VA Collectives at Bonington Gallery
Join us for an afternoon of live drawing, performance and video art in a specially devised event by Venture Arts, a Manchester-based visual arts organisation working with learning disabled and neurodiverse artists to create and showcase exciting new contemporary visual art.
Free, drop in from 12pm – 5pm.
Bonington Gallery is proud to host a VA Collectives event alongside John Beck and Matthew Cornford’s exhibition, The Art Schools of the East Midlands.
Experience artist Leslie Thompson create a large-scale drawing live in the gallery space. A specially devised performance piece by Greater Manchester-based artist Jackie Haynes will also be presented.
Visitors will also be able to watch videos from Narratives, a six month collaborative residency in Venture Arts’ Conversations Series, which ran in partnership with Manchester Jewish Museum, Castlefield Gallery, The Lowry, Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Project Artworks. The residency brought together 12 artists, some from Venture Arts and some via an open call, to develop shared ideas and create new artwork over 6 months, exploring personal histories and cultural heritage.
The VA Collectives are a series of events, performances, gatherings and happenings that aim to bring artists together to explore themes of relevance to their work, the arts and the world around us. The VA Collectives are the brainchild of Venture Arts, a Manchester-based visual arts organisation working with learning disabled and neurodiverse artists to create and showcase exciting new contemporary visual art.
Both the videos and the resulting drawing by Leslie Thompson will remain in the gallery over the closing weekend for visitors to enjoy.
Videos that will be presented in the gallery:
Beyond the Shelf (2022) Millie Loveday
Falling – A Memory of Her (2022) Horace Lindezey, Dominic Pillai & Alice Merida Richards
The Dying Fly (2022) Jackie Haynes
The Julie Channel (2022) Sarah Boulter
Leslie is based at Venture Arts studios in Manchester and uses paint, ink or ceramics to illustrates his life, his past, his family, growing up in Moss Side in 70s and 80s, entire film sequences and a rich variety of animals, all from memory. Leslie works at extremes of small and large scale, and adds fantasy elements to the real world, combining his mother at the Arndale Market with tv characters and superheroes. Leslie’s work is part of the Government Art Collection and is widely shown, recently at TJ Boulting, London.
Often commissioned to produce live drawings, Leslie has gained a reputation as one of Britain’s most dynamic mural artists. His work has been exhibited widely across the UK, including exhibitions at The Lowry, Salford (2023), TJ Boulting, London (2022), Paper Gallery, Manchester (2022) and in 2019, his work was exhibited in Tokyo. In 2021 Leslie’s intricate piece, ‘Animals from Memory’ was acquired by the Government Art Collection.
Early in 2023 Leslie was selected to take part in a collaborative project between the Royal Society of Sculptors and Art et al. Leslie was also commissioned in 2023 by the Government Art Collection, along with nine other selected British artists, to create new artworks in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III. His work is held in private and public collections across the UK and internationally.
Jackie Haynes is an multi-disciplinary artist with a textiles background which notably included House of Haynes Fancy Dress Hire in Manchester (1998 – 2012). She studied BA Clothing in the late 1980’s which included an industrial placement in Nottingham’s Lace Market.
She currently collaborates with Heather Ross as Artist A & Artist B, whose recent work ‘The Surplus Badge’ was featured in the British Textile Biennial (2023). Jackie recently completed an art practice-based PhD study of the German Dada artist, Kurt Schwitters and is a member of art practice-based research groups, Proximity and ARG. Her newest role is as an artist and research team member with ‘Things of the Least’, a 3-year project focussing on Manchester Art Gallery’s Mary Greg Collection. Screen printing is a recent development of her practice, and she is using print in an Artist Book focussing on her collaborative experiences from Venture Arts’ Narratives residency (2022-2023).
Much of Horace’s work depicts the world around him, his family and memories of his childhood growing up in Hulme and Moss Side, Manchester. For Narratives, Horace concentrated on memories of music that he loves and grew up with in Moss Side, creating lists of songs and singers and wished to transform non Reggae pop-songs which he loves, into new reggae classics. Horace was the main inspiration behind the Narrative group’s “Julie” theme due to his devotion to many women called Julie. The group’s initial “Julie Party” took place at the social club where the residency took place. Horace exhibits widely and this year alone has shown at Kammermachen Festival, Chemnitz, Germany, The Gallery of Everything, London, Portico Library, Manchester and Slugtown Newcastle.
Alice Merida Richards is a musician and ceramicist based in Manchester. In collaboration with Horace, the duo rerecorded a reggae version of Julee Cruise’s ‘Falling’, (Twin Peaks Theme). Horace and Merida created posters and invitations taking aesthetic inspiration from posters and flyers from 80s Moss Side parties and festivals kept in the archive at Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre.
Manchester based film maker Dominic Pillai also collaborated on a music video for Falling, inspired by the overwhelming style and character of the social club in which the residency took place as well as huge comedy, reggae and supper club influences of Horace’s idols such as Sid James, Sparrow Martin & Julie London.
Millie Loveday’s work has grown from an ancestral discovery from 17th century Jamaica to beginning to build an underwater fantasy world inspired by the history and Afro futurist influences. Millie’s ancestral research revealed a conflicted Jamaican heritage leading her to unearth stories through family objects, statues, relics and ornaments found in her family member’s homes by using them to initiate conversation. Her video traces Cedric, a black baby doll from her mother’s childhood setting off around the world in search of his own identity.
Sarah Boulter is an artist, curator and creative producer. She works with the hyper local, national and international artist-led sector, focussing on collaborative work, inclusivity and artist development. Sarah Boulter documented the entire residency and The Julie Channel is a TV station devoted to all things Narratives. A raw, making-of style documentary of experiments, art and connections made during this collaborative residency.
Thanks to independent curator Abi Spinks for programming and supporting the development of this event in response to The Art Schools of the East Midlands by John Beck & Matthew Cornford.
Header photo credit: Leslie Thompson by Sarah Boulter, 2022.