked a question to people – what do you carry with you every day and what role does that “thing” play in your life. It all came from the question of why I photograph Latvia and the mundane everyday whilst I am there, family and country.

Again – the attendance was mild, but I felt very lucky to see the people who came. Quality over quantity.

Regards culture two things happened that month in Hull. Annual Ferens Open Exhibition and The Knife Angel in Queens Gardens.

This year I missed the deadline to apply, but it happened for a reason. I didn’t feel like there was anything to exhibit and previous year proved that if you don’t feel it in your gut, don’t submit.

However, to visit the exhibition was a pleasure.
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The Knife Angel left me slightly speechless and amazed. The travelling National Monument against Violence and Aggression gathered people from all over the region and in a way united us once more. It felt like short period of time, but it definitely left a mark in 2019.

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March ’19

By mid March my life was starting to take a bitter turn and my health got in the way of everything. There was a fantastic opportunity to photograph the last Heads Up Festival, Creative ENRG came to a closure and I was part of the Creative Juice event at C4DI.
Plus I went to a very random gig at Union Mashup and stumbled across an exhibition by Lauren Saunders, Rebbeca Addinell and Sinitta Beadle at Hull Central Library.

Creative Juice @C4DI was a farewell event to the amazing journey we all had with Creative ENRG – there was a book launch, great food and very interesting programme all thanks to brilliant event organisation by Eskimosoup

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Being at the event reminded me of the friendships made and the amazing photo opportunities I created for myself by getting involved with the Creative ENRG

Heads Up Festival 2019 was so special this year, it was my third and probably the last as it was announced to take a break for a bit.

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THE PAPER CINEMAS MACBETH

Read a full review here: HEADS UP FESTIVAL 2019

LITTORAL VISTAS @HULL CENTRAL LIBRARY was an accidental discovery whilst in the library for the festival.

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The exhibition space at the library is very well lit and clean from distractions. And the work suited the space well [or the other way round]. I am pleased that Lauren Saunders is getting out there and pursuing her goals.

Make Noise Birthday Bash @Union Mash Up was a very random visit thanks to my friend Oliver. Make Noise Collective describe themselves as “Hull gal collective, working to improve safety at gigs and visibility for women in the local scene”

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One girl really did stand out – Jodie Langford with her spoken word performances. The ultimate highlight of the night.

April ’19

April brought Bankside Gallery event at the Preston Road derelict housing estate, Alec Gill’s Hessle Roaders at Hull Truck and new art space in Hull – Prospect Gallery [it is very new and at the moment the gallery don’t have any online presence].

Bankside Gallery  was a pleasure to visit despite the weather and my moody mood. A lot of new works created in a very unique gallery.

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Hessle Roaders by Alec Gill has been an ongoing journey for many people in past year or so and Alec has made sure that his work don’t just sit in the shelves in folders hidden away. Hull Truck hosted another extension to the work and I as promised to Alec I went to see it.

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I first heard of Prospect Gallery was at the Queens House Showcase at one of the events. It was mentioned and it soon became the place to visit in my [imaginary] list.

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I also got an amazing offer to have my portrait drawn and I agreed. Since then it happened twice and it as an experience to experience. It is a strange task to sit and find a point of interest that becomes your world for an hour or so. And the end result gives you a sight that you never see yourself.

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The space has got a lot of potential and it could become one of the hot spots to visit in Hull.

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In between everything I also was invited to photograph an opening at Humber Street Gallery for A TITTLE-TATTLE TELL-A-TALE-HEART by Athena Papadopoulos and caught a snippet of the CUT.

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CUT  is a a residency project exploring themes of social expression and the acts of self-care centred around their practice of hairdressing. The project takes form of a sculptural installation and events programme where haircuts and client interviews are gathered to create sound and sculptural artworks.

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There was more adventures and exciting work things throughout the four months, but I think I have covered the highlights. And learned a lesson to be more consistent. And discovered that Hull is still breathing culture.

 

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – DECEMBER 2018

Well, well. 31st of December and with a great pleasure  I am writing a finale post of the year.
Of course the culture wonders gradually went downhill, but I still kept a good housekeeping throughout the year.

Last month also brought new perspectives on City Of Culture with the Illuminate Project Legacy event at Artlink in support from Redeye: The Photography Network in the early days of December. The legacy and its future is under a question mark, many creatives left feeling disappointed and I found out things about how the system was run throughout 2017.
I still take my own experience as valuable and I remain grateful. I very much enjoy being part of the Illuminate Project: Legacy and my wonderful experience and work created lifts up my spirit.

Anna Bean [Bluebeany] and Verity Adriana shared their take on Hull City Of Culture legacy and all attendees had a great discussion around the legacy in Hull.

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Mark Wigan The Museum of Club Culture

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Lyn Acton The Legend, singer and a member of Pearls Cab Ride

 

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Alec Gill a wise man with a big heart and camera. Hessle Roaders

Another wonderful moment in December was to see film A Northern Soul by Sean McAllister

The description of the film briefly tells the story of Steve aka Redeye Feenix and his journey:
“Steve is a warehouse worker by day, hip-hop artist by night. He represents a forgotten generation whose dreams haven’t been met. But Steve is also a deeply community-driven optimist, who has also been trying to find a way to bring creativity and culture to the disadvantaged kids of the city. Kids like he once was – kids whose opportunities to build a better life are restricted by the world around them. Music has been his dream for 30 years and he saw the opportunity in the City of Culture year to start a project: the ‘Beats Bus’, using a bus donated by his company and converted into a sound studio, allowing him to visit some of Hull’s poorest schools and give kids a voice through music training and performance – a chance he never had.”

