Speakers Selection – Group Exhibition
07/10/23 – 31/12/23
A selection of works from the Northern Eye Festival speakers, exhibited in the main Oriel Colwyn gallery.
JILLIAN EDELSTEIN – TRUTH AND LIES
Stories from The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.
“Can you combine justice with forgiveness?” – In April 1996 an extraordinary process began in South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, under its chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu, held its first public hearings to investigate over thirty years of human rights violations under apartheid. The Commission had been founded in the belief that truth was the only means by which the people of South Africa could come to a common understanding of their past, and that this understanding was necessary if the country was to forge a new national identity in the future. In the first two years more than 20,000 victims made statements to the commissioners and, encouraged by the possibility of amnesty, some 7,000 perpetrators came forward to confess their crimes.” This work tells some of their stories. It is unique in that it puts faces to the personal testimonies of both victims and perpetrators. In the most direct way it documents one of the most important experiments in democratic justice attempted in the 20th century.
DANIEL MEADOWS – FACTORY RECORDS 1979-1980
From 1978 to 1980, Daniel Meadows worked for Granada TV in Manchester, first as a local programmes researcher and later also as an occasional presenter on the regional arts review programme Celebration; all the while keeping alive his photographic practice.
“One of my TV colleagues was Granada Reports presenter Tony Wilson who, at that time, was busy setting up Factory Records with Alan Erasmus. While working for What’s On — Celebration’s predecessor in the arts slot — I photographed a Factory Night in Hulme, hosted by Tony Wilson and Russell Club promoter Alan Wise, which featured Buzzcocks and John Cooper Clarke. Tony liked what I did and began inviting me along to gigs and recording sessions to take more photographs of his artists and bands: Ian Curtis and Bernard Sumner of Joy Division, Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio.”
“On Tuesday 8 January 1980 I photographed Joy Division’s session with producer Martin Hannett at Pennine Sound Studio in Oldham where they recorded an early version of Love Will Tear Us Apart (later used on the B-side of the 7″ single FAC 23).”
“I also photographed Joy Division on stage at the New Osbourne Club in Miles Platting, a gig where Jon Savage — who later became famous for his writing, broadcasting and music journalism, in particular his 1991 book England’s Dreaming, Sex Pistols and Punk Rock — was DJing.”
JANE HILTON – DRAG QUEEN COWBOYS
This ongoing project which Jane Hilton was working on before lockdown (2020), was short-listed for the Sony World Photography Awards 2021. These incredible performers collaborated with Jane to make a series of portraits. Inspired by Hollywood’s portrayal of the Western genre, and ‘The Misfits’ (1961) written by Arthur Miller, starring Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable.
This series juxtaposes the romanticism of the West and its rugged cowboys, with its displacement of characters seen in this film. After a bit of persuasion these artists bravely stepped away from their natural habitat of clubs and bars, into the natural light of the American West. All shot on a 5×4 plate camera with black and white film, and no re-touching. It was a leap of faith…
JANE HILTON – DEAD EAGLE TRAIL
A series of cowboy portraits from the ‘buckaroos’ of Nevada to the ‘cowpunchers’ of Arizona.
Jane Hiltons first visit to North America was to Arizona in 1988. The enormous wide-open spaces, desert highways, and vast skies were the biggest contrast she had ever experienced to growing up in suburban England. This, combined with the warm memories of spending Sunday afternoons watching westerns with her father has contributed to Hiltons affection for the wild west. Dead Eagle Trail is a culmination of numerous road trips Jane Hilton has taken across the States whilst documenting the American culture. Cowboys are photographed in their own homes, surrounded by western artifacts. The need to hold onto their heritage is clearly visible.
AYESHA JONES – WHERE DO YOU COME FROM? / MOTHERLAND
Where do you come from? – Is a project that has been inspired by Ayesha’s experiences as a young woman born in England to a white father (Welsh heritage) and a black mother (Caribbean heritage).
Being asked to explain where she comes from, on a regular basis (due to her brown tones) has led Ayesha to ask that question a bit deeper and attempt to uncover the hidden stories in my own heritage.
“Exploring my own family history has shown me how connected we all are to each other. If we go back far enough, we probably all come from the same place, at some point in time!”
‘Where Do You Come From’ is a project that documents the process of reconnecting to Ayesha’s roots. “I take a look back at the routes my ancestors took. I also document my own experiences so that my decedents can appreciate how they came to be (wherever that may be) and understand where they came from too.”
“To move in the right direction, you must have an understanding of where you are coming from and where you are going towards.”
Motherland – “Leading on from my project ‘Where Do You Come From’, Motherland documents mine and my mother’s experiences visiting West Africa, as we attempt to reconnect even deeper with my maternal lineage.”
“I also ended up living in Ouagadougou for over a year and having my first child, before returning to the UK in December 2017. Images were captured over the course of three years, as we were being initiated into Dogon philosophies and experiencing traditional rituals.”
“Using photography, Motherland explores themes around black female identity, dual heritage identity, ritual abuse, well-being, belonging, animism, and motherhood.”
“I travel to the motherland and back again, only to realise that belonging is a state of mind and not a physical location or social group.”