Gil Mualem Doron, photographed by Charlotte Graham-Spouge
In this year of uncertainty, SEAS is proud to have celebrated five years of hosting events and exhibitions of socially engaged art. In an epic year, we curated and hosted ten exhibitions, more than ten events and hosted an artist residency, running events both online during lockdowns and in person since.
In January, the exhibition, ‘Gaslighting’, was a group art exhibition showcasing the work of artists who have had direct experience of domestic abuse. Curated by Miranda Gavin, the result was a selection of personal work on this theme that included photography, film, animation, performance, poetry and painting. Each artist's perspective was unique, and the creative strategies used varied, yet the role of abusive power and control in the domestic context is central and is shared.
In February, our second group exhibition, ‘Queering Spaces’, focussed on the LGBT community and its most vulnerable members which were hit hard by the Covid19 crisis. In many ways, the pandemic brought back the trauma of the AIDS crisis, and promoted discussions about the importance of safe spaces when, for some, 'Stay at home and stay safe’ is not a viable option and, at times, even a contradiction.
‘Force of Fantasy’, SEAS’ March exhibition, curated by Ricardo Reveron Blanco, was a theoretical evaluation, taking Judith Butler’s essay ‘The Force of Fantasy: Feminism, Mapplethorpe, and Discursive Excess’ as a starting point, and proposing that fantasy is a powerful tool to not only imagine alternative futures but to manifest them by looking beyond convention. The Force of Fantasy entered the extraordinary as a means to open up dialogues about gender, race, class, and critique our pervasive social hierarchy.
From May to July, we hosted a two part exhibition, entitled ‘The Face of the Other’ and ‘News from Nowhere’. Curated by Gil Mualem-Doron, and featuring photography, illustration and collage, the works in this exhibition deal with degrees of visibility, highlight social and political issues and yet others question the politics of visibility itself. Addressing Refugee Week’s 2021 theme, ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’, the second part of the exhibition included a procession with music and public art intervention.
In August, the exhibition ‘Queer Heterotopias’ explored places that are outside the norm, that are strange or in other words queer. Similarly, the October exhibition, ‘Queer Photography: a non-definitive survey’, which celebrated the opening of our partner organisation, the new LGBTQ+ space, The Ledward Centre, was a large group exhibition of lens-based artists and photographers with participatory and collaborative projects examining queer identities.
In November, we hosted ‘Art Apart’, a travelling exhibition by the charity Indian Futures. It consists of work by local artists that were created during Covid19 lockdowns.
SEAS has partnered with countless local artists, collectives, Refugee Week, Brighton Digital Festival, and Brighton Fringe to run textile workshops, Creative Therapy programmes, sound and collaborative workshops as well as artist talks.
We want to thank Art Council England, Sussex Communities Fund, Brighton and Hove Community Fund for enabling us to continue our work, and The Ledward Centre and BMECP for hosting our exhibitions.
We rely on donations and the support of our volunteers in order to continue promoting socially engaged art. Any donation makes a difference. You can continue to support us to continue our work here.
You can find out more about our work this year here and we look forward to a new year with you all.