MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – PART IV

End of an era or what?

The past few months my life has been a shit show, but there has been so many great photo moments that I am excited to shout about it on the last day of 2019.
Yes, 2019 I really want to slap you, but despite all the things that went bad, I had amazing work and culture opportunities, another bunch of great people in my life and rememberable image stock.

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October brought HIP PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL and this year the festival did shine a bit more than last year. The festival celebrated its 6th year and brought to Hull Peter Dench, Rhiannon Adam, Claire Armitage and Lomography. There was also a vast selection of local talent on display.
My favourite of course was Peter Dench with Trans-Siberian World Cup series. I also very much loved the Rhiannon Adam’s Pitcairn series shot in Britain’s last Pacific Overseas Territory. Photographs are stunning, even breath taking I dare to say. Her photographs with voyeuristic edge and true moments of intimacy masquerading as casual snapshots, but holds loneliness, isolation and portrayal of a broken society shrouded in mistrust.

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Peter Dench never disappoints. Never. This time he tackled a culture that is quite familiar to myself as me being from post Soviet Union country. I thoroughly loved the photographs.

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As one of the unexpected surprises was the exhibition COHERE.

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The exhibition was a collection resulted from various workshops where photographers worked with writers and performers from refugee backgrounds to create an exhibition that creates, challenges, disrupts and charms. The result is pretty amazing. Films, visual installations and photographic works of art that gives an experience that in a strange way tailors to your won life experience. It worked for me on different levels – I admired the visual with textures, playful colours with disrupted lines, the touch-and-feel experience. On the emotional level I felt inspired and touched by the imagery. The exhibition COHERE was on the top as one of the favourites.

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The festival offered plenty of work that meets the demand for different subjects.
There were others that I really liked – The Launderette one on the ground floor of the Princess Quay, Homer Sykes and others. It was a great festival and I am glad I made the effort to make it part of my culture wonders.

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For the first time in long time I also had the joy of re-visiting old places through the viewfinder. It sounds simple, but for me that sparkle was long gone, so to be in the mood for such was a great feeling. The long waited pedestrian bridge played a small roll in that too.

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Whilst wondering around Marina I popped down to Humber Street Gallery to see the exhibitions on display. Nenna Kalu Wrapping and Aniara Omann Equanipolis.

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Nenna Kalu Wrapping [above] raised my eyebrows even though the the basis or the work are great. Nenna Kalu works with ActionSpace, a London based visual arts organisation that supports artists with learning disabilities. In the current exhibition she used various materials like plastic tubing, newspapers, foam, fabric ect.

The work is very tricky to judge appropriately in such exhibition space, as usually we get some high end art.

The other two floors were Aniara Omann and Equanipolis. The artist evokes and questions different aspects of the human body with sculptures that at once resemble and mutate the human form, as well as our relation to ecology through her choice of material.

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From summer until end of October there was a little Hull Fishing Industries treasure display at Hull Maritime Museum. The heritage and tradition of women working in the fishing community was celebrated through imagery. In this exhibition, award-winning photographer, Craig Easton, well known for his landscape work and intimate portraits of real lives, explores the past and present. It will bring together the three strands of the fisherwomen’s story: their heritage, their journey and contemporary portraits, including exciting new commissions of Hull’s own fisherwomen.
Fisherwomen celebrates the tradition and importance of women in the fishing industry by following the traditional route of the herring trade from Shetland down the east coast, via Hull to Great Yarmouth.
The exhibition highlighted the central role of women in the fishing industry today, even though their work is now almost entirely done behind closed doors in processing factories, sheds and smokehouses.

Source: Maritime Hull

The sad thing was that I missed the exhibition and just saw the “remains” that are on display currently.

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On a sunny weekday I strolled into city centre for business, and was a pleasure to see Hull lit by sunlight. Autumn can be dull, and it is dull mostly, so I was lucky to have camera on me to record the rare scenes for that time of the year.

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“Michelangelo – A Different View” at Hull Minster was the thing that everyone raved about, and I had to see the Sistine Chapel’s iconic scenes with my own eyes.

