MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – APRIL 2018

April was 80% usual and 20% summer  [including the feeling that winter is over and tops off kind of vibe].
So I’ll start with a moment that represents the above for me. Shot taken down Humber Street with probably the most famous dog in culture crowds.

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Culture month #4 and I am hopeful for the future. Legacy ‘n stuff, another culture-bursting year for the city and buzzing/happy people in all areas of Hull. Yes?

April started well,I was lucky to be involved with Illuminate Project:Legacy  I feel very fortunate to be able to tie work done in 2017, continuous photo/blog Hull City Of Culture in 2018 and look for the legacy, that I have discussed over and over again. Pop the question is important for someone like me, who’s really believed that Hull has changed and there is no way back. It will be a challenge as well, but I don’t mind a chunky challenge.

Work will be started pretty soon and there will be an exhibition in autumn. To top it all up I will be working with some pretty exciting photographers. Anna Bean/Bluebeany, Verity Adriana and Karim Skalli

Back to April and culture.
I had a list of exhibits I wanted to see this month, including No one knows me like Dawn from Jobcenter at Humber Street Gallery, because title seemed intriguing.

If being honest, April was difficult month for getting out with true passion and get involved in culture. Things got sad, difficult and being out with camera was more like an escape. Plus, I have been focusing on re-branding my business face, which always requires energy and ability to face your devils.

The start of April and my first go-see was the new light announcement down Queen Victoria Square at the very first weekend of April. I was unable to see the lights Saturday/Sunday, so I rushed there on the opening night. I got really frustrated by light switch being late, I didn’t had tripod, so I guess the photos are just a record that I was there. Still not sure what I was supposed to see, as very similar lights have been there through out last months?

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Whilst waiting and chatting to fellow photographers, I snapped the fountains there too. Tuns out this is the first time I see them at night. Oh well..

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On my way there, I briefly rushed through first Hull Street Food Nights of 2018. It was very brief and I was very gutted that I can only “smell” the event. Next one maybe as it looked so lovely…

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After that is was exhibitions. Luckily there are quite a few available to view from April onward.

First trip I took to see HIP Gallery in Princess Quay. I was aiming to see the freshly brewed LAUNDERAMA by David Drasdo, but I was a bit too early. Instead I got to see the DOCK. The exhibition is a selected visual history of St. Andrew’s Dock.

Once St Andrew’s Dock was the beating heart of Hull’s fishing industry.
Today it stands derelict and unloved, a sorry reflection of a once proud and thriving place.
These images are just a snapshot of the story of its falls from grace.

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The exhibition contains photographs by Will Slater, Peter Marshall, Ben Barrass and Oliver Turpin.

The extend of loss from the industry feels so genuine, once I finished with the viewing. For someone like me not born in UK and Hull, exhibition serves as a good eye opener for the past and present. I always hear the stories about how great it was, but it never really felt like I know what people mean by it.
I was curious to find out from volunteers when it all “cracked”, but the conversation revealed a lot more. For example, back in the day, people that worked in the industry were called three day millionaires- they became rich very quickly for a short period of time, then spent all the money as quickly as they earned it. Also, I found out that Hull was once called the City of East Coast. Just that.

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Massive thank you to the volunteer that chatted for 40 min about Hull, fishing industry, even about studying photography and writing dissertations. I wish I noted his name down on piece of paper….

After that I went to see something that I purposely left for April.

No one knows me like Dawn from Jobcenter at Humber Street Gallery.

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The culture or social groups that are regulars to Jobcentre are always linked with lack of life quality, lack of future perspectives and generally are the underdogs. Rightly so for those who work and pay taxes. But there is no country in the world without a unemployment issues. To be able to draw the lines between art and stereotypes around the subject is intriguing and tempting.

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I feel like my photos show every corner of the exhibition, leaving nothing to imagination, but that’s how I felt like at the time – it was too good to be missed out.

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The artwork sets many questions and leaves me to wonder if the reality is mixed with great dose of sarcasm. Really good exhibition in my opinion, although I felt like I want more.

After that I popped downstairs to see the FOREVER or GOLDEN SHOWERS by Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

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I am convinced that these light installations are detachable from their current meanings. It also wasn’t as excited as I expected. It was more about getting that one perfect shot of three very different light bulbs.

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Maybe, and only maybe, I would like these installations in a meaningful location? I don’t know….
Just to quickly mention and justify image below – the shirts really brightened up my mood. These lads deserve a free drink.

