Juan Bolivar, Carla Busuttil, Simone Bynoe, Paula Chambers, Alice Cunningham, Ana Čvorović, Kazz Douie, Lucas Dupuy, Alastair Gordon, Kirsty Harris, Justin Hibbs, Andrea Jespersen, Evy Jokhova, Peter Kennard, Peter Liversidge, David Lock, Alex March, Megan McLatchie, Vanessa Mitter, Hugh Mendes, Judith Tucker, Toby Ursell, Virginia Verran, Ben Woodeson.
Rules of Freedom - a rhetorical oxymoron or fact? Freedom requires rules, laws and clear parameters of some sort - transparent systems; a democracy where people have free speech, where people can protest / vote or strike about the issues that matter to them. After so many years of both women and men working to build a civil society that seeks to make the world freer, fairer and more progressive, whether through the vote for women and the working classes in the People’s Representation Act 100 years ago, the civil rights movement, political freedoms, LGBTQ+ rights or the freedom of movement, the world now seems to be questioning the very rules of freedom. Where are we now?
In the 21st century digital age we are becoming aware that the freedoms that we have come to take for granted and our very democracy is under threat. Fake News skews votes, phones and elections are hacked, propaganda prevails, social media used to bend the truth. Propaganda has become both an invasive and an evasive aspect of our societies. How can we untangle the spin and find truth within 24-hour news cycles and an information saturated context? What information can be trusted when every truth or fact can be denied or revised?
The title of this exhibition comes from an album by Nathan Davis in 1967; an under-recognised jazz musician who through the late 1950’s and 1960’s alongside his peers, broke down past jazz conventions to get beyond their limitations. Davis was instrumental in the development of Free Jazz, which was not only a rejection of certain musical beliefs and ideas, but a direct reaction to the oppression and experience of black America, which ultimately allowed musicians to speak freely and without censorship through a new language about the social tensions of racial integration and the civil rights movement. These musicians serve as an exemplar of how creative freedom reacts to social or artistic parameters- artists of often being at the frontier of free expression and using it to push at boundaries and question societal norms, values and laws. This is an exhibition that celebrates emancipation, rules and rule breakers and looks at how these impact upon identity, the human condition and our experiences. From themes interrogating feminism, LGBTQ+, migration and freedom of movement it also reflects upon the impact of freedom of speech, conflicts of power as well as considering rules that should be put in place to protect social justice and safeguard not only our histories but our futures. The exhibition celebrates artists from diverse and international backgrounds including; Bosnia, Denmark, Jamaica, Johannesburg, Russia, South Africa, South America, Zimbabwe and the UK and range in age from 23-69.