The National Portrait Gallery is presenting a new exhibition of 65 photographs of East Londoners that document the impact of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on their communities. The show will be mounted at Four Corners, Bethnal Green on 9 August 2012.
Using a range of photographic styles and techniques, fine art and photography students from the University of East London have created Facing East, an exhibition resulting from a twelve-week project which focused on themes or groups of sitters in the build-up to London 2012. These include local Games volunteers, people working for the Green Legacy in the Lee Valley, commuters, swimming club members, coffee shop baristas,landlords renting out their rooms, locals on Hackney Marshes and allotment owners.
As well as curating and staging the exhibition under the guidance of National Portrait Gallery staff, the students developed their practice over a ten-week course of master classes and critique sessions led by internationally renowned photographers Anderson & Low, Jillian Edelstein, Brian Griffin, Emma Hardy, Nadav Kander and Bettina von Zwehl.
Over the last three years, these photographers have been commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery as part of the National Portrait Gallery/BTRoad to 2012 Cultural Olympiad project. Their own work can be seen in Road to 2012: Aiming High at the National Portrait Gallery, London, until 23 September, as part of the London 2012 Festival.
Liz Smith, Director of Participation and Learning, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery is delighted to have collaborated with students from the University of East London. Their documentary portraiture provides a thought-provoking insight into local communities during the build up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and adds texture and vibrancy to the overall Road to 2012project.’
Professor Catherine Harper, Dean of the School of Arts & Digital Industries, University of East London, says:
‘This project has given the students a wonderful opportunity to explore contemporary photography and hone their professional skills through working alongside the truly inspirational Road to 2012 photographers.’
Sarah Dimmock, student, University of East London, says: ‘Being part of the Road to 2012 project has been a great privilege and I feel honoured to have met some of the worlds’ greatest photographers. It‘s been an unbelievable journey.’
Road to 2012: Facing East is part of the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
The exhibition can be seen at Four Corners, an organisation committed to promoting artistic participation and inspiring work that wouldn’t otherwise happen. London’s centre for film and photography, it enables people to achieve their potential through their unique facilities.
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.
The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad is the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummer’s Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012. The London 2012 Festival celebrates the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film, comedy and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.