Private View on Friday 11 October, 2013 at 7pm
Exhibition Dates: 11-19 October 2013,
Opening Times: Monday – Friday 11:00 – 19:30, Saturday & Sunday 11:00 – 16:00
Sofia Gallery, BCI London, Bulgarian Embassy
188 Queen’s Gate Kensington London SW7 5HL, Phone: +44 (0) 207 591 0179
The exhibition, Home: Contemporary Female Masters, portrays women’s experience of choosing to migrate and build a home in a foreign country. This relatively new social phenomenon is examined in depth by seven mid career international women artists with strong links to Europe, the Middle East, America and Africa. They explore their experience of establishing themselves and building the elements of what they perceive as ‘home’ wherever they are in the world.
Following my exhibition Power and Passion last year, the Bulgarian Cultural Institute (BCI) in London invited me to return for a solo show this October.
While this was an attractive proposition, I felt it was also a great opportunity to curate a group exhibition of international women artists with links to the UK, and with a theme which is very close to my heart – Home. The Director of BCI, Svetla Dionissieva, was extremely supportive of the idea and so Home: Contemporary Female Masters was born.
But why did I, an artist with an offer of a solo exhibition at a respected government institution, decide to put my curatorial hat on instead and share the accolades with a number of other artists?
On a personal level, I felt that a group exhibition on the theme of home and migration would provide multifaceted viewpoints and cultural references and therefore a much more powerful experience to the viewer than a similarly themed solo show. To read more about my personal reasons of picking the theme of HOME, check out the Exhibition Concept and my Intro.
On a practical level, my experience working in multimedia design had taught me the great value of being able to understand first hand the tasks of every team member involved in a project. And bringing an engaging exhibition to life requires a fairly large team effort at the best of times. In the case of art exhibitions this would be, of course the artists who will show their work, the gallery which will host the exhibition, the people who provide the marketing and PR support, the art critics, who will find the right language to communicate the ideas and background of the show to the public and last but certainly not least, the curator. In fact, the curator is not only the person who will decide where a particular artwork is hung, he or she is often the person behind the initial idea. Without the curator, many exhibitions simply wouldn’t be.
An independent curator is someone who will create the exhibition concept, view countless portfolios to select the artists with the most appropriate work for this specific idea, find and secure a suitable gallery space to host the show and organise many of the other practical details. And then they will also physically curate the show.
For me curating this exhibition means acquiring an in depth knowledge of how the curator works. I’ve learnt about the countless details that need coordinating, the selection process and the unexpected problems (one of the artists whose work I love sadly had to drop out fairly late in the process due to personal circumstances and the fact that I had to decide, and it was a hard decision, not to wait and see if she can make it in the end but plan ahead without her), communicating with the venue and artists, writing concise texts (not my favourite way to kill time), working on a press release – and I’m so lucky to have the support of Claire Cohen from Inspire PR, whom I also count among my collectors! Finding the right person to open the show. The list goes on.
All in all, I feel this experience will help me hugely in the future, when I’ll take part as an artist in exhibitions curated by other people. I will know how it feels to be in their shoes.