Lid lifted on four new art commissions for the Isle of Wight

Around 60 guests were presented with 4 new art commissions created as part of the Lift the Lid project on Sunday 15 September 2019, 2pm at Quay Arts.

Lift the Lid: A Look Inside was an event especially for people who were involved in any of the art commissions and the audience represented a number of those including those from Totland Parish Council, East Cowes Town Council and Ventnor Exchange.

Sue Bailey retells a story about the Ventnor Giant

Guests were treated to a story inspired by Phlegm’s Ventnor Giant mural, presented by storyteller Sue Bailey and created by pupils from an Island school. The Great Light and Dark Show, an event in Totland by artist Julie Myers back in June 2019 was represented by a film documenting both the event and the people of Totland. BearFace Theatre CIC then performed ‘We that breathe’, a community theatre show inspired by folklore stories from The Sacred Isle’s Paul Wilson, workshops with residents at Mountbatten Hospice and those involved with WOW Women’s Centre in Newport, with help from a puppet workshop at Barton Primary. Finally the audience were shown a excerpt from Dmitri Galitzine’s film Back and Forth, featuring many of East Cowes residents. 

So what’s next for Lift the Lid? Jacqui Cusack, Arts Manager at Quay Arts, lead partner of the Cultural Education Partnership who commissioned the art said

“The past year has been about exploring the cultural heritage of the Island through art commissions in unexpected places and we’re so pleased with progress. Now we are focusing on helping teachers get to grips with OFSTEDs mandate to build cultural capital in children and young people, and so we have expanded our annual Cultural Expo event to a full blown conference featuring the well-known educationalist Professor Mick Waters. We’ll be at Oakfield CE Primary School in Ryde on Friday 11 October, and I’d like to invite all headteachers and arts coordinators, plus school governors with a focus on the arts, to join us for this inspiring day.”

Hullabaloo 2019

Were you at Hullabaloo in Sandown on the weekend of 11th and 12th May? Hullabaloo is the annual arts, environment and science discovery event led by Shademakers, Artecology and others near Browns Golf Course and Dinosaur Isle Museum. If you were there, you might have seen Sue Bailey from But that’s another Story in the red and yellow children’s activity tent or perhaps you might have met the Three Medina Sisters? Actually, they were from BearFace Theatre, testing out public reaction to their community theatre ideas for Newport.

The Medina Sisters on the walkabout at Hullabaloo 2019 (BearFace Theatre)

BearFace Theatre will be presenting their work to residents and visitors at Mountbatten and at the Isobel Centre in Pan (next door to Barton Primary School) on Monday 16 September. It is one of the four commissioned artworks for Lift the Lid.

Sue Bailey was using Phlegm’s Ventnor Giant mural (the first of our commissioned artworks) to inspire clay work and stories with children and young people. You can see some of their work here:

Schools can still benefit from involvement in Lift the Lid, especially if they take up our offers linked with registering for Artsmark.

The general public can be involved in Lift the Lid at events this year including a special family picnic during Ventnor Fringe Festival 2019. Come and join us at Ventnor Park on Friday 26 July at 12noon until 2pm, for a picnic with a twist. Our arts and heritage partners will be asking you to ‘Lift the Lid’ on their very special boxes to discover what is inside and how it connects with the Island’s cultural heritage. And you can take away your own box to fill with your own important momento…

Announcing the Lift the Lid art commissions

I can now tell you that the selection panel met on Thursday 1st November at the John Hansard Gallery, in Southampton, and chose the three remaining artists commissions for Lift the Lid, which will be completed in 2019.

Ventnor Giant Mural by the artist Phlegm
Photograph by Julian Winslow

A multi-channel film installation, a piece of community theatre and the launch of a community lecture series will all be created to celebrate the unique cultural heritage of three towns on the Island in 2019 as part of Lift the Lid. This follows the highly successful street art of The Ventnor Giant by Phlegm, commissioned in partnership with Ventnor Exchange and launched at the Ventnor Fringe in August 2018.

As part of a rigorous process, led by a selection panel of renowned curators; Jo Bushnell from Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, Stephen Foster from John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, Georgia Newman from Quay Arts, Newport and Lucy Day from A Woman’s Place project, the following artists have been chosen:

A combination of Arts Council England, Artswork and Isle of Wight Council funding will enable these projects to go ahead, resulting in community art works that can be accessed by a wide range of people.

Artist, Julie Myers explains her proposal for Totland: “Live from The Parish Hall – Totland is a series of thematic performance events. Inspired by the format of the Victorian popular science lectures the series presents current social and environmental concerns through the stories and experiences of local people, including, a child’s fossil collection, a walk with an astronomer, a slide show about light pollution, a set of old postcards, pin hole cameras, forgotten songs, a cup of tea at the old lifeboat house. Hosted by local residents the talks combine video, photographs, personal artefacts, archive material, music and refreshments. The inaugural event: LIGHT AND DARK will be presented and broadcast live from the Parish Hall in May 2019.”

BearFace Theatre CIC will be developing a co-created piece of theatre with the communities of Pan that will focus on its layered heritage. BFT said:

“Using participatory arts based workshops to discover and co-develop narratives as well as make material for the performance, we will be delving into Pan’s past, its present and importantly its future and our part within it… with our new project ‘We that breathe…’. With a mix of playful interaction, puppetry, original soundtracking and live music and a Dragon thrown in for good measure, BearFace Theatre will bring the finished performance collaborated with all who we have met to a space near you in Pan in September 2019.”

Dmitri Galitzine will present a new multi-channel film installation, shown in an old shipyard in East Cowes, during Heritage Open Days 2019 (from 13 to 22 September 2019). The film will be based around the Red Funnel Ferry and East Cowes dockyard.

Working over several months, the artist will document all aspects of the ferry’s day to day crossings, the harbour, passengers and crew. And in doing so, he will attempt to unravel what the ferry means to the people of East Cowes and the symbiotic relationship between them.

The artist writes,

“The ferry has been the island’s gatekeeper for over a century. And it is part of the fabric of East Cowes, its history and heritage. The identity of any islander depends upon the body of water which engulfs them. And it’s the Red Funnel that can get them across it, in East Cowes. For some, every day back and forth. And back and forth again.”

 

LtL Project Manager, Sarah Girling said:

“The hope is that all of these new art works will excite and inspire the people of the Isle of Wight to find out more about their cultural heritage. There is opportunity for lots of local people to get involved through schools and community groups, let alone being audience members. 2019 is going to be a fantastic year for arts and culture on the Island.”