Kurt Tong – The Queen, The Chairman and I

© Kurt Tong, courtesy Impressions Gallery

© Kurt Tong, courtesy Impressions Gallery

28 July – 2 September 2017

Turner House

An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition curated by Anne McNeill.

Marking the twenty-year anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, The Queen, The Chairman and I is a fascinating journey into the entwined histories of China and the UK, traced through the family history of photographer Kurt Tong.

Described by Tong as a photographic ‘who do you think you are’, The Queen, The Chairman and I was made over four years across three continents. In this multi-stranded saga of love, hope, and tragedy, Tong uncovers family secrets and reveals the impact of political and economic forces on individual people. Drawing on Tong’s Chinese, Hong Kong and British connections, the exhibition combines new large-scale photographs, alongside heirloom photographs and rare colour film footage from the 1940s. Central to the exhibition is a contemporary Chinese teahouse installation where visitors are invited to drink tea, read Tong’s artist book, and share their own family stories.

Tong’s paternal grandfather was a deckhand who arrived in Hong Kong from Shanghai after the fall of the last imperial Chinese dynasty in 1911, lured by better job prospects in the relatively stable British colony. His mother’s family were landlords in Southern China, Tong believes that they ‘came to Hong Kong and probably escaped certain death at the hands of Mao’s advancing Communist armies.’

Tong grew up in Hong Kong, singing the British National Anthem throughout his school years. He came to the UK to continue his education only returning to Hong Kong in 2012.

Tong says, ‘I traced the history of my family in a bid to find out how two of the most influential people in history, Queen Victoria and Chairman Mao, affected my family. Giving equal importance to new photographs, found photographs and writing, this project reconnects me with the Hong Kong of the past, through the recollections of my extended family, humanising the political and social upheaval that took my family to Hong Kong and eventually to the United Kingdom.’

 

Related Events

Exhibition Preview / Thursday 27 July / 6.00pm / FREE

Chinese Tea Ceremonies / Every Tuesday / 11.00am-4.00pm / FREE

Dreamtigers: A Million Mutinies Later

© Sohrab Hura

© Arko Datto

As part of Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography 2017, Ffotogallery is delighted to present the exhibition A Million Mutinies Later – India at 70, in partnership with the Nazar Foundation/Delhi Photo Festival for UK-India Year of Culture 2017

The future is always to an extent uncertain, but perhaps no more so than now. While globally we have come to recognise this moment through a shared sense of unpredictability, of being in a state of flux accompanied by fear, the collective discomfort arises not only from the current state of affairs but from how these conditions seem ungraspable. Wikileaks, protest marches, coups, and rebellions, have become constant realities in our lives wherever you may live. Yet clarity evades us as we try to comprehend these movements that have changed the very fabric of our global society.

As a modern nation and global economic player, India has been seen on the threshold over the last thirty years – with liberalisation making way for a constant barrage of reforms and revolts, spurred on by the massive changes brought on by the coming of information technology, urbanisation, and a renewed sense of nationalism.  Featuring 14 contemporary Indian artists working in a variety of media, A Million Mutinies Later – India at 70 is an enquiry into not only the real India but the equally present and significant other, i.e. the imagined India, which has significantly evolved and transformed itself in the public sphere and the minds of Indians over the years.

The A Million Mutinies Later – India at 70 exhibition is part of Dreamtigers, a major new Ffotogallery project in which artists and cultural professionals from India and Wales collaborate around the making and presentation of new work that reflects how creativity, technology and a renewed sense of national identity are shaping the lives of future generations.

About the Dreamtigers Project
Dreamtigers is a major new Ffotogallery project in which artists and cultural professionals from India and Wales collaborate around the making and presentation of new work that reflects how creativity, technology and a renewed sense of national identity are shaping the lives of future generations. Dreamtigers brings Ffotogallery together with the Nazar Foundation/Delhi Photo Festival. Central to the project is a commitment to joint working, manifest in reciprocal opportunities for artists and creative professionals from India and Wales to travel to and work in each other’s countries. Dreamtigers is one of eleven projects in Wales supported by the British Council and Wales Arts International under the UK-India Year of Culture 2017.

About Nazar Foundation
Nazar Foundation is a non-profit trust that aims to promote the photographic arts through interactions, exhibitions, publishing and workshops. Though a few well-known Indian photographers have gained recognition abroad, and there has been a growing interest in photography from India, there has not been enough of a movement around contemporary photography within the country. Now there are many more photo practitioners who work independently, spanning different genres of photography rather than being confined by a particular one. Nazar Foundation was born out of the need of these photographers who wanted to come together, to form a community, to share and learn.

Diffusion 2017

1 – 31 May 2017

Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography, Ffotogallery’s biennial city-wide celebration of world class photography and contemporary art, returns 1-31 May 2017 with a month long programme of exhibitions, events and activities.

