NEWS: ART 50 WEEKENDER | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Barby Asante, Declaration of Independence, Diaspora Pavilion May 2017 Image by Francesco Allegretto

Unsurprisingly, given the current political and social predicament we find ourselves in at the moment, national identity and our place in the world is a hot topic and it’s inevitable that the art world reacts to the zeitgeist. A project commissioned by Sky Arts (alongside Storyvault Films, the Barbican and our very own BALTIC and Sage Gateshead) will examine what it means to be British, with 50 commissions examining the attitudes, opinions and experiences of people from cities, towns and villages across the country.

The Art 50 Weekender will take place at Sage Gateshead and BALTIC on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February, with performances, music and art free to attend (although some require a ticket). Across the weekend, BALTIC will present a series of new commissions, collaborating directly with three artists to develop site-specific pieces and working with the local community. Indian composer Jasleen Kaur presents her film about second and third generation Sikhs living in London who use music and rap as a political tool; Newcastle-based photographer Kuba Ryniewicz works alongside intergenerational groups from the region to focus on the relationships between art and nature; while London-based Barby Asante’s Declaration of Independence installation is a performative forum, mirroring the kind of spaces used to negotiate independence, coalitions and trade deals. A performance on Sunday 24th will invite the public to make their own individual declarations.

The Art 50 Weekender promises a thought-provoking exploration of how we see ourselves at this pivotal moment in our history

A series of further commissions in the gallery’s Level 1 space will include Common Vision’s Brand Identities For Millennial Britain, which displays witty products that re-brand today’s Britain; filmmaker Matty Crawford and Joe Argent’s film, His England, focuses on the story of a football loving young Asian British kid; the screening of Simon Wade’s Huntington Gardens attempts to find the lighter side of the debate, with a comedic look at the microcosm of post-Brexit Britain; poet and playwright Simon Armitage explores the relationship between Britain and Europe in his film, The Brink; there’s quirky animation from Gadzooks’ Mad Dogs; Stock, an absurd post-Brexit fairytale set in Manchester by Naqqash Khalid, plays with language and communication; while Sarah Maple’s paintings explore colonialism through the experiences of her own family’s migration.

On Sunday 24th Sage Gateshead’s spaces will play host to several events, kicking off with a performance of When We Collide, a collaboration between composer Alex Groves and writer/director Rebecca Hanbury and written by people from schools and community choirs across the UK; a poetic conversation by Chloe Florence and Laurie Ogden will be set to music by artistic collaborators Lyrix Organix; a rehearsed reading of Martha Bennett’s And The Band Keeps Marching On takes a view of British identity from a Northern Irish Loyalist point of view; music and spoken word performance Backbone Of Our Land, first premiered at Folk on the Tyne, will see poets Degna Stone, Kim Moore and Andrew McMillan collaborate with musicians Peter Brewis, Bella Hardy, Sarah Hayes and Dan Rogers to discover what it means to be Northern. In the evening, DanceXchange’s This Is An Island? uses dance, spoken word and installations to present a no-holds barred vision of Brexit through the eyes of Birmingham residents.

The Art 50 Weekender promises a thought-provoking exploration of how we see ourselves at this pivotal moment in our history.


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