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#WindowGalleries

07/01/2022

The #WindowGalleries is an exciting project that creates innovative exhibitions in windows along Friars Entry in Oxford. It is a collaboration between Fusion Arts and the Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels that aims to connect and support Oxford’s communities, creating a lively space for the public to experience inspiring work by local artists. Rejuvenating the area in this manner helps bring vibrancy and intrigue to the otherwise empty windows that so many people pass by each day - now a fun way to engage with new art!

#WindowGalleries kicked off in October 2020 with an exhibition showcasing the work of six local creatives, whose pieces ranged from drawings and paintings to ceramics and sculpture. It picked up again during the summer of 2021 and plans to continue this year. Click the sections below to find out about the #WindowGalleries exhibitions.

Exhibitions

This exhibition was part of the series A History of Ordinary People in Africa (HOPIA), a cultural heritage project undertaken by the Oxford University Africa Society. This display of informative and inspiring posters invited viewers to learn more about the social experience of everyday life throughout Africa and the histories of ordinary people from across the continent.

The HOPIA project focusses on oral histories, historical artefacts and photographs to project into the past, centring on women and the underrepresented and spotlighting their resistance, activism, preservation of traditions, innovations, creativity and contribution towards positive change. You can delve deeper into these stories on the HOPIA project webpage.

In May 2022, Oxford based artist and educator Juliet Henderson brought us Girlhood, Memory and the Gaze, a series of contemporary oil paintings exploring notions of femininity, the sexualised gaze and tender memories among other themes. In her paintings of girlhood, Henderson explored how depictions of younger or older girl figures transform memory into paintings that celebrate moments that are joyful, mundane, and difficult. Read more here.

After exhibiting in a virtual show with the Turner Contemporary, artist-photographer Daniel Ginsburg brought his mesmerising exhibition, Under Everything, to Oxford for us to see in person in April 2022.

His work took viewers on a journey in text and image through a familiar urban landscape in pursuit of a reconnection with the natural world through a collection of photographic portraits looking at the interplay between the natural and the urban world. You can discover more about Ginsburg's work in this article.

This exhibition of banners made from recycled materials was brought to us through a collaboration between activist and artist Siân Klein and Green Arts Oxfordshire Network.

The banners displayed in this exhibition were made during Marmalade in April 2022 in a banner making workshop which involved using recycled plastic carrier bags to create collage-style art with heat-pressing techniques. They show the creative responses to words and phrases from the conversations on sustainability and the climate crisis that took place during the event. Learn more about Art Can Save the World here.

94,000 Mexicans to be Found is a reproducible statement artwork responding to the disappearance crisis in Mexico shown in the #WindowGalleries in April 2022. When first displayed at the Glass Tank Gallery in 2016, the work was titled 27,000 Mexicans to be Found, showing us the shocking developments made in this story over just 6 years.

As Cordova explained, "More than 94,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, most of them since 2006. It’s the worst crisis of the disappeared in Latin America since the Cold War." Read more about the artwork in this article.

Life is Art is Life is the title of a collection of contemporary ceramic work created by Oxford-based artist Aiden Canaday exhibited in April 2022.

Canaday's exhibition showcased vases, planters and plates portraying crying figures, proclamations of love, playful poetry and protests. His work not only gave #WindowGalleries visitors an insight into who he is as an individual but also to aspects of community and the goodness in humanity. Find out more about Canaday's hand built vessels, using both stoneware and earthenware clays and a variety of decorative techniques, here.

This powerhouse exhibition first opened in July 2021 at the J/M Gallery in Notting Hill, London and featured the work of nine artists. The exhibition’s success inspired curator Sukai Eccleston to orchestrate a touring exhibition around the UK and the third edition of the show, produced and curated by CasildART to celebrate Black women’s creative expression, arrived in Oxford for International Women’s Day in March 2022.

Some of Us Are Brave explored themes of the feminine, form and function in the work of a group of Black female artists and grappled with the political, historical, social and aesthetic implications of making art as a Black woman. The show featured the work of 15 emergent artists including Bryony Benge Abbott, Helena Appio, Bokani, Denise Williams, and Hannah Uzor from the original show, alongside innovative talents Michelle Ayovara, Kedisha Coakley, Yvadney Davis, Patricia Gaudron, Francilla Seaton, Akeisha Walters, Roxanne Williams, Diana Rosa, Gayle Hall and Bola Obatuyi. Read more about the exhibition here.

In February 2022, the #WindowGalleries welcomed a contemporary collection of work by local artist teacher Carolyn Hall exploring her identity, culture and Dutch-Indonesian heritage by repurposing inherited belongings.

In this exhibition Hall, who studied Fashion and has worked internationally as a designer, used fabric, clay, and objects and fragments left behind by her ancestors to piece together stories and preserve memories inspired by the recordings her mother made for the BBC War Archives about her experiences as a child in occupied Indonesia during World War II. Read more here.

In December 2021, we launched an exciting new poetry exhibition by writer and African School founder Natty Mark Samuels. The exhibition, entitled Chant of the Firefly, presents nine unique poems penned by Natty, each in celebration of African and Caribbean folklore. The poems introduced #WindowGalleries visitors to some of the smaller and larger characters of African and Caribbean folklore (literally), including the Nunu, who are the little people of Zulu folklore with the largest of hearts, and Dodo, the bogeyman monster of Hausa folklore.

