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‘Island’ life on display at Sunderland's National Glass Centre

A new exhibition at the National Glass Centre explores what it means to live on this island, including depictions of Roker in the past.

Monday, 30th May 2022, 4:05 pm

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The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) brings us Island, with paintings, photographic and video work from renowned artists examining life in the UK after 1945.

The exhibition features photographs loaned from the Arts Council Collection as part of Sunderland Culture’s three-year National Partners Programme, alongside rarely seen paintings from Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens’ collection.

Martin Parr and Tony Ray-Jones document family holidays taken at the seaside during the 1960s and 1970s.

Man, Whitley Bay, 1975 by Chris Killip is among the soulful pictures on display.

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These photographs are juxtaposed with rarely shown paintings depicting Roker beach and the Roker lighthouse taken from Sunderland Museum’s collection.

Some of the work presents a romantic vision of the UK’s coastline. Other work brings debate, including environmental change and rising sea levels, unemployment and poverty.

Featured artist Ingrid Pollard has made the shortlist for the 2022 Turner Prize. Other photographers whose work is on show include Rhea Storr, Chris Killip and Tacita Dean alongside a major new commission by John Kippin and Nicola Neate.

One of the central pieces in the exhibition is a video by artist Alberta Whittle. Her piece, Between a Whisper and a Cry, is a projected on to a representation of a Barbadian chattel house.

The exhibition is at the National Glass Centre until September 11.

It explores the “privilege” of weather and lack of visibility and resources available to support against the effects of adverse weather.

Jonathan Weston, curator at NGCA for Sunderland Culture, said: “It’s a really powerful and striking piece that makes you think. We are excited to present the full installation for the first time since it entered the Arts Council Collection.

“Island is divided into three sections: coastal communities: environmental change such as coastal erosion, and the sea and seaside section which looks at the boom in seaside holidays during the 1960s and 70s, their demise during the 1980s and the more recent phenomena of ‘staycations’.

“With summer just around the corner, the exhibition is well timed. Island is on until September 11, and in July artwork created through two artist-led community projects will be added to the exhibition.”

Island runs from now until September 11. For more information on Island, visit www.northerngalleryforcontemporaryart.org.uk.

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