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The first thing that caught my eyes was the odd phones and the quite an elderly generation. The combination reminded me of a tourist group from Germany and that made me chuckle.
The exhibition was quite a piece – the atmosphere in Minster definitely was the correct recipe for a success.

I found myself in a bizarre situation – instead of grasping for breath after being stunned by Michelangelo, I was amused by other people and their reactions.

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I mean, yes, it was quite alright, but I guess I’m not the “type”. As long as it created an excitement and buzz amongst people, I am happy to approve.

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What I approve and celebrate myself, is the little things and the little snaps of people in  the right place and the right time for a great photograph. Hull Minster is a treasure in its own right and to see any kind of exhibition hosted there is a privilege.

In 2017 I created few images to acknowledge Whitefrigate’s empty shops and how the shop windows were used as canvas for marketing or art. I decided to revisit this in 2019 – and see the change. Baring in mind all the regeneration plans, it was a curiosity more than need for culture images.

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November brought another good festival – Hull Comedy Festival 2019. 2019 was another year where the work commitments and health issues made me unavailable for 90% of the festival, but it was a great, great feeling to fill the old boots for 10%.

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I happened to see a gig that was hosted by Jed Salisnbury at Princess Quay, and although on a small scale, it was filled with laughter and good humor.

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Ross Brierley with Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left Of Them?

I have known Ross as a comedian from the early days, I have had then pleasure to shoot NOT SO LATE NIGHT SHOW WITH ROSS AND JOSH and I have had belly cramps from laughter from previous festivals. Ross still holds the same amount of charm, fun and entertainment.

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Stevie Gray: Arctic Monkeys’ Midlife Crisis

Stevie Gray was a “fresh” act on my list and OH MY. He was totally hilarious. He did good and even better – when he’s guitar lost a string he cracked on as normal and made his repertoire even funnier without music.

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End of November and beginning of the December was that time of year when I started to come out of my hiding spots. I had to face the fact that Christmas is coming and there will be no hiding from happy. I had plenty of work upcoming that was festive and so I had to embrace it.
One of the proud moments was the tough decision to grab a tripod and travel to Hull City Centre for the Christmas decorations and tree.

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Funny though that I picked the windiest night of all times and all the efforts to have steady images on slow shutter went in a bin.

I don’t think that it is visible with a naked eye, so MISSION COMPLETE.

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The main spectacular was lacking wow factor. Yes.

Another interesting work opportunity was through The Herd Theatre Company in Barnsley – Slime. It was more of a work opportunity than culture haul, but it was inspiring, sweet and full of culture.

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It was a great honour to be asked to capture the pre show promo’s and I had a great time.

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2019 was the year where I had to make an extra effort to gather images for the blog. But those moments when I was out with camera, proved that there will never be enough of Hull for me. The city remains vibrant and full of solid gold people and places.

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The last job of the year was probably my highlight of the festive period. Good Things Market Winter Edition at Fruit Market.

It was everything Hull could want just before Christmas. A collection of talented local artists, craftmakers and genius in on place – offering great food, stunning gifts and Hull merchandise.

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Whilst there I also had an exclusive insight into behind the scenes for the Enchanted Wonderland created by Bluebeany aka Anna Bean. The show featuring performances by Ruth Getz, Zoe Hughes, Michelle Dee, Caroline Ullyart and Joshua Barton. Described as.. “if the Mighty Boosh made a Panto”

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Anna is just amazing! Her talent, her personality and the drive to succeed is inspiring. I am lucky to have been thought by Anna and work with her.
Her shows are becoming iconic to the city and could be something that Hull is known for widely across the country.

Her stamp is all over.

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The last but not least was the casual walks around the Humber Street that cheered me up. Little festive preparations, decorations and Hull sense of humor are things that help people to get into festive spirit, including myself.

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This blog post is a bit of a cheat – it was supposed to see the daylight on the last day of the year, but family circumstances and other factors caused days delay. We can just pretend that we waved goodbye to 2019 yesterday and are looking forward to a bright and shiny new decade.

My year has been a struggle in personal life and so I am thankful for what I still have, of what I managed to achieve and how many people stud by my side when I needed support.