Diffusion 2017 looks at ‘revolution’ in its widest context, investigating moments of social change, movements around freedom of expression, the pursuit of utopias, human rights and identity.

Find out more

Diffusion 2017: John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins & Marcelo Brodsky

“Committee of 100” by John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, © 1963 ESTATE OF J V L HOPKINS

© Marcelo Brodsky

1 – 31 May 2017, Turner House

 

John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins | Taking Liberties

Between 1960 and 1966 John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins captured the vibrancy of discontent and the emerging counter-culture in Britain, which was expressed through activism, poetic expression and art. This exhibition for Diffusion brings together a selection of images never seen before from the photographers archive alongside others included in the very few public exhibitions of his work to date. Captured here is the historic poetry convention at The Albert Hall in 1965, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King’s first visits to London, Committee of 100 and CND marches, and early anti-racist and pro-Civil Rights demonstrations which illustrate the power of popular protest.

Also on display in the exhibition are materials relating to his involvement in various counter-cultural manifestations such as International Times, and his ‘prison letters’ from 1967 when he was unjustly jailed for cannabis possession. Though the suspected real reason for this was his influential anti-establishment position that was gaining ground in the projects he was involved in.

 

Marcelo Brodsky | 1968 – the fire of ideas

Marcelo Brodsky is an Argentine artist and human rights activist, working with images and documents of specific events to investigate broader social, political and historical issues. In 1968 – the Fire of Ideas Brodsky features archival images of student and worker demonstrations around the world, carefully annotated by hand in order to deconstruct what lay behind worldwide social turbulence in the late 1960s. Images of anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in London and Tokyo sit alongside protests in Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico, Prague and San Paolo against military regimes and oppressive government structures. For decades, Brodsky owned and directed a photo agency with offices throughout Latin America. His sophisticated understanding of picture editing, of how they are sequenced changes the way audiences read images, enables him to use text and graphical devices in association with each image to shift the viewer’s perspective and to reveal new layers of meaning.

 

These exhibitions are part of Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography 2017, taking place throughout May across some 20 venues. To find out more about the festival click here.

Kanu’s Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi telephoning from the office hut in Sevagram Ashram, 1938.
Photograph by Kanu Gandhi / © The Estate of Kanu Gandhi

18 March – 15 April 2017

Ffotogallery, Turner House, Plymouth Road, Penarth CF64 3DH

To launch an exciting new India-Wales collaboration marking the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence and the creation of Modern India, Ffotogallery is delighted to present the UK premiere of Kanu’s Gandhi, a new exhibition of rare and intimate photographs of Mahatma Gandhi by his grandnephew and personal chronicler, Kanu Gandhi.

Kanu Gandhi came to live with Mahatma Gandhi in the Sevagram Ashram and became his lifelong follower. Gandhi allowed Kanu to photograph him on the condition that no flash would be used and he would never be asked to pose. Though some of Kanu Gandhi’s images have been reproduced in books on Mahatma Gandhi, his work went largely uncredited and is now being presented for the first time in the UK as one body of work acknowledged for its historical and artistic importance. Culled from a long forgotten archive, the meticulously researched, painstakingly restored and exquisitely curated by Prashant Panjiar and Sanjeev Saith, Kanu’s Gandhi reveals rare and intimate photographs of the Mahatma during the last ten years of his life.

As David Drake, Ffotogallery’s Director, explains:

“Mahatma Gandhi’s influence on ordinary people and world leaders alike is immense, and his commitment to changing the world through non-violent means is a timely reminder for us all that there is always hope for a better life even in the darkest of times. Ffotogallery is honoured to be presenting this wonderful exhibition on the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence, and to acknowledge Wales’ special relationship with India. We were delighted to learn that the Hindu Council of Wales will be unveiling a new statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Cardiff later this year”

The exhibition is part of Dreamtigers, a year long project which brings together Ffotogallery, the national agency for photography in Wales, and the Nazar Foundation/Delhi Photo Festival. The project uses photography and lens-based media to examine both the ‘real India’ and the equally present and significant other – an Imagined India which in recent years has significantly evolved and transformed itself in the public sphere and in the minds of Indians. Dreamtigers is one of eleven projects in Wales supported by the British Council and Wales Arts International under the UK-India Year of Culture 2017.

 

Related Events

Exhibition Preview / Friday 17 March 2017 / 6pm / FREE

Tea & Cake Tuesday / Tuesday 21 March 2017 / 11am-4pm / FREE

Kurt Tong

Kurt Tong – The Queen, The Chairman, and I

28 July – 2 September

Marking the twenty-year anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, The Queen, The Chairman and I is a fascinating journey into the entwined histories of China and the UK, traced through the family history of photographer Kurt Tong.

