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.
Local artist teacher Carolyn Hall presents a contemporary collection of work that explores her identity, culture and Dutch-Indonesian heritage by repurposing inherited belongings in a new exhibition that will be running 13 - 26th February 2022.
In this new exhibition Hall, who studied Fashion and has worked internationally as a designer, uses 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, which is 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.
View #WindowGalleries exhibition images:
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