The exhibition is called Make Social Honey – A Collective Search for Joy and is by Vinca Petersen, an internationally renowned photographer, installation, multimedia and performance artist, is open from now until May 2.
For the last 30 years South Korea-born Vinca’s work has highlighted marginalised societies.
This includes organising and documenting the rave scene in the UK and Europe in the 1990s and her Future Youth Project, which takes people on physical and emotional journeys.
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Vinca’s work has been shown in venues including the National Portrait Gallery, the V & A and the Saatchi Gallery.
Make Social Honey takes its adapted green dripping cross logo from Vinca’s performing alter ego Dr Joy, who holds regular “surgeries” discussing “the serious problem of over seriousness and prescribes various forms of joy as the antidote to modern life’s ills.”
The exhibition is in the NGCA’s main gallery and is an archive of her “monumental” image collection, including new images captured with different communities across Sunderland exploring their own “creative joy”.
Vinca said: “A small part of me still misses the fun and freedom of those years spent caravanning through Europe as a member of the rave counterculture.
“But a greater part of me thinks similar experiences should be available without having to go to such extremes. If I distil what I wanted during that time, it’s not so much about wild hedonism as a more basic human need: an experience of regular, collective joy.”
Jon Weston, curator at NGCA for Sunderland Culture, said: “Vinca worked closely with several local community groups and organisations.
“Through working with the groups, Vinca sought to explore what brings people joy in an increasingly isolated society, be it through sea swimming, meditation or singing.
"The exhibition asks visitors ‘what is their route to joy’ and where can they find it?”
The project is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and more information can be found on the Sunderland Culture website. Entry is free and NCGA is based in the National Glass Centre.