Home at Resort Studios

To those who are not local, Cliftonville is an area in the town of Margate, which, in recent years, has become run down and the site of considerable deprivation. Resort is a somewhat unlikely recent addition to this particular area yet it continues to work with residents as well as bringing those interested in the arts 'up the hill' from Margate itself.

Resort offers studios and workshops in different artistic practises as well as having facilities for exhibitions, critiques and evening groups. A photographic darkroom is currently being created. It is a real hub for people interested in the arts.

Home is a series of funded residencies for creatives at Resort Studios in Cliftonville. Running until March 2015, "the Home project aims to discover and celebrate what makes Cliftonville special; contributing to the awareness of Cliftonville's unique heritage, architecture and the natural environment. Also helping to engender pride in children, young people and adults living in and visiting Cliftonville."

So, at Resort I first saw the work of Sadie Hennessy. Her project, 'Souvenirs of Cliftonville,' consists of a series of photographic portraits of local residents. Each one is accompanied by a caption that reveals the person's memories of the area. The backgrounds of these portraits are made up of found imagery from the past, resulting in 14 unique digital collages. My favourite piece featured Tanis Swan, a former Miss Margate contestant (right). I felt this particular image portrayed a strong connection between its subject and the past; the image reminds us that despite the passing of time, interests and ambitions do not fade.



The collages that Hennessy is exhibiting are displayed within a pop-up shop that features signage and objects purposefully adding to the overall imagery that we may associate with the area of Margate. The shop is selling souvenirs that she has also produced. These include postcards, soap, sweets, notebooks and perhaps most notably, snow globes. Hennessy is making a very specific comment on the area, featuring a photograph of a kebab shop inside a snow globe. 

In the room next door, I saw the work of Alex Sturrock. 'Open See' is a photographic project for part of which Sturrock has informally displayed a large quantity of 6x4 images on the wall. These are a collection of the work he has carried out with young people from the local area. 


 These photographs were fascinating to look at. Sturrock has been to Slovakia with some of the young people that have moved from the country to Cliftonville and documented their lifestyles. Discovering their journeys and background, 'Open See' is a suitable title for the project given how insightful the work is. The images reminded me of one of my favourite photographers, Nan Goldin, due to Sturrock conveying personal, intimate and ordinary family or social situations in a snapshot style. It was great to see such a positive collaboration with children from the area. 

There are loads of events taking place for Home so it's worth checking out the Resort Studios website to see what's going on. It's really interesting to witness mostly non-local creatives coming to Cliftonville and producing artwork inspired by the place. Vastly open to individual interpretation, I did not know what to expect and I look forward to the work that is still to come from this project. 

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