2020 will be a new era for my work and business, I want to expand, change and evolve. I want to once again feel in control of my own life, decisions and career.

This time of year has brought sadness to my family. My grandfather past away on the 30th December and I had to suck up the reality and commit to write the last blog post of 2019 whilst in Latvia. Despite the loss, we as a family are staying grateful and thankful. To be able to take away gratitude from this darkness is a gift. My grandad was a strong character and living to the age of ninety is not a surprise. He was tough. strong, honest and humble. To even think that I could make it to that age with my head held up high like he did…

For the future of this culture blog I will continue to explore and celebrate culture scene in the city, as we still have another year before Coventry officially takes away the glory.

Happy New Year, monkeys.

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HUMBER STREET SESH VS FREEDOM FESTIVAL 2019 ANETE SOODA PHOTO

Well, this is not really about both festivals going against each other – Humber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival share similar qualities, but are completely different. Both share a common quality – it gives Hull the heartbeat once a year and we all look forward to the August and September.

This year I wasn’t fully employed or involved for neither. And it isn’t good or bad, it is just a fact. But I still made small contributions to both festivals and now it is the perfect time to celebrate and say goodbye to crop tops, cold cider in the sunshine and busy streets in the city.

Humber Street Sesh 2019  – Friday

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Freedom Festival 2019 – Saturday + Sunday

 

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MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – PART III

Coming to the dark and wet months is fine, but we all need a bit of sunshine and at least 20 happy minutes each day.  Luckily I have made peace with summer passing and autumn is all welcome. Hull Fair, Bonfire Night, Halloween, Christmas…so many things to look forward to.

I have been delaying this blog post for a while due to personal reasons, and I always thought that the next day will be better than the present one. I learned the hard way that waiting around for the better day is foolish, instead I will make this day better and more suitable for writing RIGHT NOW!

There was also a decision if to separately share Humber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival images – this year neither of them were on my top list for various reasons, but somehow I got a little snipped of both. And my 15% contribution was amazing. Great moments deserve their own spotlight, right?

So a quick list – most of them random and spontaneous: RSPCA Annual Bike Show, Climate Strike in Hull, Turner Price XL Food&Drink Show, Woodmansey Garden Centre haul [or market] where I went to visit Hotham’s Gin, and both festivals [separate post coming soon]. Blimey, it feels like this is the most pathetic list of all times.

So…

When the directions that you are heading to are blurry and not distinct, it is OK to detour slightly. In my case just randomly turn up at the Turner Price XL Food&Drink Show at Bonus Arena. It really was a random choice and I giggle thinking about how it may look – photographer walking around the food and drink stalls, juggling camera, piece of cake, flyers and goody bags. Sure I looked like I am there for freebies, but that wasn’t the story. I literally had no idea what the show will be like and for sure I didn’t prepare myself to taste so many things, get my hand kissed and get totally excited about Harrogate water bottles, oh! and was asked if the Fentimans display has enough botanical references [like I know a thing about display building].

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The highlight was probably the unexpected rage of products for caterers, hotels and cafes, in my case education, and attendance. It was packed full with people representing a business, and of course people who love a freebie. The variety was from actual buyers to browsers, tasters to players.

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And this brings me to the main point – I have totally missed an opportunity to shoot some Dench and Parr style shots. Really gutted. Instead I was fact recording, mainly looking at food [of course].

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Hopefully next year I will be much wiser and embrace the opportunity, because this year I learnt that attendees are too busy browsing, so I will have all the opportunities to shoot some great shots. Maybe that should be my new thing to attend events of this type and create narratives around each?

Speaking of things I have definitely fallen in to a dry period and each day starts with a prayer not too loose everything I worked so hard for.
Hence why these past few months have been so empty with tumbleweed dancing through my creative and professional practice.

When I found out about the annual RSPCA Bike Show, I thought bringing camera can’t do any harm – I never know who will I meet, what will happen at the fundraiser.

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Pride is something that was seeping through every moment. People were the leather with pride, ride the beasts with pride, respect each other, RSPCA workers did their duties with pride, and even the local pear tree thrives with pride. Sweet and positive gathering that more people should talk about.

