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.

 

ARTIST TAKEOVER #4 – QUEENS HOUSE SHOWCASE

Same time this week I was rushing around and getting ready for the opening night for the fourth Artist Takeover at Queens House Showcase  run by ENRG Hull.
It clearly has been a challenging experience, since it has taken me a full week to man up and write the blog post about the exhibition and opening night.

Over the past year I’ve been building a bond with Creative ENRG Hull. family. It started as few artist workshop photography assignments, ENRG Hull  ambassador filming with Fly girl Films and being interviewed myself for few times as one of the people who had help setting up a creative business.

Over several months in 2018 Queens House Showcase featured in my monthly blogs of culture wonders in Hull with exhibitions and other ARTIST TAKEOVERS.

It was a slow but steady friendship and as the result I was asked to be part of the last ARTIST TAKEOVER of the programme.

We were asked to exhibit work around Landscape and from that point on the whole experience took a twist that I was not exactly ready for.

I am known for certain work – Hull based, bright, happy, celebratory and creative events, festivals, client work and so on.. and to show to a very public eye a slice HOME GLORY series felt strange. Even today when it has been a week and I am already planning activities throughout exhibition it feels out of the character.

There was uncertainty of how people will embrace the work I’m exhibiting and the story I am trying to tell.

The work exhibited focuses on Latvia in the 21st Century and the derelict landscape across the countryside due to migration to cities and abroad. I say “focuses” because I found that the landscape my eye can catch is different to a standard scenery landscape.
Every time I visit Latvia, especially past three years, I feel the urge to bring my professional gear and eye and capture the home land. It varies from silly set ups, to portraits with photogenic friends, to travels and explorations, often focus is close to my family members and family home/land. It is a another dimension of thought process that I don’t often get chance to use in the UK and the imagery has got special place in my photographic collection.

The exhibition includes five photographs and installation that aims to engage on more than one level with the viewers. The installation includes a special diary that my sister wrote me whilst living in one of the remote regions of Latvia and a newspaper article from 1992 that my grandmother passed on to me few years ago.

 

The other two artists exhibiting are Nigel Walker and Pierino Hristov.

Nigel Walker

Photographer Nigel Walker lives in East Yorkshire and has been making photographs for over fifty years. Most recently he has been concerned with why he takes them and how they are used. He supports the postulation that meaningful photography should comprise of geography, autobiography and metaphor.For Artist Takeover #4 he presents a new body of work, ‘Say Something’, which considers the distance between current generations and seeks to encourage a reconciliation through communication. The East Coast signals a border and semaphore a way of telling – a concept, an idea and a cipher as much as a means. At 17 years old, the model, Olivia, is on the cusp of moving into the responsibilities of adulthood. How will she choose to make her world and negotiate with others who have made it? How will she and her generation change it, preserve it and mould it for themselves? This collection of works explores this challenge …Nigel will be in the gallery on Wednesday 13th February, join us for refreshments and cake & chat to Nigel about his work. He’ll also be giving an in depth talk about ‘Say Something’ and other projects at 6 pm on Wednesday 20th February – see you there!

Pierino Hristov

A Bulgarian artist now resident in Hull, Pierino uses a vibrant palette to combine traditional and contemporary motifs in celebration of enduring heritages and landscapes. Using digital approaches and inspired by the flower filled terrains of northern Bulgaria, his complex arrangements of florals, colours and patterns echo shared traditions of quilting & stitching. Producing a fresh and contemporary fusion of familiar forms, his carefully constructed arrangements reflect the changing seasons and their moods. Influenced by David Hockney’s digital palettes, works are conceived to bring joyful and uplifting affects into everyday experience.

Source: ENRG website

Before I am getting into the opening night, I want to say massive thank you to Christoper Hopkins and Gill Hobson. Both pushed me to dive deep and helped to make the most of the opportunity.

Massive shout out to Ditto 4 Design Printing – they are the best printing company I worked with across the board. They saved my day twice and the delivery of images was super quick.

On the day of the opening I was still finishing up the display that involved searching for rubble, polishing up the artwork and figuring out what to expect.

With no major expectations and excitement to meet the other two artist the night began on a really positive note.

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It made me very happy to see faces of John Gilbert, Oliver Fisher+familiar faces. Thank you to previous artists exhibiting Emma Garness and Lucy Kelly. Thank you for coming and making me feel happy.

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In the following weeks I will be present at the gallery come and say hello!

  • 22nd February – THAT FRIDAY FEELING – free photo booth and chat with me
  • 28th February – HOME GLORY in conversation with me
  • 7th March – FREE PHOTO BOOTH AND WE WILL BE DOING A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT OR SEARCH FOR YOUR TOUCHSTONES AND TALISMANS – I invite all my friends and family to come along and take part!
  • 14th March – last day of the exhibition – come in, say hello and tell us what you thought of the exhibition.

 

Also if you would like to read my contribution to the Creative ENRG and ENRG Hull project, click here:

In Conversation with Anete Sooda Photo

 

 

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.

