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At a Loss art exhibition creates connections

At a Loss is a creative arts project that promises to bring moments of emotional release and flashes of joy. It aims to bring people together in creativity and conversation, during a group exhibition at the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s prestigious exhibition venue, Art Central Gallery, Barry, Wales, from 7th October 2023 to 6th January 2024. The At a Loss project is supported in kind by The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Art Service and Art Central Gallery and with grant funding from Arts Council of Wales.

Grief can be a subject that is difficult to discuss but will touch all our lives at some point. The At a Loss Project has brought together artists from the UK, USA, countries in mainland Europe and Israel, who share an interest in exploring experiences of loss through their creative practice. Each artist works with the material objects belonging to a lost loved one, “spinning gold out of the things left behind”.

The project is the idea of artist-filmmaker and educator Inga Burrows. co-curating with Tracey Harding, the Manager and Curator at Art Central Gallery in Barry, S.Wales. It’s important that the show helps visitors to feel humanly connected in a way that only art can do.

The concept for the exhibition was developed after the passing of Inga’s mother: as she sorted the things left behind, Inga began to wonder whether other artists feel creatively inspired to use their lost loved one’s possessions as material for art making. She explains further, “Deciding what to do with the material possessions belonging to a lost loved one can be overwhelming for many of us, regardless of how much time has passed and in what circumstances our loved one died.   

“As the one female amongst my siblings, I took charge of the sifting through my mother’s clothes, her hats, glasses, crockery, underwear, hairbrushes, jewelry, bedding etc. Seeing her belongings laid out on her living room floor and deliberating over what to hold onto and what to let go of, the heaps of my mother’s stuff morphed into art materials before my eyes.”

An Arts Council of Wales funding application enabled Inga to create an opportunity to work with other artists. The core group for the project, developers Inga Burrows, Tracey Harding and experienced Arts Journalist Emma Geliot, working on the artist’s catalogue, developed an ‘Open Call’ to work with other artists. They were delighted when applications came in from Wales, the UK and around the world, from artists whose work connected with the exhibition theme.

Some artists selected are exhibiting existing artworks and others have been commissioned to make new pieces for the show – Inga has been bringing the artists together regularly to discuss the development of their work for exhibition. Altogether there will be sixteen artists showing work in the At a Loss exhibition.

Cllr Rhiannon Birch, Cabinet Member for Education, Arts and Welsh Language, is very keen to support this exhibition saying “We rarely talk about loss as part of lives. When we lose our loved ones, it may be a shock and difficult to process no matter how expected or unexpected it is. How do we cope, what do we do with the items and memories of our parents, grandparents, spouses, partners, children; what do our children do with our material items? This project is creating an opportunity to explore and help creatively manage our families’ personal treasures, which to keep and, of course often the most difficult, to let go. We hope you can visit the gallery and be inspired but some of the sixteen artists’ ideas and creations on show.”

This multi – media exhibition will be on show from Saturday 7th October 2023 until Saturday 6th January 2024. An opening event will take place on Saturday 7th October from 12:00 noon at Art Central Gallery where you will be able to meet the artists involved and see the exhibition.

We hope to run workshops during the month of November – look out for updated information about this. We look forward to seeing you at Art Central Gallery.

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For more information, visit: www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/artcentral