An exhibition reflecting the people, places and heritage of Fleetwood is coming to the high street this November.
From Now to Nowhere will share stories, words and images gathered and created by artist Hannah O’Hara in collaboration with Fleetwood residents as part of a co-commission with Photoworks. It’s is part of the Fleetwood High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme (HSHAZ).
The photography created as part of this commission will be shared through an exhibition in Fleetwood with host venues including Fleetwood Museum, Fleetwood Library and Fleetwood Market. The exhibition will launch on 4th November from 1pm starting with an exhibition tour, followed by opening remarks. There will be a reception from 2-4pm at the North Albert Grill featuring complimentary drinks and a seaside-themed afternoon tea.
As part of the HSHAZ Cultural Programme, funded by Historic England, HM Government, Arts Council England, Heritage Fund with support from Wyre Council, a series of creative commissions have been taking place in collaboration with artists and community members to explore and celebrate the town’s heritage. They are part of Fleetwood’s three-year cultural programme, Nothing to Now.
My focus as an artist has been to immerse myself within the culture of Fleetwood.
The first phase of the project included contributions from artist Kate Eggleston-Wirtz and animator Trevor Woolery that explored Fleetwood’s 1841 census data and memories of Fleetwood’s high street. The second phase of this project has yielded exciting new artwork now visible on the high street, including a series of illustrations co-created with students and community members with artist Laura-Kate Draws and a new large-scale mural by Blackpool-based street artist Christian Fenn, aka Seca One.
O’Hara’s creative commission is the latest strand of the project. Her work explores the unique heritage of Fleetwood, its people, their stories and connection to place through photography as well as the legacy of the fishing industry in this town. Her art reflects the area’s strong and supportive community of workers and residents, as well as their pride in this unique town.
O’Hara is a Sussex-based artist with family roots in the north west. Her photography investigates temporality, place and memory. Spending time in Fleetwood she says she’s developed many relationships while creating this work.
“My focus as an artist has been to immerse myself within the culture of Fleetwood,” she says. “Over the last year I have met and worked with so many kind individuals who have helped me develop this project and given their time freely and told their stories openly.”
O’Hara has developed and delivered over 12 workshops and events and spent time getting to know Fleetwood’s residents through a series of visits to the town.
“Hannah’s dedication to this work and getting to know the people in Fleetwood has helped to create opportunities for connection to shape the stories connected to Fleetwood’s past in ways that are meaningful to people in the present,” says arts engagement coordinator for the project Angelica Vanasse. “She has gotten to know people in Fleetwood across the high street and its businesses, in cultural organisations, care homes and in community environments.
“The exhibition of the artwork created in collaboration with Fleetwood’s residents reflects their heritage, stories, memories and connection to place in ways rooted deeply in the present, and being proud of the place they call home.”
Julia Bunnemann, curator at Photoworks says participation has been key to O’Hara’s practice.
“It has been brilliant to witness the genuine connections that have emerged as a result of her artistic exploration over the past eight months,” she says. “Hannah fostered strong connection with individuals within numerous local communities, inviting residents across all ages and socioeconomic strata to actively engage and contribute.
Hannah managed to encourage conversation around the transformations occurring in Fleetwood.
“In doing so, she offers a unique perspective, characterised by a combination of external viewpoint and personal connection… Hannah managed to encourage conversation around the transformations occurring in Fleetwood, while also enhancing the community’s comprehension of the town’s historical and aesthetic aspects.”
A number of elements of this project have focused on partnering with a varied spectrum of Fleetwood residents. Over the course of six months, O’Hara led photography trips throughout town, formed sharing groups and took part in heritage events. Residents have posed for photos and shared their often-humorous stories of their Flyde coast experiences.
O’Hara’s black-and-white pictures at the Fleetwood Market Gallery represent a broader group of people who live and work in the town and are drawn in by the strong feeling of community. She has also collaborated with a local residential home to develop cyanotypes and photographic collages that will be shown alongside images made by individuals on photography walks. This installation created by the community will be shown at the local library while a photographic sculpture exploring the history of the promenade will also be on show at the Fleetwood Museum.
From Nothing to Now runs from 4th-28th November in various venues around Fleetwood. To book your free place at the opening reception click here.
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