Another good and vital attendance was the Climate Strike in Hull. The strike in Hull was a small piece of a global puzzle. Tens of thousands of people across the globe united to speak about the climate change issues, shout at the government, raise their concerns and show initiative that we are all ready to change.  I silently hate the system, I hate that I am part of the consumerism society, I hate the greed and ego that runs the parade. At the same time I know I am just a small particle in the big space and the anger is only driving myself crazy.  I felt a little power running through my vanes at the strike, through the lens I joined the energetic young people, wise activists and general public. I believe that the strike was organised by Youth Strike 4 Action Hull, working together with Animal Rebellion Hull, Friends of the Earth Hull, Extinction Rebellion Hull + big thanks to Lauren Saunders for inviting me. 

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Last, but not least was the visit to Woodmansey Garden Centre [famous for its sexy fish tanks and range of ocean fish, corals] market. That Sunday was dull as ever and I really needed a reason to get out of the house. And my new fave gin company Hotham’s Gin promoted their tasty gin, new orange vodka and Gin School under the greenhouse roof. The twitter post was inviting, showing off the tropical vibes of the place.
Hotham’s Gin are run by two really interesting, lovely and hardworking people [Emma and Simon], so it was a pleasure to have a natter and see that things are moving great for them.
I mean, it’s not the culture that I would usually blog about, but there is some culture in local brews and others drinks, so it counts. Another perfect excuse was that the market happens every so often and local craft makers, artists and small business sell their work, promote themselves under palm trees and tropical blooms. So here you go – cracking culture there.

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I will have to try much harder in the following months to keep some value in my work, I know. By the looks of my diary there will be some exciting clients, work up until Christmas and that will be the fuel for culture hauls.

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.

 

HEADS UP FESTIVAL 2019

My initial plans to include Heads Up festival within the future culture post changed after seeing NOW IS TIME TO SAY NOTHING. I really want to tell you the multilayered story of how the installation made me feel and what impact the festival has on people.

NOW IT IS TIME TO SAY NOTHING by Caroline Williams and Reem Karssli is a 60 minute long interactive video installation, that also requires viewers participation.

Reem Karssli is a Syrian film-maker who witnessed Syrian conflict living in Damascus. Caroline suggests to connect with a group of young Londoners via Skype and talk about her life and work. It turns into a four year long collaboration and the end product is a powerful 60 minute long experience. There are no words that I could type here to give justice to the work, it is something to be experienced.

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The idea behind the installation is to question and challenge the armchair passivity. The installation starts with a circle of comfortable armchairs and a small, old fashioned television in front of each chair. The viewer puts on headphones and delve into the armchair for the unknown.

Throughout the installation there are various stages where you are asked to get up and get together with other viewers. Again to challenge a perception of emotional safe space that you save for yourself when most vulnerable.

 

Over the years I have seen a few contemporary art installations, exhibitions, cultural experiences, but never before I felt speechless and emotionally shattered at the end. I needed a few moments to be able to look up and discuss what I have seen, but as soon as the words crossed my lips, tears started choking my throat.

The moment during installation where your hand was inches away from the screen and you felt the static nipping your fingers was the only thing I could imagine visually as a photograph.
The rest was an experience to be felt with every inch of your body, every brain cell.

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My mind was in a state of confusion. The most powerful part was the young niece expressing her hopelessness, interviewed by Reem. I wished at that very moment that I could show that part of footage to the evil that is behind the Syrian conflict. Tie him/her/group of to the chair and make him/her/them watch it over and over again until he/her/they can’t see the screen and hear a word. I was upset and angry.  The other moment that I will not forget was the falling snow and dancing in a circle with myself. I embraced the moment and it took me to my own experiences in the past. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

Over the following days I felt an urge to discuss the installation with others, I wanted to know if others had the same impact. On Saturday before another Heads Up event I met up with Michelle Dee, the writer and freelance journalist who reviews all the shows. The fact that she was also feeling similar was comforting. In her review she wrote:

“I’m tearing up even now recalling the image of a young girl, Reem’s sister I think, carefully folding and refolding a red shirt, packing it away into a suitcase in a cramped bedroom. She is clearly traumatised, she breaks down, her words escaping her mouth faster and faster, until becoming a cry of despair. She says that she would rather die than face the daily, monotonous torture of being trapped inside by the threat of the bombs falling outside.

