For the Inner Child… For the soul.
A week or so ago, with my inner child in mind, I visited one of my local galleries, The Turner Contemporary. I’m blessed to live near arty Margate. I could also say that I was blessed to have two tutorials thereabouts, with three hours between. Time to do something different. Time that is perfect for an ‘artist’s date’, of the style described in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
Of course, the date doesn’t have to be in a gallery… There are so many ways to please the inner child (that creative element of ourselves). Yet, the current exhibition at The Turner Contemporary is Seaside: Photographed. I liked the write-up on this eclectic collection of coastal photography from Britain and wanted to give it a go.
Something happened for which I was not prepared. Rain fell, and not just in showers. Perhaps it was the rainiest day I’ve known in semi-desertic Thanet. Like it was being sent to try me, as my Pappy used to say. It would have been so easy to get the bus home, pick up my Goretex raincoat (£5 in a charity shop, but that’s another post…). Instead, I got soaked, then popped into Peacocks to buy a change of clothes. A member of staff gave me a discount voucher and a smile.
As for the exhibition, there were photos of the British coast through the ages. Victorian beach photos of families in sepia, complete with little ornate frames – so sweet and attentive! The photos themselves were charming and beautifully taken. There was social commentary too, including that which turned stereotyping on its head, along with snapshots of not-so-charming beach nightlife.
On this visit though, an outing for my inner child, two things inspired me most… The first was the curation of postcards showing rough seas, their photos and paintings by unknown artists. Mesmerising day seas and moonlit seas. Waves crashing against breakwaters. Big waves have always fascinated (and frightened) me. It is touching too, that these artists are now being appreciated, if anonymously.
Plays of light and colour
Tucked away in another hall, I could easily have missed ‘The Coastal Alliance Exhibition: Seaside’. This was the last bit of gallery I saw and perhaps what I most needed to see at that time. Here were images of growing up in the seaside today taken by local schoolchildren, in collaboration with a professional photographer. I seem to recall fish and chips in their paper, a rusty winch, interestingly knotted rope and souvenir shop finds in a collector’s pattern (including little jelly monster finger puppets with wriggly arms, all in a vibrant row – didn’t know they still sold them).
The children had also ‘re-imagined’ (as the gallery’s website says) coastal photos from the archives, both digitally and by using other media. Urban landscapes shifted with new, bright outlines drawn in, aesthetically-pleasing washes of colour appeared on the coastline and neon lines danced against the dark.
As with an insightful book, I plan to go back before these exhibitions end. I’ve already asked a friend if she’d like to join me next time. We’ll probably have coffee in the café with the gorgeous view of Margate Steps and Sands.
P.S.: The photos here are my own. Just a few things that have caught my eye on this coast…