Find out more

Dreamtigers – India/Wales

Dreamtigers – India/Wales

Dreamtigers is a new Ffotogallery project in which artists and cultural professionals from India and Wales collaborate around the making and presentation of new work that reflects how creativity, technology and a renewed sense of national identity are shaping the lives of future generations in a globalised society.

Dreamtigers brings us together with the Nazar Foundation/Delhi Photo Festival creating reciprocal opportunities for artists and creative professionals from India and Wales to travel to and work in each other’s countries.

Find out more

Mike Perry – Land/Sea (Tir/Môr)

Mike Perry – Land/Sea (Tir/Môr)

21 Oct – 9 Dec

Land/Sea (Tir/Môr) is a major solo exhibition by Wales-based artist Mike Perry, presented by Ffotogallery. Perry’s work engages with significant and pressing environmental issues and the fragility of the planet’s ecosystems.

Bringing together key works from his Wet Deserts, Môr Plastig and Ffynnonofi series, Land/Sea (Tir/Môr) examines the negative impact of monocultural land use and how consumerism interacts with the erosive power of nature. Opening at Ffotogallery in October 2017, the exhibition travels to Mostyn and Aberystwyth Arts Centre in 2018.

Find out more

Mike Perry – Land/Sea (Tir/Môr)

© Mike Perry

21 October – 9 December 2017, Turner House

Land/Sea (Tir/Môr) is a major new solo exhibition by Wales-based artist Mike Perry, with an accompanying new Ffotogallery publication. Perry’s work engages with significant and pressing environmental issues, in particular the tension between human activity and interventions in the natural environment, and the fragility of the planet’s ecosystems.

In his continuing series Wet Deserts, Perry is looking at the negative impact of monocultural land use and over-intensive cultivation, and the process of ‘re-wilding’ by which nature reclaims its biodiversity. Responding to George Monbiot’s description of the rural landscape as a ‘shadowland, a dim flattened relic of what there once was’, Perry believes that years of an ‘agribusiness dominated dogma’ combined with unsustainable agricultural policy need to be challenged by new thinking around what is good for the human spirit, biodiversity and the planet.

Alongside Wet Deserts, Land/Sea includes selected works from his Môr Plastig series, in which he collects and forensically photographs plastic objects such as bottles, shoes and packaging washed up on the beaches of West Wales, inviting us to consider the environment impact of consumerism and the erosive power of nature.

At the Venice Biennale 2015, as part of the Azerbaijan pavilion Vita Vitale, Perry installed a cabinet of plastiglomerates, stones comprising intermingled melted plastic, sand, shells and other beach sediment he had collected. The objects appeared seamlessly integrated with our marine ecosystems, inviting us to consider the new materiality of our living realm and its technological capacities. Over the last five years, the artist has built up a large collection of these hybrid synthetic/natural objects and photographed them as single images often arranged in formal grids.

Inspired by 1960s/70s minimalism, Perry’s photography avoids the campaigning rhetoric of straight environmental documentary. Rather it poetically alludes to what we might be leaving for future generations, adding a contemporary narrative to minimalist abstraction. The artist explains:

“My intention is to reduce the objects to their pure formal states separating them for a moment from any meaning beyond their sculptural presence. I present the objects as grids or in line sequence emphasising the infinite choice offered by our consumer culture and to provide an aesthetic framework where colours and forms can work off each other”.

Land/Sea (Tir/Môr) is a Ffotogallery Touring Exhibition, curated by David Drake and Ben Borthwick.

Remembering Bob Peters – Special Gallery Event

a-bullet-saved-my-life-cover

Remembering Bob Peters, and his fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War.

A talk by author and broadcaster Greg Lewis, with an accompanying exhibition Wise and Foolish Dreamers about Wales’ role in the Spanish Civil War (by Phil Cope/Welsh Centre for International Affairs)

Bob Peters was born in Penarth in 1914. When his father did not return from World War 1, the family hit hard times. While still a teenager, Bob left to find work in Canada. There, he found politics and returned to Europe to be smuggled into Spain to fight in the Civil War. Badly wounded in the Battle of Brunete, Bob stayed on to work in the dangerous role of motorcycle despatch rider. He found love and adventure in Spain, but also saw the first affects on the world of Hitler’s Fascism. He died in 2007.

Greg Lewis is a television producer & author. He has written a number of nonfiction books on a variety of subjects, including a Bullet Saved My Life, which tells Bob Peters’ story. He has produced more than sixty documentaries for television and radio and has won major broadcast awards from BAFTA Cymru and the Guild of Health Writers UK. His recent work includes Shadow Warriors, a book about female agents during World War 2 and Aberfan, which he wrote with disaster survivor Gaynor Madgwick.

Monday 9 January 2017 / Turner House / from 6pm / FREE