What can one person do about a war that is happening thousands of miles away? The pillars of democracy in the west are about as stable and secure as the crumbling remains of the bombed buildings in Syria. Now is Not the time to say nothing. ”

You can read the full review and the other Heads Up reviews via link below:
Michelle Dee Review Now Is Time To Say Nothing

 

Today nearly a week after of seeing the installation nothing has changed in my life. I still watch television occasionally from my sofa or bed, I hear news, watch documentaries and allow everything pass quietly as I am too busy to live my own reality. But there is this lingering shame and feeling of helplessness that I am not part of the global concern about the conflicts that happen around the world or social issues in my own community/city.  I question if small actions and good causes can make up for the ignorance? Or if everything is just too big to grasp and I need to focus on my own life and family?

I can definitely say that Now It Is Time To Say Nothing is the most important contemporary art I have ever seen.

Heads Up festival is a very special festival – a mixture of theatre, contemporary art and installations that makes you think, question, imagine and explore. For the third time I had the honours to photograph the events and I am so thankful for the opportunity.
Thanks to E52 team and artists involved for amazing feedback.

 

Here are the highlights from heads Up 2019

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IS HE ON THE LINE..? by British artist Jez Dolan and Icelandic composer Ingibjorg Yr Skarphethinsdottir

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Dean Wilson: East Coast Fever A short film by Dave Lee

Dave Lee The Orchidian

The Orchidian, a monologue written and directed by Dave Lee

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RACE CARDS by Selina Thompson

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THE LAND’S HEAR IS GREATER THAN ITS MAP by Olivia Furber, Ramzi Maqdisi, 9t Antiope and Hannah Mason

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THE PAPER CINEMAS MACBETH

 

Did you had a chance to see any of the events? What are your thoughts?

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 – OCTOBER 2018

Fashionably late on the 6th of November with great pleasure I am writing this. October’s quote would be “you get what you give” or what you put in, so not much. All feelings from annoyed to sad, including the feeling that I have missed all the good, run through my mind today.
I guess that at this stage of my career the reality hits hard and I shouldn’t really be sad that my photography is going so well that I don’t have spare time to wonder around galleries and events. But I can’t help to feel disappointed in myself.

With meeting with ENRG mentor I combined Artist Takeover at Queens House Showcase and on the last day of HIP Festival at HIP Galleries I rushed to Princess Quay. Boom. That’s all. Short and sweet.

Artist Takeover @Queens House Showcase

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This little exhibition space is one of the hidden gems in the city centre and I always want for the space to be filled with culture lovers. Because it is always worth the visit.
This was the second Artist Takeover showcasing local talents in various mediums.
Artist links below, but photos[sorry] not in the right order most likely.

Esther Cawley

Lilly Williams

 

Milly Rose

Sue Feve

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HIP Festival 2018

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Having been part of the Creative and Cultural and HIP Gallery in the past, I have a bit of a love for them. But going on the last day didn’t show the festival at its best. Couple of spaces were closed and a chance to see David Morris talk about his work promised, but not delivered.
On the bright side – I saw the latest work of Peter Dench [I LOVE PETER DENCH] and have a good old chat with the volunteers was pleasant too.

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Peter Dench has taken on the BREXIT and it was like that comfort food on a rainy day.

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Brian Griffin usual [from previous e exhibitions] black&white mixed with amazing colourful photographs that made me stop and look twice. Brilliant!

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Both Open Exhibitions not really to my taste, but I celebrate the fact that local photographers are given the opportunity to showcase their work.

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Last both not least – Buckingham Street monkey business mural that I absolutely love.

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November promises to be just as manic as October, so I have serious concerns about spare time and culture wonders.

However I have a wish list:

  • Hull Comedy Festival 2018 [not officially there, but really want to photograph at least one gig]
  • Portraits at Sea Hull Maritime Museum
  • Usual galleries if I have a chance – Humber Street Gallery, Brynmore Jones [Alec Gil exhibition coming up soon], Queens House Showcase and GROUND.
  • and the things I can’t remember at this moment in time, but are somewhere in my head.

