Friday, 8 June 2018

An Day Of Generosity & Hospitality At Its Best

Back in May, a new small collective made up of artists and thinkers; Duncan Wooldridge, Steffi Klenz and myself draw upon ideas and launched our inaugural programme of Talks and Events during Photo London, at the fringe festival, Peckham 24.   

In contrast to traditional talks events, the programme had been composed not of generic or monolithic talks, but discursive events based around hospitality, dialogue and debate. Intended for both contemporary producers, young artists and photographers, a key theme of the programme was its focus upon generosity and support: acknowledging and emphasising the necessity of forms of exchange and community which resist the tendency towards an atomised and individualistic culture. 

Our new programme kicked off on Saturday 19 May with a shared lunch that brought artists, thinkers, parents and children together in a non-hierarchal environment that blurred the boundaries of the unattainable and promoted organic growth with like-minded conversations. Children nibbled at bits of torn bread, parents whispered over wine, artists and thinkers exchanged stories. A warmth waved through the room, setting the scene.

With each new talk, conversations blossomed, communities grew and a shared vision appeared through the usually cloaked vail. A true sense of sharing, opportunity, transparency and honesty filled the room minute by minute. Thinkers spoke of stories, tales of an utopian dreams they believed could be reached. Artists inspired audiences with wit, humour and honesty, provoking important questions about contemporary culture and the need to stop, listen, pause and participate. With each artist a new vision, a peak into their world, their mind.

The finale of our first programme was a special invited dinner, bringing together a selection of emerging artists, into contact with curators, publishers and supporters of the arts who are notable for their generosity and support of emerging practice. Photography courses across the country were invited to nominate a recent graduate – who has not yet received the acknowledgement their work merits – to join the dinner and food was prepared by Leo and Scott, an emerging South London caterers who prepared a special menu that encouraged exchange, interaction through a selection of sharing platters. 

The concluding dinner encapsulated all of our hopes and dreams of what our first programme could achieve. The gallery was filled with joy, laughter, positivity and generosity as friends, colleagues and new emerging artists shared dinner and drinks over many hours. The conversations flowed like the wine and collectives grew over the course of the evening as like-minded individuals connected. Very importantly, a huge thank you to Mr David Solo, for believing in our vision and supporting our first programme, without his generosity it could not have been realised to what we had envisioned - our deepest thanks to him. 

It was an absolutely wonderful experience to see all the fruits of our labour play out with so much warmth, we can not wait until our next programme launches next year...more to come shortly!

Images from the event are from Alumni Student Lara @ Camberwell College of Arts. 

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