The Great Exhibition of the North, a big showpiece event, is no substitute for proper funding of arts and culture.
Events like the Great Exhibition of The North (GEOTN) might have given the impression of a thriving creative landscape, but the reality is different. The event was used to Artwash government policies of austerity and privatisation. Years of cuts have left many communities across the country adrift and without the creative resources, community spaces and services which are vital in preserving and shaping our cultural identities.
Community art Costs Less than War are a series of prints (photoetching & silk-screen) touching on the Art Not Arms campaign initiated in March 2018 in response to the announcement of BAE Systems premier sponsorship of GEOTN.
The campaign successfully forced organisers to drop the controversial weapons maker and arms supplier to the Saudi regime as a premier sponsor of the GEOTN. This campaign launched The OTHER Great Exhibition of the North, by local community groups, artists, trade unionists and campaigners covering Newcastle, Tyneside, Durham, Sunderland & Teesside.
Art is a Powerful Tool celebrates the success of the Art not Arms campaign. A series of prints (photoetching & silk-screen), the work references icon northern industrial architecture and design with traditional broadside posters.
Exhibited at 36 Lime Street gallery, during the Ouseburn Festival weekend, the gallery was transformed into a studio for a week.
Young people and groups were invited in to create prints in response to the idea of artwashing and what art & culture mean to them.