Well, I think there is no denying that I am very distant from this amazing thing I used to do and not really doing now, but it’s not by choice.

Ahhhhhhhh……

MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – SEPTEMBER 2018

SEPTEMBER WAS BONKERS IN ALL KINDS OF MATTERS. END OF BUSY SUMMER SEASON WITH FREEDOM FESTIVAL 2018, CAMPAIGNS I PHOTOGRAPHED, HEADS UP FESTIVAL, MUM VISITING, ME BEING SUPER ILL AND SUPER TIRED, AND TRYING TO CATCH UP WITH THE WORKLOAD FOR A TEAM OF HUNDRED [FOR JUST MYSELF TO DO].

IN THE IDEAL WORLD I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE SEPARATE BLOG POSTS FOR EACH FESTIVAL AND CULTURE WONDERS, BUT EVERYTHING SEEMS LIKE A ONE BIG BOWL OF CULTURE/ART/PERFORMANCE.

FREEDOM FESTIVAL 2018 WAS AMAZING. AMAZING THREE [NEARLY FOUR] DAYS CELEBRATING EQUALITY, LOVE, CULTURE, ART, COMMUNITY, PERFORMANCE AND OF COURSE HULL. THANK YOU TO FESTIVAL FAMILY TO HAVE ME ON BOARD ONCE MORE.

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Hull University My Plastic Pledge Beach Hub created by Drunk Animal Creative Studios

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Modern day Slavery Exhibition

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Hull Freedom Chorus at L’HOMME DEBOUT RISE!

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Crowds watching L’HOMME DEBOUT RISE!

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Freedom Festival Volunteers

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Street Performers

 

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People enjoying L’HOMME DEBOUT RISE!

HEADS UP FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 2018

I have been photographing this festival twice and second time round I came to a conclusion that it is a real privilege to work and enjoy meaningful events that feed your brain with high quality theatre and events.

PALE BLUE DOT

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WHAT IS? COLLECTIVE –  WHAT IS.. EARTH?

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The event was really special. The location and the views just blew away everyone present and the light coming through the skyline windows was magic. The content of the event was refreshing, I certainly felt the irony of the human kind living on the Earth.

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“A What Is? event typically features visual artists, writers, musicians, performers, mysterious sound and lighting and a leap into the unknown.

What is … Earth? To you? For this What Is? we will be taken on a breathtaking and inspiring tour to an exhibition in a secret location that will put you in the perfect position to contemplate this awesome question. The cross-discipline artists of What is? collective have been asking themselves the question and working together to create an experience for you. All art is specially created for the event and location, in response to the theme. The location in unexpected, intimate and we look forward to a fun evening.

A unique experience is guaranteed. Part exhibition, part performance, here’s something that you may never have experienced before. Artists are paired. One creates, one responds. Both reflect on the chosen theme and go on their own journey of self-inquiry and reflection.”

Source: Heads Up Festival website

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UNSEEN BEINGS @NORTH POINT SHOPPING CENTRE

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GROUND CONTROL

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FOREIGN RADICAL by THEATRE CONSPIRACY

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Throughout the month I was working on other photo clients, including Drunk Animal Creative Studios at the British Science Festival, some comedy and CHCP, so it got hot.

I really struggled to find time to go out and shoot some photos for the September culture review, but there was odd moments of inspiration to find time.

There was a moment where I managed to walk through half of the Bankside Gallery down Bankside, which felt like a forbidden walk through the derelict industrial state.

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The image below comes with a story.
Whilst framing the shot, car pulls aside and girl pokes her head out of the car: “THIS IS MY GRAFFITI”. Really made my journey worthwhile.

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On the last day of the month I was heading to Humber Street Gallery for the last day of the exhibition MEASURES OF LIFE and as I was driving past the Old Mill building site/old grounds and there it was – End Of Summer Jam with many, many graffiti artists making the newly fitted walls graffiti-beautiful. I stopped, because I thought its a sign.

