18 Jun — 17 Sep 2022
Creative Connections Cornwall is a project about people and place in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, and Mounts Bay Academy in Penzance. The project connects young people from Cornwall with the award-winning artist, Joy Gregory, to explore the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection.
Together with portraits by Joy Gregory of people she has met in Cornwall, the students have made new photographs of people significant to them, to be shown alongside the portraits from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection, including two new acquisitions showing for the first time.
During an initial visit to Mounts Bay Academy in May 2021, the students selected portraits from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection. The young people’s choices were based on aesthetic considerations – did they like the portrait image – and whether they felt interested in an individual’s biography, but also addressed issues like representation and language.
The students’ final selection of portraits includes painters, writers, potters, actors, politicians, athletes, musicians and more, and forms the starting point for the exhibition, showing at The Exchange this summer. Sitters include Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Helen Glover, Gluck, Barbara Hepworth, Roger Hilton, D.H. Lawrence, Daphne du Maurier, and Harold Wilson. The chosen works range from photography to painting and drawing and include portraits by artists such as Terry Frost, Yvonne Gregory, John Hedgecoe, E. O. Hoppé, Ida Kar, Sebastian Kim, Man Ray and Madame Yevonde.
The exhibition also includes work and artefacts from local collections related to the sitters.
Check out the interactive map that accompanies the exhibition. It maps the locations of the sitters featured in the portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, as well as a selection of objects that accompany the work, from postcards between artists, to workshop tools, and books.
We are also keen to hear from you, what anecdotes do you have about any of the sitters featured in our exhibition? Share your stories.
Take a look behind the scenes of Creative Connections Cornwall and join the students of Mounts Bay Academy along with Joy Gregory as they embark on a day out in St Ives. They visited three locations linked to different sitters featured in the exhibition; Leach Pottery, Terry Frost’s studio at Porthmeor Studios, and Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gallery & Museum.
Listen to our ArtPod as we talk to artist Joy Gregory at The Exchange, and her London studio about her series of portraits featured in Creative Connections Cornwall, the experience working with the students of Mounts Bay Academy to curate the exhibition, and what’s next on the cards for her.
Read additional information about the sitters and artists featured in Creative Connections Cornwall.
For more information on Creative Connections and to watch the project film see Creative Connections
Also see Read More below.
Joy Gregory’s practice is concerned with social and political issues with particular reference to history and cultural differences in contemporary society. As a photographer, she makes full use of the media from video, digital and analogue photography to Victorian print processes and has a strong interest in portraiture, archives, and representation. Her 2019 portrait commission Breaking Barriers for example draws inspiration from 16th and 17th century portraits to showcase the excellence present in Britain’s Black communities today, but also to show others what can be achieved. Joy Gregory’s work also features in Life Between Islands at Tate Britain (until May 2022) and at Royal Albert Memory Museum in Exeter (In Plain Sight: Transatlantic slavery and Devon, also until May 2022).
Creative Connections Cornwall is part of a wider project, Creative Connections, for which National Portrait Gallery is working in partnership with four museums and galleries across England: Coventry, Sheffield, Southampton and Newlyn. At each location, art students work collaboratively with artists to dive into the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection and discover the portraits and inspirational stories of people associated with their neighbourhood. Their creative response of new artwork offers an insight into community identities and representation, and will be exhibited at each partner venue. Creative Connections is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s transformational Inspiring People project which includes an extensive programme of nationwide activities, funded by The National Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund. These ambitious partnerships with museums, local community groups and schools aim to bring the Gallery closer to communities across the UK.
Creative Connections Cornwall is a National Portrait Gallery project in partnership with Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange.
Creative Connections Cornwall is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund with the generous support of the Palley family and additional support from The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust.