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14 Mar

A Creative Collaboration

Cultural Diplomacy, Exhibitions, Interview
The Team at China Red

Our latest exhibition, the Channel Islands Contemporary Art Show, opened to the public on Friday 8th March and we were delighted to welcome so many visitors over the weekend.  This diverse exhibition features 19 carefully selected artists and was drawn from an open call to Channel Islands and international artists early last year. It is produced and curated by Art for Guernsey and ArtHouse Jersey, in association with Les Champs Libres in Rennes.

The exhibition was shown in Jersey from mid-January until late February. Once it closed, Katherine Wood, Gallery and Events Manager of ArtHouse Jersey, came to Guernsey with her colleagues Rob and JP to deliver the artworks to the gallery. Ahead of our opening, we wanted to hear all about the show in our sister isle, and how the experience of collaborating has been for our Jersey counterparts.

Katherine, you’ve been involved with this project from the very beginning. How has it been for you?
It’s been a real treat to work with other arts organisations and to see the project from its initial genesis. Seeing the applications, the connections to the islands and the ideas they’ve had, and making connections between Jersey and Guernsey, has been wonderful. There’s a real wealth of talent and ideas, and it’s been exciting working with you guys. It’s also been lovely to see the connections that have sprung up between different artists, like Paul Chambers and Jason Butler who have a similar approach to things, and Mark Toft and Notta Caflisch, who were both looking at the cod-fishing industry.

How was the show received in Jersey?
It’s been such a positive show; we’ve had about 1,400 visitors and it was our biggest launch ever. I also noticed that the length of time people spent engaging with the work was longer than usual, and the consistency of them saying how pleased they were to see a connection between Jersey and Guernsey, and why doesn’t this happen more often? It’s opened people’s eyes to what’s close to us, especially as it’s such a varied selection of work. We have audio and film installations, some textiles, and the wall-based pieces are all incredibly different. There’s something for everybody and it’s amazing.

How do you think the show will work in the Art for Guernsey Gallery?
I’m so excited to see how you guys curate it – seeing how it looks in a whole different space, that’s the gold really. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few shows in this space and I just love it; you’re able to do so much with all the various areas and nooks, they lend themselves to
different styles of work and I think it’s going to be stunning.

Are there any particular highlights for you?
I always feel bad picking a favourite work, it’s like picking your favourite child! I wouldn’t have necessarily said I was a photography fan before this, but a lot of the photography pieces are my favourites. I just adore Paul Chambers’ pieces, and Tim Le Breuilly has some gorgeous prints too. I love Connor Daly’s photography, and I saw Aaron Yeandle’s work on my computer but when you actually see them they come to life, they’re almost holographic – everyone just stopped and marvelled at them. And they had such a similarity to the feel of Jersey, even though they were shot in Guernsey; and people felt a connection with Charlie Buchanan’s paintings of greenhouses too. It can sometimes feel like they’re very different islands but actually there are all these common threads running through the works.

It sounds like a really unifying project.
It definitely is. Sadly we don’t do enough between us, and from a cultural diplomacy point of view, using art as a stepping stone is really positive. The ArtHouse Jersey team has loved working with the Art for Guernsey team, and I hope this show is the start of exciting things to come.

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