We Out Here at Hastings Contemporary

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We Out Here (WOH) is a ground-breaking exhibition showcasing the work of six Black artists of Caribbean heritage based in Hastings.

WOH artists will be creating new culturally specific artworks and collaborating to produce a distinctive, large-scale, multi-media show. Working in different mediums, the themes they will explore include migration, Black lives in coastal towns, relationships with the sea, climate justice and racial injustice, fast fashion and the Black presence in crafts.

WOH speaks to and engages with the Black and wider communities in Hastings. Complementing the show in the Foreshore Gallery will be a range of creative activities, events and discussions. We Out Here will also be complemented offsite with a series of community-based activities and workshops which aim to encourage art engagement.

The project is led by local artist Lorna Hamilton-Brown RCA MBE, known as the ‘Banksy’ of the knitting world for her use of the medium for social commentary. For WOH, Lorna will be creating a new ‘WE MEK’ knitted magazine cover – The Windrush 75 Issue. It will feature the celebrated author of Small Island, the late Andrea Levy and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush carrying passengers from the Caribbean to the UK.

The artists also taking part in the exhibition are Paul Hope, Elaine Mullings, Eugene Palmer, Richard M Rawlins and Maggie Scott.

Hope will be referencing historic displacement through the Transatlantic Slave Trade, using embossed slave token images appropriated from the 1789 broadside ‘Description of a Slave Ship’. He will also be creating work exploring migration, arrival and assimilation, using traditional leatherwork techniques.

Creating two new, large-scale sculptures for the exhibition, Mullings will be using materials that highlight global exploitation in continental Africa in general and in particular, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Palmer will create two large paintings, as an invitation to the viewer to reflect on their relationship with the sea. The works will present the image of the Black subject juxtaposed with the image of the sea, and familiar visual elements we associate with British seaside culture.

Rawlins will exhibit his work, Conversation Over Tea and reimagine it with live performances. His work will also explore the Windrush Migration through his painting and a large graphite drawing that explores identity.

Scott’s focus on fast fashion and climate justice spotlights the consequences for the Global South of the Global North’s addiction to cheap clothing.

On April 15 at 2pm there will be a live WOH artists’ panel discussion hosted by writer Sarah Gwonyoma, exploring themes raised within the exhibition.

Artwork created by the pupils from eight local schools will also be on display in the gallery during WOH. They will be responding to ‘Making your Mark’, a brief created by Lorna for Hastings Contemporary’s Pearls of the Sea school’s project.

A full-colour publication featuring the artists and their work accompanies the exhibition.

Community partners include Afri-Co-Lab, Home Live Art, Black Butterfly, Electric Palace Cinema, Hastings Borough Council and Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.

Open April 1– June 4 2023

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