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Well-being at the heart of new Contemporary Arts programme ‘Beyond BAS9’

Thursday 30 September 2021

Healing Tool: Hugging Machine Sculpture by Carly Seller, Paradigm Exhibition
Well-being and nurture are at the heart of a new contemporary arts programme, ‘Beyond BAS9’, that launches in Aberdeen on Friday 1 October, to celebrate the landmark British Art Show 9’s visit to the city.

As part of the celebrations, an ambitious new art exhibition, ‘Paradigms’ curated by Gray’s School of Art graduate, Rachel Grant of Fertile Grant, showcases the work from emerging artists working in Aberdeen and Plymouth, the first and last cities to host the UK tour of British Art Show 9. 

Visitors can experience the ‘Healing Tool: Hugging Machine’, a soft sculpture made from silk dyed with foraged plants and an accompanying soundtrack. The display from artist Carly Seller from Plymouth uses performance and photographic images to explore how our bodies relate to space, feelings and sensations.    

The ‘Paradigms’ exhibition runs from 1st to the 30th of October in the Look Again Project Space on St.Andrews Street and will feature a range of mediums including film, photography, sculpture, as well as multimedia projects.

Curator of ‘Paradigms’, Rachel Grant said: “I’m looking forward to bringing together a thought-provoking programme of work from a number of emerging artists from the north-east and Plymouth. I can’t wait to showcase the quality of thinking and practice we have up here and it’s great to see there’s real appetite for this kind of project.

“It’s an exciting opportunity but more importantly it’s an opportunity to ask questions; The British Art Show 9 has been framed as a significant event for the sector but for whom? How Long? And under what terms? These are questions that are unanswered. Part of the public programme Where do we go from here? responds to this and offers a series of conversational events by and for those working in the sector. The events will be used as a space to gather around issues of diversity, support and politics within the arts. We will also invite contributions on the current conditions and future possibilities for those cultural workers based in Aberdeen.”

The Paradigms exhibition has been made possible with £10,000 funding from Creative Scotland and with the support of Gray’s School of Art’s creative unit, Look Again and the team at Aberdeen Art Gallery. They have worked with the exhibition organisers, Hayward Gallery Touring, to bring BAS9 to the city for the first time, with support from Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland.

Sally Reaper, Co-director from the Look Again Project, said: “Beyond BAS9 is so important for the contemporary arts in the region and offers members of the public a really imaginative line up of events. We want to build on the success of the British Art Show BAS9’s visit to Aberdeen and to explore the potential for the arts in the region. This is a good opportunity to stimulate more projects in the future and to bring the contemporary arts community in the north-east together.”

Elsewhere in the Beyond BAS9 programme, an exhibition called ‘Tactics for Togetherness’ explores the impact of Covid restrictions and ideas of being together through the work of four practicing artists based in Aberdeen and three invited guests who are alumni from Robert Gordon University.  The exhibition launches on Sunday 3 October, 2 – 4pm at 123 George Street and runs until the end of October.  

As part of the ‘Tactics for Togetherness’ exhibition, visitors have the chance to examine society’s ability to stay connected to the people they love, even if separated from them physically. Artist Mae Diansangu delves into memory and explores how we preserve connections across time and space through her work ‘Namesake’.   

Artist Carmen Wong invites members of the audience to daydream for a more loving and equitable world in her interactive session, ‘Dream Loops’ facilitated by arts practitioner, Angela Main.

Another artist featuring at the ‘Tactics for Togetherness’ exhibition, is Gray’s School of Art graduate, Natalie Kerr who explores friendships, old and new. Within her work, Natalie revisits communities who have kept her connected to Aberdeen and examines how people maintain long distance friendships, particularly during challenging times such as Covid.

The theme, ‘Tactics for Togetherness’ comes from the curators of the British Art Show, BAS9, Irene Ariztizabal from Baltic, Gateshead and Hammad Nasar at Decolonising Arts Institute, University of Arts London. They forged the themes ‘tactics for togetherness’, ‘imagining new futures’ and ‘healing, care and reparative history’ for BAS 9.

Elsewhere in the ‘Beyond BAS9’ celebrations, a creative workshop will be delivered by the Creative Scotland Create Network, set up by Gray’s School of Art’s Creative Unit, Look Again.  The ‘Create Networks Sharing’ workshop will bring the creative sector together and shine a light on the support available for the creative sector despite the challenges of Covid-19.   

This online workshop will feature a number of guest speakers including Jo Gilbert of Aberdeen Writers Workshop, Lynne Hocking Mennie of Applied Arts Scotland and Carol Dunbar of Solisquoy Printmakers in Orkney. The event takes place on Friday 1 October between 2 – 4pm via zoom and is also available in the learning space at Aberdeen Gallery.   

A full programme of events for the Beyond BAS9 festival can be found at:

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