Showcasing Art in the North East
VIEW presents 'Out of This World'
by Zelia Bukhari
courtesy of VIEW
One hundred years today, women reached a milestone in feminist history achieving the right to vote. In Aberdeen, ‘Out of This World’ celebrates in style, reminding us of the importance of this first suffrage.
Comprising of a performance and a public talk, ‘Out of This World’ is the first event hosted by VIEW, a public engagement programme born in Aberdeen. The participatory performance organized by Huntly based artist Norma D. Hunter allows anyone from the community to come and discuss the contribution of women since the Universal Suffrage in 1918, as well as take part in a stick weaving activity led by weaver Mary Carol Souness. The aim is to complete a woven border for the banner which has had the support and creativity of 100 participants so far. About the project, Hunter said: “I feel 100 years on we have much to celebrate but much still to do!” Terri Bell Halliwell, a gender equality activist, conducts the talk at 3 pm on her project ‘inVISIBLE women,’ an organization which hopes to bring to light the amazing accomplishments of women throughout history by campaigning for gender equality in civic status in the UK.
Dr. Bryzgel, Director of the George Washington Wilson Centre and lecturer at Aberdeen University, highlights the significance of holding such an event: “I am delighted that our inaugural event will celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, given that Aberdeen had made such a significant contribution to the suffrage movement.” A collaboration between the George Washington Wilson Centre and the Department of Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen, VIEW aims to showcase and give visibility to creative spheres throughout the North East of Scotland. It is an exciting enterprise: Dr. Bryzgel is delighted ‘to work with artists from the shire who continue to probe issues relevant to contemporary society, such as gender equality.’
The event had to undergo a sudden change of venue: the space previously reserved for the talk, Peacock Visual Arts’ exhibition space on Castlegate, WORM, suddenly resulted unavailable, despite having been reserved months in advance. The venue had double-booked itself and preferred to prioritise other, ‘more famous’ artists and refused to work out a suitable compromise. Dr. Bryzgel expressed her disappointment: ‘While I understand that double-bookings can occur, I am disappointed at the way it was handled. One group was given preference, and the reasons for that were not made clear. In a city where there are so few art venues, and there is such a hunger for artistic events, it is likely that those who would have wanted to attend one of the events would have wanted to attend the other, and now that isn’t possible. As artists and creatives in the Northeast of Scotland, we should all be on the same team.’
The nature of Saturday’s event made clear the importance of ‘space, place, setting, and logistics for a socially engaged art project’; the event received a lot of visitors ‘simply due to foot traffic and visibility’. As an arts organisation, PVA should have been able to ‘recognise the significance of venue to an artistic project.’
Regardless of misunderstandings, however, ‘Out of This World’ proved to be a success, a promising opener for more exciting events to showcase the artistic talent of North East Scotland.