Podcast: Jamie Crewe’s Solidarity & Love at Humber Street Gallery

PODCAST: 16 minutes 23 seconds

Humber Street Gallery, run by Absolutely Cultured, reopens on Saturday 15th August, and welcomes pre-booked visitors to view artist Jamie Crewe’s exhibition Solidarity & Love.

Tasha Pert, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Absolutely Cultured, said: “We will be reopening with Jamie Crewe’s Solidarity & Love in Gallery 2. This acclaimed exhibition has led to Crewe being selected to receive a Turner Prize Bursary – the new format for the Turner Prize in 2020 – celebrating artists for their significant contributions to new developments in British contemporary art.

“The exhibition takes inspiration from Radclyffe Hall’s novel The Well of Loneliness (1928), and addresses the provocations of the book, which has had a lasting impact on generations of queer, lesbian, and transgender people. The work has been created alongside a sister show at Grand Union, Birmingham titled Love & Solidarity, open 7-29 August.”

HULL IS THIS editor Jerome Whittingham accepted an invitation to preview the exhibition.

Solidarity & Love.
One video, titled “Morton” – “Beedles” – “An abyss”, is projected on a screen; the other, titled “The Ideal Bar” – “Le Narcisse” – “Alec’s”, is played on a smaller monitor which stands before the projection screen, intruding upon the larger and longer video, and intruded upon in turn. Solidarity & Love, artist Jamie Crewe, Humber Street Gallery. Photo: Jerome Whittingham @photomoments

David Cleary, Learning and Exhibitions Coordinator at Humber Street Gallery, guided Jerome through the exhibition and its themes.

David said: “Jamie’s work comprises of video, sculpture, text, and print. Jamie is a trans artist, based in Glasgow. A lot of the work Jamie creates mines historical texts and stories.

“Jamie has looked at the whole history of civil rights, and the transformations that have taken place as a result of years and years of hard work, and campaigns, and basically rebelling against a system that oppresses people who are different. The title of the exhibition, Solidarity & Love, is how you would sign letters off between people who are activists.”

This exhibition, then, explores attitudes, both changing and doggedly entrenched, towards homosexuality and transgender people. It offers glimpses into the social history of the LGBTQ+ movement, as well as very personal insight into the life of the artist.

Solidarity & Love
‘Slabs by Radclyffe Hall’, Solidarity & Love exhibition, artist Jamie Crewe, 2020. Humber Street Gallery. Photo: Jerome Whittingham @photomoments

At the beginning of the process leading to the exhibition, artist Jamie Crewe gathered friends and colleagues to engage in a ‘well dressing’ activity. Participants worked together to decorate large clay slabs, inscribing them with words and quotes, and adorning them with petals, coffee beans, and other items – all later burned-off in the firing process. The well-dressing was then broken down into smaller pieces entitled ‘Slabs by Radclyffe Hall’, shared between the two exhibitions in Hull and Birmingham, now displayed almost as relics.

Little red fox
“Little red fox”, which is the fox model seen in “The Ideal Bar” – “Le Narcisse” – “Alec’s”, curled up on a plinth topped with fake grass. Solidarity & Love, artist Jamie Crewe. Humber Street Gallery. Photo: Jerome Whittingham @photomoments

“It’s quite a contemplative exhibition. Quite personal,” said David. “It’s a very brave exhibition, I think, on Jamie’s part. To be so open, and honest, and giving of their experiences.”


Visiting Humber Street Gallery

Initially the gallery is returning with reduced visiting hours, Thursday to Sunday between 11am and 3pm, with the Gallery Café and roof terrace operating on the same days between 10am and 4pm.

In order to manage capacity and to support social distancing they have introduced a booking system with time slots for visiting the exhibition space.

Booking is free and the time slots start on the hour, 11am-2pm, and last 45 minutes. This allows enough time to experience the work, and for staff to check over and clean any potential touch points before the next visit.

To make sure visits are as safe and comfortable as possible they have introduced a variety of new measures alongside the booking system. You can find out more via the FAQs on Humber Street Gallery’s website.

[Jerome Whittingham – editor HULL IS THIS]