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The great, great thing about the event is that it brings wide range of artist together.
I spotted Emma Garness there and it was so lovely to find out more about why she is taking part and what does the collective wall creation means to her.

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The last stop was Humber Street Gallery  MEASURES OF LIFE.

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Humber Street Gallery is reliable to showcase art that will make you think. It can be controversial, but also can be education, often raising awareness of social gunk happening around us, or most of the time making culture experiences exciting!

The exhibition is set on three floors each having interaction with the robots and technologies. There are eight different international artists showcasing multisensory work, exploring our place in the world and the digital footprints we leave.
All artists are runners up or winners of the Lumen Prize for Digital Art.

GROUND FLOOR

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FIRST FLOOR

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SECOND FLOOR

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On the second floor I felt like stepping into someone’s other reality. Especially the bedroom setting, where I found myself a little bit angry with the current obsession of exposing yourself on various social media platforms. As I brought a eleven-year-old girl, who’s becoming a teenager too early, I really felt the damage that social media can do.
It was interesting to watch how Melanija received two messages at the same time – development of technologies and ability to create a bridge between a device and real life objects, and messages spread across the bedroom set.
I don’t think the art can change people’s minds about the social media and technologies, but it certainly will stay in our brains as a possibility….if that makes sense…

 

This month it was work-culture or graffiti, but I still think I did well. I wish to have more and more spare time to be part of the culture scene in Hull, but as the winter is approaching, I hope to have more time to cosy up in galleries.

In October I hope to see the Hull International Photography Festival, new exhibition at Artlink [collaboration with Ground Gallery] and graffiti inspired trip down Preston Road derelict housing for more wall art.

 

HAPPY CULTURE PEOPLE!!
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MY CITY OF CULTURE – MY HULL – AUGUST 2018

Summer is the busiest time of the year for me and I feel like in August I haven’t really engaged with culture in Hull. But then I forget that my photographers job is very cultural and Hull based, so actually I have been in a very centre of culture this month. YAAS QUEEN.

Highlights:

STUDIO ELEVEN: Marie Lofthouse&John Crreighton

TRAENERHUS

DOMINOES HULL by Station House Opera

Yum Food&Drink Festival

NOT SO IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Anna Bean and Sam Fowler @Queens House Showcase

HUMBER STREET SESH 2018 

+ Hull bits

STUDIO ELEVEN: Marie Lofthouse&John Crreighton

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STUDIO ELEVEN is a small space with big potential always having high quality art displayed. Due to its opening times, I don’t often pop in, but this exhibition was worth making effort to come in. John Crreighton is witty and detailed prints draws my eye close in. Marie Lofthouse in contrast to that offers bold, clean shapes that to  my culture-experienced eye [sorry, couldn’t resist] remind me of arms reaching up.

As part of ILLUMINATE PROJECT: LEGACY I went down to TRAENERHUS explore my project aims and subjects, but promised not to miss them on my August Culture review.

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This art space/shop/workshop space is a beautiful celebration of Hull talent in art/crafts and general sustainability of local talented people. To my surprise, the space is loaded with a wide range of gifts, bits’ n’ bobs, framed artwork, postcards…plus it hosts many workshops across the year. Some are tempting to be part of, some interesting to view. I was welcomed with opened arms, the staff is super lovely and friendly.
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One of the weekends in August was ultra busy. I was working for Drunk Animal Creative Studios for ITS NOT TOO LATE CAMPAIGN  Hull University

In between all that I managed to photograph DOMINOES HULL by Station House Opera and Yum Food&Drink Festival

Yum Food&Drink Festival is always a good treat for Hull food lovers. And Saturday was packed busy._Z1A6256ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6260ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6504ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6506ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6516ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6518ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6522ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6524ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6525ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6528ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6534ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6537ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6539ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b_Z1A6743ITSNOTTOOLATESAT b

Special shout out to Atom Beers. Your brews are delicious across the board.

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DOMINOES HULL by Station House Opera was one of those where you really see the sense of the community. The city centre was packed with people, everyone keen to see the long waited fall of the dominoes. Laughs, smiles, cheers and all the good vibes.

I was kind of following the trail of dominoes, but looking at the promo video, I missed quite a bit.
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