Untold- The Summer Exhibition 2015

It always starts with an idea.

The team was assembled, ready and eager to curate the 2015 Summer Exhibition. This included Dani Cook, Ella Baker, Francesca Page, Paige Vernon, and myself, Nicholas Yiannitsaros.

Our first task was clear: we had an exhibition to create, but we didn’t know what we had to exhibit. The Summer Exhibition was ultimately made up of submissions from students based on a theme - a theme we had to come up with.

Having taken a look at some of the past exhibitions, we decided to go for something emotionally evocative as well as visual, something that would grab at the creative core of the audience and rouse some fascinating submissions. The consensus was that the theme should be story based, inspired by the recent spate of revamped fairytales we leaned heavily towards the idea of retelling stories. We settled on the title ‘Untold’, which could include people’s own experiences, secrets, issues of identity, as well as the underlying theme of story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s exactly what we were hoping for.

With the setting up of the exhibition in full swing (at least, with the swing of a hammer),

it began to become clear that the exhibition would be solely picture based aside from an audio recording that provided a very literal interpretation of story telling. Portraiture was a very popular subject and so was devoted to the largest wall space to give them a coherence within the gallery.

The rest of the pictures stood alone as larger, individual pieces. Two particular pieces that were given sole spaces were, firstly, the tribute to female authors by Eleanor Sutherland that explored the issues of anonymity and female identity, and the bright and colourful, fantasy filled painting by Jess Miller which captured the unlimited imagination of stories.

However, there was a spatial emptiness in the gallery. Thus was born a ‘truth tree’ of sorts.

The tangled web of string was ready and waiting, along with a stack of notecards and coloured markers, for people to contribute to the art by writing anonymous confessions, secrets and observations and adding them to the collection.

The theme of the ‘Untold’ was always one that was intensely personal to both creator and viewer, and this was embodied by something that people could engage with, share, and alter by their own experiences.

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