Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sanctuary Artspace presents: The selfie as mirror of the soul

Gateshead's Sanctuary Artspace, known for it's many and varied exhibits in the past,  has for  this week only, an interactive display art event they hope to move into a more permanent viral format . When asked if this was an one off, Rev Jim Craig said he hoped an online version of this could be set up  and maintained so that more people could participate.

The "how do you see your #selfie " exhibition opened on Monday with over 100 hand drawn selfies, each as unique as the person who drew it.

Ranging from small children to adults and crossing the wide gulf that is perceived artistic talent, the selfies reveal a range of ambitions, emotions and self image. In amongst the many tiny images, I found inspirational combinations of words and images that alone or in juxtaposition to other images revealed a healthy, spiritual and hopeful community. If we as people could find a way to wear our hopes, dreams and desires as clearly as this display does, we might realize that in a very real way that no man is an Island, we are not alone in a sea of utter gloom, nor are the aspirations and connections around us as uniform as we think they are. 

In my own selfie I drew a man who is among the views and vistas he loves, but the instrument I view them with and share with the rest of the world... my camera... was bold, clear, distinct. The camera is revealed as my face to the world, my images,  how I  hope to be seen.  While I was saying don't look at me, look at my work, others were in your face and bold about themselves rather than what they do.

Rev. Jim Craig

The creators of this event, Sanctuary Artspace director Rev Jim Craig and his visiting trainee Vicar Kate Jamie,  were also looking for signs of spirituality and faith. In the art works  we see a variety of  self belief, reliance on faith for guidance and the flame of those who hope that they are in fact good examples to those around them. If there is a word that comes to mind that links both the timid and the bold in these spiritual selfies, it is hope.  Hope that we are the best we can be in the eyes of others, hope that others see us as we are ourselves and hope that what it is we are, is of some use to others.

Is this public made installation, art? Are the various  bits of art meant to be seen solely as unique expressions of individuality and nothing more? I like to see it as the DNA of  those  moved  to lift part of their mask joining up into a single bright lamp.  Be like them, show your soul, be inspired by others.

Cut out the flame , fill it in, add it to the others.

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