NEWS: Ex-Voto & Forest @ Side Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Ex-Voto by Alys Tomlinson

Fans of documentary photography can firmly pencil a date in their diary to visit the Side Gallery this month, as the space welcomes two brand new exhibitions from acclaimed artists between Saturday 6th April and Sunday 9th June.

In Forest, British-Chinese artist Yan Wang Preston’s work spans eight years of investigating the recreation of the ‘natural’ environment in the newest Chinese cities. Her work spans across Chongqing, where mature trees are purchased and transferred to make ‘ready-made’ forests and Haidong Developmental Zone, an area where mostly non-indigenous plants are nurtured and green plastic netting is used to conceal anything unappealing. In the process, Preston questions the practices of urban reforestation and the concepts and complexities that surround this.

Meanwhile, Alys Tomlinson turns her camera towards the offerings of religious pilgrimage, known as Ex-Voto. These items, which are often hidden from view, are left as a person’s expression of hope and gratitude. Captured in the sites of Lourdes, Ballyvourney and Grabarka on large-format film, Tomlinson’s images aim to reflect the timeless quality of these holy sites, highlighting how they exist in a unique temporal space.

While Tomlinson and Preston’s works differ in theme and style, there are fascinating stories to be discovered within all of their images.

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