The Social also showcased the work of a number of emerging and established photographers who were selected through an international open call, enabling selected artists to bring existing work to Sunderland or new work to completion: Chris Harrison; Gillian Gilbert; Michele Allen; Ananda van der Pluijm; Brenda Burrell; Daniele Sambo; Juliet Chenery-Robson; David Bate; Peter Fryer; Harry Hall; Karen Ward; Louise Taylor; Mark Henderson; Aaron Guy; Arabella Plouviez and Paul Alexander Knox.
Key exhibitions for The Social included You are the Company in Which You Keep (parts 1 and 2) at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. Curated by Alistair Robinson in collaboration with NEPN, You are the Company brought the two neighbouring venues together for the first time in a joint exhibition that explores some of the ways in which photographers and artists map out our new social networks.
The Post-Colonial Photo Studio at NGCA’s Project Space was curated by Alexander Supartono. The artists exhibited: Adytama Pranada (Indonesia); Risang Yuwono (Indonesia); Helen Marshall (UK); Julius E. Muller (Surinam/The Netherlands); Samsul Alam Helal (Bangladesh); Dow Wasiksiri (Thailand); Yee I-Lann (Malaysia); Collection of the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), revisit stereotypes from colonial-era portraiture to question their place in their nations’ histories and cultures. The exhibition questioned how far the photographic studio techniques and practices that developed in the colonial era continue to influence the world of images in what is often described as a ‘post-colonial’ age.
‘Aim and Fire’ presented by Locus+ in partnership with NEPN and Durham Art Gallery was the first exhibition of work by Sarah Pickering in the North East. The exhibition includes works from Explosion, Incident and Fire Scene as well as Celestial Objects, a new commission by Locus+, in partnership with NEPN.
In parallel and as a complement to the venue-based exhibitions, The Social also incorporated various public contexts and sites that enabled different forms of social engagement with new projects: in metro stations, at Sunderland Minster and the city’s Bridges shopping centre. Large-scale photographic installations were also encountered on windows at the National Glass Centre and The Bridges car-park, on the façade of Sunderland’s old fire station and on a number of advertising sites around the city centre.
The Social: Encountering Photography was programmed by Carol McKay and Amanda Ritson of NEPN in partnership with Alistair Robinson, Programme Director at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland.