Northern Lights Ambassadors - a group of 13-25 year olds from Shetland - have been working since September on a creative project inspired by the work of world-famous photojournalist Don McCullin. Funded as part of the ARTIST ROOMS On Tour programme with the support of Arts Council England, the Art Fund and Creative Scotland, the ambassadors’ work will be shown in alongside the ARTIST ROOMS exhibition of work by Don McCullin that opens at Bonhoga Gallery and Shetland Museum and Archives on 29th November 2014.
To add to an already fantastic opportunity, 13 of the ambassadors will be travelling to London from 25-27 November to meet with Don McCullin, to show him the work they have created and attend the opening of his exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography at Tate Modern. This will be a unique experience for the ambassadors, made possible through the generous project funding. Several of the group have never been to London.
The learning project is being managed in the run-up to the exhibition, as a partnership betwee n Shetland Arts and Shetland Museum and Archives. Jane Matthews of Shetland Arts said, “To meet with arguably one of the most famous photographers of the 20th century is a huge privilege for these young people and a fantastic way to acknowledge the huge amount of work and enthusiasm that the whole group has put in to the project. I am so proud of them and hope they enjoy their trip.”
Over the past three months the 17 ambassadors have been working in groups, each with a specialist mentor in film-making, photography and singer-songwriting, creating work that aims to engage new audiences with the work of McCullin. Drawing on his life, career and his huge catalogue of work, the ambassadors have made connections with their own environment and their experiences growing up in Shetland to create short films, photo-essays, song lyrics and music.
One young ambassador Elise Smith (14) from Aith explains, “I feel very fortunate to be brought up in Shetland where we have a lot of freedom as well as a rich heritage of music. That was what first attracted me to the young ambassador project as I enjoy a wide variety of music… I like art and being creative and believe that pictures capture not just the events but also people’s stories and that’s what really makes them interesting. This project is a great opportunity to meet and work with young people from the length and breadth of Shetland. I feel lucky to be part of it. We make a great team!”
The ambassadors’ work will be exhibited at Shetland Museum and Archives from 29th November to 22nd February 2015 alongside Fallen, the exhibition of work by Don McCullin. Fallen will be spread over two venues: Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick and Bonhoga Gallery in Weisdale and will be the first time this work by McCullin has been exhibited as part of the national ARTIST ROOMS programme. Funding has also been provided for a free bus between venues every Saturday morning for the duration of the show.
The works to be displayed are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and The National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d'Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its sixth year, is showing at 18 museums and galleries across the UK in 2014. The tour is made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England, the Art Fund, and in Scotland, Creative Scotland.
To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour please visit www.artfund.org/artistrooms