Sunderland folk asked to share their hobbies for UK exhibition

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Wearsiders are invited to take part in The Hobby Cave, the largest ever exhibition of the UK’s hobbies.

Hobbies, clockwise from top left: cosplay costume by Jade Parsons), Fiesta Transformer by Hetain Patel and cosplay by Rhys Jones (images © the artists).Hobbies, clockwise from top left: cosplay costume by Jade Parsons), Fiesta Transformer by Hetain Patel and cosplay by Rhys Jones (images © the artists).
Hobbies, clockwise from top left: cosplay costume by Jade Parsons), Fiesta Transformer by Hetain Patel and cosplay by Rhys Jones (images © the artists). | The artists named

From makers and modifiers to crafters and collectors, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) and award-winning artist and Spider-Man enthusiast Hetain Patel, are inviting audiences to share details of their hobbies.

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This will lead to a nationwide project in 12 locations across the UK from summer 2024, including at Sunderland's Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in 2025.

Thousands of unique hand-crafted objects loaned by hundreds of people will be displayed, with contributions invited from hobbyists such as costume and cosplay makers, crocheters and knitters, wood carvers and model makers, ceramicists, robotics engineers, origami specialists, augmented car enthusiasts and many more.

The Hobby Cave has been commissioned by arts organisation Artangel. It celebrates those who dedicate their spare time to their passions. It will explore how individuals express their identity, character and creativity through their pastimes.

The inaugural exhibition opens in London in July 2024, followed by curated presentations across the UK throughout 2025.

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At the heart of the project is a new film by Hetain Patel, exploring the creativity and passion that people put into their hobbies.

Patel is an award-winning British-Gujarati artist and filmmaker. Much of his practice is derived from his childhood hobbies and interests, including his lifelong passion for Spider-Man.

In 2013, he created his first sculpture, Fiesta Transformer, when he converted his car into a real-life Transformer robot. The Hobby Cave is his most ambitious project so far.

His film adopts the artist’s trademark combination of high-end cinematic production with everyday scenes, showcasing "ephemeral pastimes and handcrafted objects in a visual language usually reserved for Hollywood films and luxury advertising".

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Hetain said: “The empowering thing about hobbies is choice, and doing something on our own terms. The creative act is really hopeful, with huge benefits to us individually and something that connects us to others regardless of our differences.”

Rebecca Ball, chief executive of Sunderland Culture which delivers the programme in NGCA, said: “The Hobby Cave is a perfect way of celebrating the boundless creativity and passion that goes into our hobbies.

"We’re really looking forward to hosting the exhibition at NGCA and particularly the screening of Hetain Patel’s film.”

To submit details about your hobbies, visit www.artangel.org.uk/mapping-our-hobbies.

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