39-41 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, United Kingdom This blog is for all New Art Exchange audience members to give their opinions and reviews, and to discuss exhibitions & events. Got something to add? Email:

26 July 2012



23 July 2012

'Have a break, get your draw on!'

The technicians are in residence again at the NAE while we prepare for the launch of the Culture Cloud Exhibition on Thursday (more details can be found here). 

After working hard installing the 40 artworks voted to be in the exhibition, local Artist Ging has a break with a cuppa and a pen and gets down to some drawing!

19 July 2012

Cafe Re-Opens

Our work experience las- Ingrid cut the tape on our newly improved cafe today! Come and take a look and enjoy our range of delicious international food and drinks Tomorrow, Saturday and everyday! (apart from Sundays)

13 July 2012

Hetain Patel:At Home exhibition
"...Using family members helps us all relate. I'm gonna call my Mum and Gran now!..."
- This 'Comment of the Page' was picked by EVS volunteer Shaden Meleas. Thanks to Hetain Patel for making us all feel a little more 'At Home'.
For every page of the comment book in the NAE gallery we're picking the best comment and publishing it on the blog... will your comment be **COMMENT OF THE PAGE**?

09 July 2012

Article by Kate Martin

In conversation with Leah Gordon

Once a year the Hatian coastal town of Jacmel hosts a assortment of Mardi Gras festivities, an event that has been brought into the spotlight through Leah Gordon’s evocative photographs. I have been excited to get my first chance to view Leah Gordon’s exhibition Kanaval ever since I first caught sight of this programme. So when I got the opportunity to hear the artist discuss her work in person I seized the chance; after all who better to provide us with an insight to her work than the artist herself!

If I was starting on a ‘light’ note I would propose that ethnology, anthropology, and classification belong to group of prevailing western discourses that have historically informed the roots of ‘intellectual imperialism’. Yes there was a hint of sarcasm in the use of the word ‘light’! Hopefully this blog won’t read like a maze of indecipherable jargon like when you first chance upon a Homi Bhabha text (I have been there and re-read those texts to many times!)

 In many ways the camera itself was often used as a weapon in colonial domination and its images contributed a hierarchy of power; responsible for upholding the hegemonic cultural order. Difficulties lie in who is being represented and who is doing the representing. So why does Gordon choose to use methods which traditionally have such negative connotations when representing non western culture?

Upon entering the exhibition I found it compelling that Gordon’s images manages to avoid unravelling into a series of essentialist undertones. Gordon raised concerns that a lot imagery had a tendency to portray Haiti as lifeless or dead; both literately and metaphorically. She spoke of how she believed that there was a need for more engagement with the living and their transitional relationships.

In a frank but applaudable statement Gordon stated she felt more comfortable working in black and white film and in many ways her ‘aesthetic is produced through her limitations as a photographer’. Beyond the technical aspects involved Gordon believes that black and white film allows for an exploration of history; a retelling of a history from the ‘others’ perspective. Significantly, Gordon negates her position as storyteller and instead juxtaposes her images alongside their oral histories. This union allows the images them to become active advocates for Haitian people and their culture.

The streets become Gordon’s studio as she stages the photos in what she described as a ‘fashionably distressed’ look. Gordon aims to capture her subjects as they ‘meander’ as there is no pre-prescribed route for the carnival. The images themselves portray the satirical and composite nature of the carnival, which Gordon termed an ‘uncommodified parade’.

People are shown to be wearing exaggerated costumes, which are both sinister and provoking.  There are he’s dressed as she’s, zombies, whores, depictions of the dead, devils and saints. Lancers du Cord’ are often adorned with horns for intimidation and the ropes that bound the slaves. ‘Chaloska’ depicts the Chief Charles Oscar renowned for his corruption and brutality. Many of the costumes illustrate the revolt against slavery and the solidarity that transpired, which forms such an integral part of Haitian history.

The ‘masquerades’ ability to allow its wearer to assume an alternative identity, one which could violate a variety of hierarchies is fascinating. Gordon’s photos depict the interplay between masks, costume and storytelling and appear to suspend time and history. Gordon manages to produce equilibrium between the contextual and the visual resulting in visually striking images with and multifaceted narratives. This is a process of encounter; encountering oneself and encountering ones other.

Leah Gordon :  Kanaval will be on until 11 August in the Mezzanine Gallery.

Join Alice Thickett, Editor of the NAE blog and Project Manager of No Official Name for a Gallery Walk and Talk. Learn more about the artistic themes, and share your opinions about the work.
Saturday 11 August, 12pm
Admission: FREE
Age range: All are welcome