Focus: Amy South | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Amy South. I am an artist from Blyth, Northumberland. 

How long have you been doing this for?
I graduated from Chelsea College of Arts with a BA in 2016. 

In June 2023 I launched the project and exhibition, ‘What Does Life After Death Look Like?’ (‘Life After Death’ for short.)

What is it you do?
What I do is changing. Currently I am directing a project and curating an exhibition called ‘What Does Life After Death Look Like?’ containing the work of 50 artists and non-artists who responded to the question via an artist call out.

To make this opportunity for myself and others possible I have been raising funds to cover the practical elements, as well as to afford me the time to take on the roles required to bring this project into being. These include: being the sole point of contact, organisation and study of submissions, the writing of accompanying material (which will include an online catalogue documenting the project), preparing the space for the exhibition, sourcing and installing equipment, the curation of artworks and performance events, advertising and creating my own artworks. 

I am working on a series of paintings entitled ‘And Through You I saw Machines Made Of Light’, some of which will be in the exhibition. For me there is something very meditative about being with these paintings. I feel they contain the energy from where they came. At times there is something quite unsettling about them, something that hits me in the gut…they have resonance. It almost feels as if I am both the witness and the witnessed. I feel these paintings have a presence, as though they are watching me. What is this presence? The presence of consciousness experiencing itself through form? Through painting? 

There is something sacred about art. Its ability to resonate with something within and its ability to draw what’s within out. It was during my research trips to Peru, where I studied ancient shamanic ceremonial practices, that somewhere seemed to be unlocked within me, and this is allowing me to have experiences with painting that I have not had access to before. This research and experience has become entwined into my art and approach.

What inspired you?
The project emerged through personal encounters with loss and transformation: the interruption of ‘normal life’ through the pandemic, the loss of my parents in my 20s and difficulty accessing institutional support and funding. 

The curation of my late father’s retrospective exhibition, ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far’ at the Globe Gallery in Newcastle, 2020-21, which he was able to visit 2 weeks before his death, and my participation in the Baton of Hope, the UK’s biggest suicide prevention initiative, have shown me a palpable connection between art, the human spirit and the processing of life and death. 

Both experiences have informed my approach to and intentions driving the project and exhibition.

I wanted to create a space in which to ignite a conversation, to create a place in which insightful and thought-provoking exchanges and creative explorations of life and death can take place in a supportive and engaging environment, where a community of people can meet, inspire and empower one another.

Tell us more about your work
The artist and non-artist call out seeking responses to the question ‘What Does Life After Death Look Like?’ created significant interest – over 50 artists and non-artists are involved. It will also include work from people who are no longer with us and non-human entities. e.g. pigeons, both alive and dead.

The aim of Life After Death is to see how different people approach and tackle its question. Does life after death look like anything at all? Does it have a sound frequency or a colour combination? Each one of us has a unique perspective on this, and yet this question also contains the fundamental shared experience of being alive, here and now, asking these questions, and in response creating ungraspable, absurd things like art, poetry and portals to the unmanifested. Art can be a way of connecting to dimensions of reality that cannot be simply stated or explained. You can expect to encounter engaging and challenging works from a range of disciplines exploring the liminal spaces between life and death.

In initiating this project, I have created a challenging situation where I can develop as an artist.  I hope that this can function as a springboard for myself and others. The time, energy and attention that would otherwise be spent applying for grants is instead being used to find a way of bypassing the gatekeepers.

In 2020, following the news of my father’s terminal cancer diagnosis I began a self-initiated and self-accredited Masters Degree in Fine Art, a process of personal empowerment in the face of adversity where I have been intuitively discovering and documenting a methodology, aimed at transforming my approach to creative practice and life alike. 

When the online catalogue is published, I will graduate by holding my own graduation ceremony. 

What have you got coming up in the future?
The exhibition opens Friday 15th September 2023 with the first of two event nights, both 6-9pm. The audience will have the opportunity to see the exhibition in the consciousness-altering context of a variety of live performances, ranging from a participatory ritual, ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’, to immersive multimedia installation, experimental sound and poetry readings. The second event will be held on Saturday 23rd September, syncing with the ‘Sunderland Arts and Culture Trail’. The exhibition will also be host to three workshops: ‘Dream Manifestation Workshop’, ‘Awareness In Space’ and ‘Craft your own: Weaving workshop’. Following the exhibition I will be creating an online catalogue containing documentation and reflective text on the process of ‘Life After Death’. There will be a section showcasing the submissions, sharing more information on each person who responded to the call out.

Event 1 of 2 – Friday 15th 6 – 9pm (Doors Open At 5:30pm)

Saturday 16th 1 – 5pm
Monday 18th 1 – 5pm
Tuesday 19th 1 – 5pm
Wednesday 20th 1 – 5pm
Thursday 21st 1 – 5pm
Friday 22nd 1 – 5pm
Monday 25th 1 – 5pm

Event 2 of 2 – Saturday 23rd 6 – 9PM (Doors Open At 5:30pm)

(‘Event 2 of 2’ is a part of the ‘Sunderland Arts and Culture Trail’: “This free, week-long event, gives you the opportunity to experience some of the region’s finest contemporary artists, hosted by local businesses and cultural venues and guides you around some of the city’s rich heritage. Sunderland Art Trail 2023 runs from 23rd to 29th September.”)


Awareness in Space

Led by Matt Cummins with support from Amy South
An experimental session exploring techniques drawn from vipassana meditation and performance practice with the aim of raising awareness. Wednesday 20th September, 2 – 3pm

Dream Manifestation Workshop

Led by Katie Pickerell with support from Amy South. Thursday 21st September, 4 – 5pm

Craft Your Own – Weaving Workshop

Led by Elizabeth Black. Saturday 16th September, 2 – 3pm

Join us for an inspiring weaving workshop where participants are invited to learn the art of simple weaving. This workshop offers the opportunity to create a personalised woven piece that you can take home with you. Throughout the workshop, participants will acquire basic weaving skills and develop their creative ideas using handmade textile techniques. This is a chance to explore how materials can be transformed into unique artworks in their own right. 

Where can people find out more about you?
Instagram – @amysouthartist

‘What Does Life After Death Look Like?’ – Exhibition and events
The Moving Gallery, Sunderland. (The Athenaeum, 27 Fawcett Street, Sunderland, SR1 1RE)

‘Event 1 of 2’, 15 September 6 – 9 pm:

‘Event 2 of 2’: 23rd September 6 – 9pm:


I have been raising funds to support me in bringing ‘Life After Death’ into being. The funds are affording me the time to carry out this project as well as covering the practical costs. I am living on a shoestring but I feel it is a worthwhile sacrifice, to find a way to transcend the obstacles that stand in my way and to create a space where others can, too. Following reaching the first target of £1500, I’ve been encouraged by others to keep the fundraiser open for the duration of the project. 25% of sales will go into it as well as donations from the bar and stall on the event nights. 

The Globe Gallery, ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall

Breeze Creatives
The Moving Gallery was founded by Breeze Creatives and is funded by them too, meaning it is free for artists to put on exhibitions, and that is the ethos of The Moving Gallery; to offer space where graduates and artists can experiment and exhibit. It is this space that is allowing the project, ‘What Does Life After Death Look Like?’ to exist and flourish. 

Sunderland Arts and Culture Trail

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