Celebrating the objects we love will be the theme of an exhibition at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery early in the new year.
The Looking at Things project has been developed by ExploreTheArch theatre company with students from Hastings and Bexhill Mencap. The students have been exploring the relationship between themselves and the objects that they are drawn to.
The project was inspired by a pre-lockdown trip visit to Teddy Tinker’s antiques and collectors’ emporium in St Leonards-on-Sea. The visit to source objects for the Active Arts community’s exploration underlined how the relationship with an object that resonates is similar to the act of falling in love with someone.
Ann Bloomfield of Hastings and Bexhill Mencap explains: “Looking at Things opened our eyes and captured our imaginations – the ‘WOW – I love that!’ response was immensely powerful and has given students an opportunity to create and explore their emotions and memories.”
Throughout lockdown, the Hastings and Bexhill Mencap students have been drawing, painting, modelling and discussing the objects that they have been drawn to – and sharing their explorations on social media. This has led to the wider community across town joining in by contributing their own ‘objects of desire’ with the #LockdownLookingAtThings.
For example, artist Laurie Piper shared a photograph of a Jay feather that he found when he was looking for a safe place to sleep in the middle of a forest. Others have chosen to celebrate their sewing machines, typewriters and cameras – or candlesticks, paintings and souvenirs from foreign lands.
“Online contributions to the project reveal that it’s a joyful and fascinating way to get to know people, listening to their thoughts on what an object they cherish means to them. It is all about how we look and what is ignited when we see something that we love”, explains ExploreTheArch’s artistic director, Gail Borrow.
To participate in the online project, send a photo portrait of you with an object you treasure, along with a brief story of what it means to you or a short video, 20 seconds or less to email@example.com. Or simply share your photo or video via social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) with the hashtag #LockdownLookingAtThings. The growing collection of images and stories can be viewed at:
An exhibition inspired by the project will open on Jan 23rd at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.