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My next exhibition was at Artlink. Only in last few months I have realised that Artlink is very warm and welcoming space, including staff working there.

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This time it was the GRAFT in FLUX. An collaborative exhibition in a nine year partnership between Artlink and HMP Humber’s Graft Fine Art Studio.

The exhibition is focused on the changing landscape and the aspirations of those currently working and living in the secure prison units.

It also has got an interesting way of treating the “artists”. Most of them have no prior training, skills or education in arts, so they all have been thrown in an adventure. That is the most precious part of the idea, I think.
From what is displayed, I couldn’t tell that there is no experience. Fascinating.

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All exhibits are part of an experiment, covering each person’s voice and back-stories.

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There are Drop-in workshops available on 19th May and 16th June.  The workshops will recreate elements and working practices from the Studio to allow visitors to observe and take part in the environment, projects, techniques, and journey of HMP Humber’s students. I am hoping to squeeze one of the workshops in my diary for June [that’s if someone would like to join me].

 

The only downside of space there – it sometimes isn’t pleasant to fight with falling shadows and colour cast. So I hope I have hidden that in these captures. [sorry]

Last but not least – TWO GINGERS COFFEE HOUSE and a small coffee/bear/live music  summer start up gathering on the 28th April.
I remember first time I went there was early days for the Two Gingers, but I am so pleased to see them thriving and having coffee lovers on their side.

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I literally popped there for 10 min to see the atmosphere, my mind was far away from celebrating and mingling with people.
I hope they do more events like these and I can properly enjoy myself.

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There you go – my little culture April in Hull. I hope as the year goes on, I will get more diverse cultural experiences through the lens.

For now – re-branding, Illuminate Project:Legacy, culture in May and work.

 

 

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – MARCH 2018

HAPPY EASTER, HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY[yesterday], HAPPY DAY TO BE ALIVE.

HAPPY.
AND WELCOME TO THE MARCH EDITION OF MY CULTURE IN HULL 2018.

I must admit that it is hard to write and focus on work today, I am in a 100% long weekend mood.  So I will try.. and if by accident I publish it only on the 2nd April [today], you’ll know that I gave in on chocolate eggs. And a nap.

 

March brought some lovely culture experiences and quite a tense works schedule at times. I have been in and out of “busy” and running low on fuel reserves from winter season. We are ready for spring!

Culture highlights:

#1 HEADS UP FESTIVAL 2018

#2 ARTLINK JASON WILSHER-MILLS UNEXPECTED ENGAGEMENT ARTIST TALK

#3  GROUND GALLERY HULL PRESENTS BLUEBEANY’S ARTIST TALK

#4 TRINITY MARKET EXPLORATION NR. 1

Since 2018 unfolded as the year after an amazing year of 2017, I can easily make my own rules of how I will culture myself, I feel no pressure. Everything is in a relaxed manner. So in March I tried to combine personal interests with must-see’s and bit of good old Hull walks with camera. That applies to the need to witness the change and progress and see where do we go from 2017.

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Collecting photographs and stories in March has been the easy part. Writing can get tricky.

I try to have some one-to-one time with the city, get on the road geared up with camera and in March I soaked up one day of spring in an hour long walk through derelict area of Hull [kind of].
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Some of the “edgelands” is up for a development soon, so maybe it is worth catching few photographs of the land, before it changes.

The best experience in March was the HEADS UP FESTIVAL 2018

I was invited to be their photographer this year and that rolled me straight into a number of cultural events. Hull based company E52, in conjunction with renowned venue and producer Battersea Arts Centre, presents some of the most exciting contemporary British and international theatre at venues throughout the city of Hull.
The festival takes place twice a year, with Spring and Autumn seasons, and also includes locally-curated and produced work, workshops, new productions, networking events, talks, art events, school projects, and exhibitions.

 

First one was UGLY CHIEF – artist and performer Victoria Melody teams up with her dad, TV antique dealer Mike Melody, for her most ambitious show yet. Ugly Chief is a comedy based on true-life events, performed by a real-life father and daughter. As I can create any spoilers  – it is about setting up a funeral by Victoria for her dad, who was falsely diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given five years to live. In the show, they preform two funerals – one that Victoria wanted for her dad, and second funeral that dad wanted to have for himself.

