Home Front Exhibition

Homefront, an exhibition of portraits will open 2nd April 2009 in Place Gallery, Fountain Street, Belfast http://www.place.uk.net Belfast.
A series of portraits of people from the older generation.The work considers moving, memory, attachment , timing, change through choice and circumstance , the residue of home on their sense of self.

The project has received support as older people are a growing section of our population and there is a need to place more value on their presence within society.

The project is supported by the Arts Council,NI and the Changing Age Partnership at Queens University Belfast.

Home Front Exhibition opens at PLACE, Belfast

A new photographic exhibition, by Omagh artist Joan Alexander, opens at PLACE’s gallery, Fountain Street, Belfast, Thursday 2nd April at 6pm. ‘The Home Front,’ completed using a grant awarded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, considers the experience of becoming older.

The exhibition captures older people in their home environment developing a body of work using shadow as a marker of time. Joan became interested in this work after returning from a residency in Reims, France. With an equipment grant from the Arts Council’s Support for Individual Artist Programme she embarked upon capturing an ever increasing, but often overlooked section of the community.

Chris Ledger, Arts Development Officer with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented on the importance of this work, saying ”Awarding grants for equipment is just one of the many ways in which the Arts Council supports our talented artists and promotes the significance and value of the arts to the public. In ‘Home front’, Joan has not only put the focus on older people through her images, but has also provided older people with a new opportunity to be directly involved in the artistic process through negotiations with the artist. Joan’s inspiring work reflects contemporary attitudes to the ageing process and will be one of the signifiers marking the changing experience of older people in Northern Ireland.”.

Dr Una Lynch, Cap Research Manager at Queen’s University Belfast said, “Joan has created a powerful and beautiful exhibition which captures the complexity of home for older people as somewhere much more than a building, home as an embodiment of notions of safety, security and a lifetime of memories. Her work is a timely reminder to us all of the need to ensure that older people are supported and enabled to age with dignity and independence.”

‘Home Front’ runs from the 2nd April – 2nd May at PLACE’s gallery, 40 Fountain Street, Belfast. Gallery opening times are Wednesdays-Saturdays 11:30am-5:30pm with late night opening on Thursdays until 7:30pm.

Liz Baird, Belfast Telegraph ,24/7
Although PLACE at 40 Fountain Street is actually all about architecture I can’t believe that, although it has been open for quite some time, I have never mentioned it in this column. Described as the Architecture and Built Environment centre for Northern Ireland it is the public interface of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and considers itself, ‘ a model o f excellence ; both in the design and built environment field. ‘ Funded by the Belfast City Council and the Arts Council, its purpose is to ‘ raise public awareness and promote higher standards,’ and with this in mind ‘ encourage greater public involvement in and understanding of, the built environment and public spaces.’
Situated in a prime city centre location it provides ‘ a flexible space for exhibitions and events on all aspects of the built environment.’ Just how broad this remit is, is well illustrated by the current photographic exhibition ‘Home Front’, which deals with, through individual portraits, different concepts of ‘home’, considering it as,
‘ keeper of physical and emotional elements of self.’
The photographer is Joan Alexander and the idea sprang from the experiences of her personal friend, Edna, who went from home to hospital to residential care without ever being able to collect her possessions or say goodbye to her house. These circumstances were imposed upon her and that concept triggered this exhibition. There is no photograph of Edna but all the sitters were at a stage of life,
’ where significant changes occur.’ Each portrait is accompanied by photographs of certain elements of their home as well as extracts from conversations about what it meant to them.
Some are sad, some wistful, some poignant, some resigned but they all provide serious food for thought. There is Miriam who has ‘ no happy memories’ or Tony who is resigned to blindness in a strange place, or Evelyn who dwells upon the death of her partner – all sad little snippets from life, all disturbingly real.
Space tries to have an exhibition every month and the next show, planned for early May, will feature Charles Renee Mackintosh. There are other ideas in the pipeline – the one I like best involves creating a summer garden in Fountain Street, which sounds like fun.