“BEFORE I DIE” WALL @HULL PRIDE, 2016

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On the 16th of July more than one amazing things took place.
THE HULL PRIDE was planned to be the biggest in Hull so far, second BEFORE I DIE WALL was set up by Eskimosoup and I was going to my annual summer visit to Latvia.
It was an outrageous day, as I had to be up early to help and photograph for setting up the wall, edit and blog the photographs from the morning activities, pack suitcases and tidy my house and never the less – photograph the THE HULL PRIDE and BEFORE I DIE WALL …… I thought I did bloody well, because at the end I actually did not miss my plane and was alive.

First – apologise for making promises I can’t keep. When I arrived in Latvia, on the first few days I could not find software and the rest is history…

I am not worried, because events like THE HULL PRIDEand BEFORE I DIE WALL has left a legacy and the point made will last for a long time.

THE HULL PRIDE was inspiring and I had a smile on my face at all times. The pride really represented freedom, diversity and good spirit. People looked ever so happy and proud to be part of the movement.

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I followed the parade from Queens Gardens to stage area near Fuel. The wall was suited in the pride “party” area and as soon as the parade finished, I was rushing down to see what has happened to the wall…

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Already before the party started, the wall was full of people’s thoughts about what would they wish to do before they die.
It was a beautiful view, I was so proud of the fact that Eskimosoup and I have done a great job and got people involved.

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Sometimes we need a platform of a strange kind to say what we can’t say to anyone else. Do we dare to think about our lives in these terms and consider the fact that one day we all pass away.

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Different kinds of people got involved, the wall was popular and the messages were inspiring.

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If we take in account that 95% of the messages are genuine and people truly mean what they write, we can see what is on societies mind….. A lot of travelling requests, political wishes and little life goals..
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The image above seems quite strange, as the film industry often associate God or Jesus as those that can fulfill our wishes, but actually it is the people’s dedication, motivation and hard work that will make these writings a reality.

As I was leaving half way, the wall continued to blossom during the event and I hope people enjoyed to be part of this.

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Massive thank you to Eskimosoup and Jenni for the efforts, time and work. I feel honoured to be able to collaborate and photograph the wall.

 

 

If you think that the wall is awesome and you have suggestions where we could do the next BEFORE I DIE WALL, please let us know by commenting below, or Facebook us.

“BEFORE I DIE” WALL AT YO-YO FESTIVAL

The “BEFORE I DIE” wall is something that was mentioned to me whilst discussing my Final Major project. It seemed like a fantastic idea that unites people from all over the world, allowing anonymously say something that you might not discuss with your family and friends. We don’t seem to live our lives constantly thinking about the day when we might die, we want to live and do great things.

The wall is world wide project created by artist Candy Chang . He created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her neighbourhood to create an anonymous place to help restore perspective and share intimately with neighbours while remaining an introvert.

BEFORE I DIE WALL WEBSITE

The success of this idea is incredible. As website describes “After posting a few photos online, the images spread and she received hundreds of messages from people who wanted to make a wall with their community. She created this website with resources and now thanks to passionate people around the world, over 1,000 Before I Die walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa.”

Before-I-Die-photo-Certificate-of-Appropriateness

I was super keen to set up one in Hull. City of Culture/2017 is coming and this could extend the community involvement, be creative and show the greatness of the people living in Hull.

Photographic aspect would be used to spread the word and record the “life” of the wall.

I happened to have great people around me being interested in the wall as much as I was and that’s where the project was born and started to take shape.
John and Jenni from eskimosoup had a realistic idea of how to make this happen. The first stage is to set up a smaller version of the wall [low cost] and see what the public reaction is. Jenni had a great idea to test the wall at the Bank Holiday Weekend YO-YO Festival on Princess Avenue created by organisation established in 1995 YO-YO THE FAMOUS INDIE ROCK N ROLL DISCO.

The festival was family friendly, covers different times of the day and pretty much is an ideal festival for the first “BEFORE I DIE” wall.

We set up in the morning, I felt like the preparation is essential to photograph as we are doing this from scratch.  Jenni already had prepared the wall [great job] and we just had to set it up. We also thought to extend the wall to the pavement and allow people to express themselves.

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Later on the day, when festival was two hours in, I popped down to the venue and checked if people have been near to the wall. We really hoped that people will get involved and we will be able to take the project further, responding to the thousands of interests [high expectation haha].

I was happy to see that people have written they wishes and some have used the pavement and chalks to express themselves.

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Then later on the night we went down to see what is happening again, plus enjoy the festival – music and atmosphere.

We were super happy that people have continued to write on the wall and pavement.
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It was interesting to see what the messages are.

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The experience was a learning curve for the “BEFORE I DIE” wall. We have learned that people will get engaged we just need to give them the space and tools.

We know that kids love it too, so do we need to create a kids “before I die wall” in the future?

My personal preference would be 3x bigger wall and we will be working towards that for the future reference.

We have some great plans for Hull and “BEFORE I DIE” wall, so keep you eyes and ears open.

As for the festival, I did love the atmosphere and so I did love a bit of live music.

My personal favourite was NINETIES BOY and his “gang”. Just loved the 90’s cheese and tackiness, his presence was ace and OHH, the lyrics…

 

Overall – happy to announce that the wall and the festival was great success, thanks Jenni and John for great work and support, it’s my honor to be part of this.