Sunderland artist draws inspiration from North East rave scene for new exhibition

Sophie Lisa Beresford
Sophie Lisa Beresford
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A Sunderland artist, inspired by the region’s rave scene, has a new exhibition opening this weekend.

As part of the Great Exhibition of the North programme, Sophie Lisa Beresford’s display, North East Style, opens this weekend at Abject Gallery in Newcastle.

In her work, Sophie celebrates what she calls “Council Estate Culture”.

Describing her work, she said: “Artwork being created from our culture, about our culture, is a powerful way to encourage people from working-class communities to engage in their own creativity and have belief and ownership in their own ideas and art practices.”

Following her exhibition Geordie, Mackem, Magick at Arts Centre Washington and Sunderland City Library, Sophie applied for Breeze Creatives Experimental Studio residency programme, which this year was based around responding to The Great Exhibition of the North.

After being selected from more than 80 applicants, she was awarded a £2,000 bursary and the result of her residency can be seen in North East Style.

She says that there’s an unrepresented working-class voice in contemporary art and that she wants to introduce people to the beauty of this culture, which is often hidden under stereotypes, obscured by media agendas seemingly created to demonise these communities as opposed to giving them a voice or fair representation. For this residency and exhibition Sophie has focused on patterns that arise from nature and from human culture, modern and synthetic, ancient and natural, physical and non-physical, through a collection of abstract textile paintings made from patch worked and appliquéd pieces.

It also features an EDM (electronic dance music) piece at the Kommunity nightclub written and produced by Lisa and her partner Stephen Bruce (DJ Infinite), a North East producer, DJ & record label owner (Rewired Records). The works, produced by Lisa during the residency period, are aimed at reinforcing what she calls: “Our proud and positive outlook upon our own culture.”

l North East Style is at Abject Gallery, Bamburgh House, Market Street, Newcastle, from August 10 until September 8.