Fine Art students exhibit their work at Lamport Hall

Date 16.08.2018

Visitors to one of Northamptonshire’s best-loved historic houses will be able to view new works of art influenced by the building, next week.

Lamport Hall will be hosting the World in Turmoil exhibition, which features pieces by a trio of MA Fine Art students from the University of Northampton, Bekki Herbert, Robin Clements and Joanna Osieglewska.

World in Turmoil is open on Wednesday 22, Thursday 23, Sunday 26 and Monday 27 August, between 1pm and 4pm.

The exhibition is the culmination of the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust bursary initiative in which students apply for the funded awards The Joan, Lady Isham Materials Bursary or the Sir Norman Isham Travel Bursary Award. The bursaries enable students to apply for generous funds to support their art practice.

Students are invited to propose projects that respond to Lamport Hall; for example, its collection and archives, its social history as the seat of the Isham family and the English country house as a heritage context. By bringing contemporary art to the context of Lamport Hall, the artists provide opportunities for new interpretations of the history of the hall and its collections. This in turn evokes new ways in which visitors can engage and understand the history of the family, the hall, and its location. This project mirrors the working methods used by many professional contemporary artists and provides the students with the opportunity to work in the context of an existing collection that is accessible to the public. In their projects the artists use a wide range of media, making either a direct reference to objects or artworks in Lamport Hall or tangential response, but always in relation to their own developing enquires and critical engagement in making contemporary visual art.

This year the exhibition title points to the students’ interest in the social and political sphere and our lived experience of economic imbalance and asymmetrical power. Their works connect the context of Lamport Hall to current geo-political issues of migration, the mediation of national identity, and the shift toward popularist right-wing political parties. The tranquil private sphere of Lamport Hall is, as it has always been, interconnected to an endlessly moving world of modernization and periods of difficult social change.

Bekki Herbert and Robin Clements are winners of The Joan, Lady Isham Materials Bursary. Bekki’s new artwork British Shadow Puppet takes the form of a research inquiry where in conversation with academics in the field, she moves between the Liverpool World Museum and London’s Victoria & Albert, to bring Lamport Hall her version of Javanese Shadow Puppetry. The modern technologies that are utilised as medium, through light and shadow, invite the visitor to consider how far our society is mediated. Inspired by bourgeois entertainment, British shadow puppet embodies a kind of theatre, conceiving of a narrative for an imagined Britain.

The title of  Robin’s work, The Endangered Sailors Cry to Their Gods, is taken from The Book of Jonah 1:7-8, from where he quotes, “Tell us, who are you? From what country do you come? What is your business? To what people do you belong? Why have you brought all this trouble upon us?” In response to Lamport Hall’s 16th century cabinet based on Flemish design he has made his own panelled paintings which depict scenes associated with the poor and dispossessed; refugees who take to the sea, often in unseaworthy boats, desperate to reach a safe haven.

Joanna Osieglewska is winner of the Sir Norman Isham Travel Bursary Award and presents documentation of her research. Travelling in Poland she took photographs of kitchens and public spaces both as sites for political discussion, exploring her interest in dialogical practice to create pubic spheres where conversations on immigration, discrimination and sense of belonging can occur. In Poland, Joanna followed violent anti-immigration marches and saw the difficult conditions for artists working there, for example, the artwork “Rainbow” by Julita Wojcik in Zbawiciela Square, Warsaw, a rainbow shaped structure made from over 16,0000 fake flowers to support the LGBT+ community has been burnt six times. She hopes to create work that cannot be destroyed, by creating open forums for discussion to give an opportunity to Warsaw residents to have peaceful debates about these issues.