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The show was wonderful, witty, clever and emotional at times. And the fact that it was another take on taboo subject such as death, funerals really made it my cup of tea.
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Two of the events took place in Kardomah94 across the week.
Heads Up Introducing with Lyn Acton, singer with Pearls Cab Ride and Bill Drummond Daffodils&Death

Both brought me some new knowledge about different art forms, I got to know Lyn Acton and Pearls Cab Ride , not just as one of the bands playing at Freedom Festival, but as culturally important figure in Hull and jazz music scene in Yorkshire.

She laughed, cried, shared and cherished her stories and musical influences and favourites.

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Bill Drummond Daffodils&Death was just a bit random. Enjoyable random.
But my favourite new knowledge was that Bill once was in a band called The KLF and had hell of a performance at 1992 BRIT Award Ceremony.

And to back up that it really happened in 1992, Bill Drummond, between he’s shows came to the sound desk and said  “I can’t wait for this to be over, so I can have a proper drink”

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Third one was SPONGE by Turned On Its Head

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That was ultimate kids show using sponges in various shapes, forms, colours and sizes, that will be stuck in my memory as a nightmare light change to capture in photographs.
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The last event of the festival, I was taking photos of was the DARK WINTER by David Mark.

I was present at the last of the dress rehearsals and only stayed for 30 min. And in that short time I witnessed some serious theatre. Set in Hull and based on the thrilling crime novel by bestselling author David Mark, E 52 bring Aector McAvoy’s first case to the stage in a stunning adaptation by award winning writers Richard Vergette.

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And hell yeah, it was mind blowing. The level of acting and theatre performance was high standard and having Hull as main characteristics made it to be my favourites. The sound and light was to match the high standards of performance. One word – gutted not seen the full performance.

Photos above: Production team, E52 crew and stage manager.

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Million thanks to Heads Up team for having me on board. Great pleasure, great pleasure.

 

In March there was an important note in my diary – to see Jason Whilsher-Mills with my own eyes in his artist talk about currently displayed Unexpected Engagement at Artlink. I rarely get to see artist gatherings and talks, as I am working evenings, so this was real treat for my brain on Saturday, 13th March.

Jason Wilsher-Mills is Square Peg’s artist-in-residence for 2017.

Square Peg, the user-led diversity and disability arts programme from Artlink has teamed up with Jason to bring the stories of diverse communities in Hull to everyone’s attention.

New technologies have helped Jason give life to his ideas on disability, childhood memory and popular culture, creating new narratives. We met to discuss this and his upcoming exhibition Unexpected Engagement at Artlink.

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More than anything, I took away Jason’s story of how he embraced digital technology, instead of sticking to what he was used to. He stepped out his comfort zone, embraced the change and it took him to the highs of a success. And for someone like me it is the best lesson to learn. Change is scary,but change is good.

The talk itself was wonderful, I really liked Jason’s sense of humour, honesty and the event was a great experience to see his other work.

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At the end of it, I joined the rest for a second look at the exhibition and helped others to get their heads around the 3D experience with sculptures and tablet.

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The end of the month got a bit distracting and I kind of ditched the culture for a bit. I had few little culture things on my mind, but instead I went for a nosy at newly refurbished Trinity Market and have the famous Cone Queen – Cone Pizza.

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The space is very “fresh” at the moment, but I could already see the potential and Hull’s own stamp on the units available. Hull people have turned in proper foodies  and I am really liking it.

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During the last days of March, I also wanted to make it to BLUEBEANY’S talk at GROUND GALLERY HULL
Ground Gallery is one of my favourite discoveries in 2017 and Anna Bean with her exhibition is definitely a very good news to have for the gallery.

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I was very late [cos of work], so I had no hopes of seeing the talk and I kind of made it to the very end. Just as I got to the gallery, I realised that it is fully packed with people and that brought a big grim on my face – for Anna Bean and for the Ground.

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The last few days of the month of course went a bit mad – Easter, all the excitement of nationally long Bank Holiday weekend and unfinished business.
But I had to see one last thing – Artist Take Over at Queens House Showcase last day with cakes, tea and artists themselves.
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The space gives a good ground start to artist to exhibit, have the experience of sharing their work and running workshops and in the future we are about to see more work exhibited.

So… the more the spring, summer is mentioned, the more culture we are going to see – good news for me and exciting times for Hull.
Hull Street Food Nights are back in April, Humber Street Gallery has some exciting exhibitions already on display, Studio Eleven is providing us with some high end and super quality sculpture-work and so on…

I have some of the above on the menu,  Auschwitz and work in April. Yaass!

Happy Culture!