The work took readers on a spectacular journey, transported to different regions through the introduction of characters created by the ancient peoples of sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. The exhibition title piece, Chant of the Firefly, remembers the African and Caribbean ancestors who first introduced these figures. In the Dominican Republic, ancestors are represented by these brightly lit beetles; “watching over us; firefly, firefly, whether we laugh or cry”.

Read a press article on the exhibition here.

Eiko Soga is an artist and researcher whose work revolves around the idea of 'making' as a mode of ethnographic research. She is interested in storytelling and small scale everyday processes that are linked to wider cultural phenomena and development, and the value systems that inform our ideas.

In November 2021 Fusion Arts partnered with TORCH to deliver two installations by Soga as part of TORCH's Humanities Cultural Programme: Japan Season. The two installations were entitled: More-Than-Human World, in the #WindowGalleries and My Neighbour's Meal, at 95 Gloucester Green. A third installation was also held at the Pitt Rivers Museum entitled Autumn Salmon.

The exhibitions combined video projections, photography, poetry and ethnography to explore the value system of the Ainu population, the indigenous people of the Japanese and Russian owned lands that surround the Sea of Okhotsk. These works stem therefore from Soga's own time and research spent living with Ainu communities in Hokkaido, Japan, that act as the core of her thinking and process. For instance, in My Neighbour's Meal, Soga focused on the food and cooking traditions and practises of the Ainu people.

Read more about the exhibitions here.

One Cell At A Time was a national project that brought together thirteen commissioned artworks and creative learning projects that are inspired by the work of the Human Cell Atlas. The HCA is a global scientific research initiative that aims to map every cell type in the human body as a basis for both understanding human health and for diagnosing, monitoring and treating disease.

In Oxford, we worked with artist duo boredomresearch to deliver workshops for students at Activate Learning's City of Oxford College and EMBS Sixth Form College using bespoke software that simulates a gamified version of an immune response known as a cytokine storm.

Building on this concept we then worked with boredomresearch to produce Call of the Silent Cell, an experimental short film of cellular behaviour exploring the interplay between the gut microbiome, the immune system and wider concerns of human and environmental health.

In celebration of the launch of the One Cell At A Time online exhibition, Call of the Silent Cell was projected in one of the #WindowGalleries windows every evening between 28 October and 30 November 2021. The film also debuted at our multi-purpose creative space 95 Gloucester Green with a Q&A session with the artists.

Read more about One Cell At A Time here.

The Only Way is Wessex was a group exhibition curated by Wessex Projects and displayed in the #WindowGalleries during August and September 2021.

The Only Way is Wessex featured pieces that respond to the ancient earthworks of the North Wessex Downs and its sites of continual ritual. The North Wessex Downs is an ancient area of chalk downs located across Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. Its ridge, known as the Ridgeway, has been walked continuously since prehistoric times. Sites of ritual in the downs include stone circles, chalk drawings, standing stones and tumuli.

The show exhibited work from a range of work by local creatives, including pieces by sustainable jewellery maker “i like the way she…”, artist and stone circle maker Jonny Bayes, artist Kate Kessling, artist Mark Mindel and film production company Jackdaw.

Alongside The Only Way is Wessex, artist Charlotte Grocutt exhibited work in a show entitled I’D RATHER BE IN BENIDORM in an adjacent Window Gallery panel. This show humorously responds to the not so great British summer holiday with a new series of historical plates.

Read more about the exhibitions here.

In August 2021, we kicked off our #WindowGalleries programme with an exhibition by Blackbird Leys based artist Nadine Nabawanuka Williams, also known as Nabawanuka Creations.

This solo show by Nadine was presented in collaboration with the African School and featured a vibrant range of art including paintings, collages and writing that highlighted and celebrated pan-African heritage, diaspora and stories. Embracing a range of motifs and figures from different pan-African cultures, her work honours those from both wider African continent as well as members of the African diaspora. The work combined elements of African and Western art, bridging the gap between art and craft.

Find out more about this exhibition here.

Love Your Plane is a design studio run by artist Josh Rose and in 2020 he partnered with Fusion Arts to organise a group #WindowGalleries show that exhibited the work of six local artists.

"By curating a series of mini galleries we aim to support the artists, inspire a wider audience who may not be traditional art viewers, increase positive interest in the arts and provide an attraction and footfall in this particular area."
- Josh Rose

About the Artists:

Kleiner Shames' work is rooted in his early experimentations with graffiti. Now working with painting, he experiments with form and colour, continuously developing new forms.

Daniel McNaboe's work revolves around his fascination with his own family history. His window was entitled Return to an innocence lost and was composed of drawings and old photographs of his grandparents' time in the years leading up to World War II.

Katya Mora's work explores processes of artistic creation that are connected to transformations we might see in nature. Interested in cycles of change in both within the natural world and those internal to human nature itself.

Jordi Raga's practise stems from his interest in architecture and looks into how we can understand the relationship between sculpture and space in novel ways. Currently his work is focused on the intersection between Art, Nature and Architecture.

Ryan Orme's works is interested in exploring the relationship between people and space, how this relationship differs across cultures, and how each, every new place, has its own model of existence in this regard.

You can read a full press release on the exhibition here or find out more about the artists and their work on our Instagram stories.

View #WindowGalleries exhibition images:

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Supporters of Fusion Arts

Oxford City Council Arts Council England National Lottery Funded Project Grant National Lottery Community Fund Oxfordshire Community Foundation Here for Culture Doris Field Charitable Trust BBC Children in Need