My own reflections of the film however are much more deeper – first of all, I think that the film was the best documentary I have seen in a long time and secondly it made me feel inspired. I have seen Steve’s and Beats Bus journey in 2017 and 2018, taking photographs of them at Hull’s festivals. They were so engaging with the public and youngsters seem to have loads of confidence. And the film showed how much Steve had to invest, how he shared his passion and energy and that the kids got their inspiration and strength from Steve.  He is an inspiring local artist and we have more common that I would ever imagine. I am sending my love and best wishes to Steve and Beats Bus.

Another moment was a special Monday when I had to find a spot where to be interviewed for Creative ENRG annual report. Of course, I don’t have an amazing office space, just my boring home office and there was no chance to nail an interesting client to shoot on early Monday morning so I decided to go somewhere appropriate for my work – Preston Road derelict housing estate “decorated” with graffiti.

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Friends on Every Street slowly are creating amazing legacy with their work and are the key elements on previously visited Bankside Gallery and this too.
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Here is me and my boyfriend spreading the love for the Peter levy and Look North Mate!
The end of 2018 is also bringing me to a closure to another year of culture blogging and I have a big question of what is next. Do I continue or do I move on with my life and career?
I need to dive in January and see how enthusiastic and faithful I feel to continue. I need time to reflect and revalue my input on the culture legacy in Hull.

Last but not least was my magical Christmas visit home and I really want to share few moments of picturesque snow. I am so grateful to my family for time spent together and white Christmas just topped it all and made it so special.

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On the last festive note I want to wish everyone Happy New Year! I hope it brings love, success and you all have the energy to make your big and small dreams to come true. Lots of love from me to everyone who follows me and my life/career journeys!

 

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – NOVEMBER 2018

For the first time I have delayed the monthly culture blog for so long. It is confusing to write now about what happened then, because December already has given me different emotions and experiences. So I will try to screw my head back round and go back in time.
As usual in the second half of 2018, I feared that I will have nothing to write about, but somehow I have tricked myself and November was productive.

First –  to my deep sadness I missed out Hull Comedy Festival 2018, but I went to Big City Of Culture Quiz of the Year to make up for it.

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It felt like I have missed a big yearly family gathering and being there to see few familiar faces made me load more happier.

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I also went down to Queens House Showcase to see the ARTIST TAKEOVER #3.

Again – pretty much a regular there since I  have Creative ENRG mentor on my side and I go there on a monthly basis.
Thought for the future – exhibit there myself..

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Artists on display  – Lucy Kelly, Hannah Green, Ingrid Holborn and Saffron Brown

Hannah Green

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Ingrid Holborn

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Saffron Brown

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Lucy Kelly

I have worked with Lucy before, taking photographs of her paintings, textiles and ceramics and she is a raw artist so hard not to love. Her work is complete and made with thought about global issues. Her personality is bold and I am very honoured to have her on my client list.
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Very end of the month I had a very special visitor – my sister and I wanted to share my love for the city and we both went to the URBAN LEGENDS:NORTHERN LIGHTS

In all honesty – the camera was pretty much a habit rather than intentional tool for the experience and after seeing fantastic photographs from the event, I wish I took it more seriously. These days we don’t get events like that in the city often and it was a great photo-opportunity that I missed out on.

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One of the creative directors was Anna Bean known as Bluebeany [alongside other great ones] and her stamp of fantastic creations was all over the displays.

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OH THE NIGHT!  by IMITATING THE DOG

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As an outsider my sister loved most of the installations, some more than others. At least, she got to see why I love the city so much.
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Oh, at the beginning of the month I had a visit to the Portraits at Sea Hull Maritime Museum.

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I think my favourite moment was the conversation with the volunteer about the exhibition next door and how she got emotional. Or when she said that there aren’t many opportunities to volunteer these days… If you ask me, that is the “legacy” that we have to deal with – we are hungry for culture and we are getting starved.

As part of my Illuminate Project: Legacy I went to see Alec Gill’s Hessle Roaders Guided Tour at Brynmore Jones Library.

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Across my social media I have been banging on about it a lot, but for those who need filling in: Alec Gill and hes Hessle Roaders photographs seen back in September 2017 at St Johns Church inspired me to invite him as part of my search for City of Culture legacy. He is an absolute sweetheart – caring, loving, warm, kind and witty. He has welcomed me in his home, introduced with his poetry writing wife Audrey and shared his side of the story. Going to one of his Guided tours was not just for the project, it was also to see and hear him again, proving that he carries the legacy flag in his heart and inspires me do the same.

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Throughout November I had some thoughts about City Of Culture, the impact that it had on me and how it slowly starts to fade. Since the city and Absolutely Cultured is having less cultural events, I feel like loosing the connection with the city. And I start to wonder if having less interest from the Hull people is mirroring my experience. Or is it just that thing where I need to crack on and have my own cultural journey on my own terms, like I did in 2017.
And it leads me to the question – do I continue my culture blogging in 2019? What is your thoughts?
Should I stick to the promise that Culture Company gave us in 2017 about three years of legacy and just crack on?

December is half way and I am full of reflections – Illuminate Project: Legacy Redeye event happened, I went down Preston Road derelict housing estate and had I have emotional review to write about A Northern Soul.