Gallery invite you to ‘Ima9ine’

The historic Siege Well which is located at the London Street Gallery.
The historic Siege Well which is located at the London Street Gallery.

The London Street Gallery is gearing up to host an exciting new exhibition introducing the work of local artists.

From July 10, the recently opened gallery will host ‘Ima9ine’, an event showcasing nine local artists who are all recent graduates of the University of Ulster Associate Degree in Fine and Applied Arts at the North West Regional College.

The show comprises a varied and engaging mix of fine art and craft pieces. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see glass sculptures and prints, and compare traditional oil paintings with mixed media pieces, in an eclectic mix that will appeal to both traditionalists and contemporary art aficionados.

However, this particular exhibition will not only be representing contemporary culture, but it will also be bringing something of Derry’s historical culture to life.

In the entrance courtyard of the London Street Gallery, a Rag Tree installation will sit alongside the historic Siege Well located there.

Rag trees are traditionally found next to water or wells which makes the London Street Gallery the perfect host for this artwork.

Rag trees date back to a pre-Christian tradition of votive offerings; the idea being that, if someone is ill or there is something they wish to overcome, they tie a rag to the tree and, as the rag rots away, so does whatever it is that is troubling them.

Rag trees endure to this day with sites in the North West of Ireland at Doon Well and Dungiven Priory.

Artist Janet Hoy explains: “It seems appropriate to be bringing a thorn tree back into the heart of Derry-Londonderry in this City of Culture year, as a Hawthorn tree was once located at the site of the Long Tower Church and used as a gathering point.

“For me, Rag Trees reach back into the origins of art when people externalised their thoughts and feelings in ‘magical’ ways, not only for others to share or witness but also to seek out a spiritual dimension in their life and create community.

“So much of ‘high profile’ art today appears to be about the celebrity or wealth that the industry attracts, but really art starts with the viewing audience and the artist’s desire to communicate with them… so this piece aims to bring something of that original spirit of communion back into the Gallery space and invites everybody to take part in transforming an ordinary tree into something new - a vehicle of human expression and an artwork to be owned by all. People can bring along their own rag or there will be some at the gallery to be used if they want to take part.”

Noelle Mc Alinden, on behalf of Culture Company and The London St Gallery, added: “We are delighted to host Ima9ine at The London St. Gallery. It’s another opportunity to showcase work by a diverse group of emerging artists; work that embraces a wide range of themes and media and is guaranteed to inspire.”

The nine artists featured are Alice McAteer, Liz Marsh, Karen Douglas, Audrey Gamble, Janet Hoy, Allan Offord, Beata Debska-Dudek, Karen Hunter and Una Doherty Roe.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. and runs until Tuesday, July 23.

The London Street Gallery is a public gallery, with free admission, that seeks to provide a venue for the Visual Arts in Derry that is open to all, makes art accessible and stimulates and entertains.

It’s a volunteer run gallery sponsored by the City of Culture 2013 Ltd., and the Inner City Trust.