Last year ended with a visit to one of our favourite places, Dulwich Picture Gallery, where we met the director, Ian Dejardin, who told us what was coming up at the gallery in 2015. We then met all the curators of the exciting exhibitions which you can hear about in the video below.
I am particularly interested in the Escher exhibition, being one of the many many students who was taken by his graphic mind bending imagery – I can’t wait to see the originals in the gallery. I’m sure there is something for everyone at the gallery this year including a very unique and interesting challenge…
We recently captured a wonderful performance at Dulwich Picture Gallery that was the culmination of eight weeks work by the twenty strong group of singers and composers.
This interesting group of singers and songwriters were brought together through a collaboration by Dulwich Picture Gallery and English Touring Opera. Inspired by an ETO programme called Turtle Song, the Gallery brought together a group of dementia patients and their carers for a second year. The group were joined by a number of professional musicians and some students from Dulwich College. Together the whole group wrote lyrics and songs inspired by the stunning collection at the Gallery. Watch our video documenting the process to find out more:
This was a particularly moving performance for me as my grandfather suffers from alzheimers and there was a lovely couple involved who reminded me of my grandparents, only, in their case, it is the woman who has dementia. It was so inspiring to watch all of the group sing together and know that dementia was not part of the performance or the process; something to accommodate and understand but never the focus. The focus was on creativity and making something as a group in the present. The final pieces were wonderful and I am still singing some of the songs weeks after the final performance.
We have made a series of five short and digestible videos covering some key elements of this beautifully crafted exhibition. The first video covers one of David Hockney’s earliest print series: The Rake’s Progress, which you can hear more about in this video:
The next four videos will be released throughout the exhibition, which closes on 11 May 2014.
It was a really special opportunity to work on a longer project with two great groups and a very supportive team. We really felt part of the project and developed some wonderful relationships with the participants. It was fantastic to share their final performance with them.
The project involves a group of older people from Blackfriars and a group of young people from Salmon learning a piece of dance repertory with Rambert animateurs.
The first part of the project was a welcome day for everyone at DPG for all the participants to meet and mingle because, for the majority of the project, the groups will learn the dance separately so they can move at their own pace. The day began with some lunch and then everyone got up and started moving around, saying hello to one another and playing some ice breaker games which culminated in getting into pairs and discussing families. Then sharing what had been learned about each other’s families with the whole group.
The participants took a very quick break before starting to look at some of the repotory that Rambert will be working on with them throughout the project. It was a really lively section of dance so it was great that the older people were able to dip in and out of the dance but also very encouraging to see how determined some were to get through the whole routine… and some just danced to their own rhythm – which was amazing!
Then the participants split into two mixed age groups and went on a tour of the Gallery where they learnt about the the Linbury Family through a number of portraits that are some of the first to greet you as you enter the gallery. The Linbury Sisters is a Gainsborough painting and, for me, one of the most iconic images from the gallery and certainly the image I tend to think of when I think of the gallery.
Then we looked at Le Triomphe de David, depicting David’s victory over Goliath.
We didn’t just look at these pics but had a wonderful guided tour from Phillipa who really encouraged the participants to explore and investigate even the most secondary characters in these images; exploring the body shapes, relationships, drama, dance and family relationships that they revealed.
After the tour we chatted, on camera, to some very enthusiastic participants, older people and children, who were very excited to be part of a new way of investigating the Gallery’s collection. Maureen, a regular visitor to DPG, was very familiar with the Gallery and had previously danced with an African dance troupe in Peckham. Young Miracle had visited the Gallery with her school and then brought her mother back with her to visit the gallery before joining this project for another chance to spend time in the gallery and work with its historic collection.
I also spoke to Liz, a retired professional tap dancer, who, despite having problems with her knees, was enthusiastic and very inspirational; absolutely ready to give it all a go!
It was a packed afternoon all finished off with tea and cakes where I got to chat to some of the children who really enjoyed the gift shop. I also spoke with Jeanie, who had been a Ballroom enthusiast in her younger days, as well as rock n roll Aidan, who I had seen dancing to his own beat earlier in the workshop!
We were made to really feel part of the team working on this project with Blackfriar Settlement, Salmon Youth Centre, Megan Taylor – our great photography mate, Rambert and of course the lynch pins, Michelle and Aimee, from Dulwich Picture Gallery. We’re really looking forward to joining the groups at their rehearsals which start next week.
The Horniman Youth Panel presented a day of activities for young people and families on a Brazilian or Amazonian theme to coincide with the opening of the new Amazon Adventure exhibition.
There was a whole host of activities on and this video is edited to the music of the BossaRockers who performed three sets in the main Gallery Square area of the museum. Visitors and Staff alike seemed to be enjoying their music filling the spaces between the galleries and bringing an upbeat but relaxed atmosphere to the day.
For familes with young children the highlights seemed to be the face painting which was handled by members of the youth panel. But it wasn’t just the children getting their faces painted.
In the same room there was an opportunity for children to decorate or draw an Amazonian animal and add it to the giant poster that stretched across the whole room. Lot’s of very focused young artists contributed to the finished frieze.
One of the things that really caught the imagination of the young people though seemed to be the photobox that was set up in the Hands on gallery.
Some Amazon themed props – as well as some cowboy hats and fezes – were available for posing in and with. It looked so much fun we couldn’t really resist it ourselves!
The most exciting/repulsive/hilarious/stomach turning part of the day waz the Comamos Insectos activity that pitted contenders against their taste buds to eat a number of disgusting flies, bugs, worms, larvae, grasshoppers and even scorpions!
There was a lot of bravado and a lot of genuine courage. I was so grateful I could refuse on the grounds of vegetarianism cos there nothing that looked appealing on that menu!
A really vibrant day that was especially impressive as it was organised and run by the Youth Panel Members themselves!