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In Yours Hands at Newlyn Art Gallery

In Your Hands is a group exhibition connecting international artists with people in Cornwall in collaborations to realise or fabricate their artwork. The artists have put the making of their art into the hands of others, placing their trust in them, and embracing the serendipitous outcomes.

While the pandemic has brought restrictions to travel, there is an ever-growing desire to be part of international networks, and In Your Hands explores new connections, inviting a dance between continents; a call and response with words and flowers; and an ode to the home we have all spent so much time in.

Lenka Clayton and Phillip Andrew Lewis are based in Pittsburgh, US, but when visiting Lenka’s hometown of Penzance in 2017, they made an artist research trip to Henry Cowles, the oldest existing net maker in the UK, and still operating from Helston. When invited to participate in In Your Hands, the artists decided to commission a sample of every net, in every colour way, that Henry Cowles supplies, and for it to be stitched together to create a net that could catch everything, but possibly nothing. Based in Newlyn, and using traditional methods, South West Play diversified from fishing nets, and now creates playparks across the Europe. They accepted the challenge to join the diamonds of nets together with the only rule that no two nets the same should touch

Following the success of Extraordinary Postcards, we have once again asked ordinary people, artists, and non-artists, to contribute to a major part of this exhibition. Klaas Rommelaere, a textile artist based in Antwerp, Belgium wanted to make an installation that represented the collective home that we have all spent so much time in. We invited people from across the UK, including members of our Tea, Cake & Art group to send in photographs of their favourite possessions, with a sentence explaining why it meant so much to them. These inspired a design that was sent to each participant, with a sewing kit – a total of 63 adults and 22 children participated. For many this was their first time doing needlework, or revisiting skills not performed for some years, but each has brought a unique personality to this group collaboration.

In Your Hands Curator Blair Todd said: “While connecting international artists with people in Cornwall and the UK to create their work was born out of necessity in a time of lockdown, these collaborations have resulted in many extraordinary and unexpected outcomes for the artists. Helping make each project happen has been incredibly rewarding, particularly emailing, messaging, and zooming with the eighty people across the UK who putting so much time and creativity into their needlework.”

Other collaborations include Arinda Daphine, a poet and dancer, and civil rights lawyer, in Kampala, Uganda, who has devised a new installation of poetry, song, drawing, painting and dance with Shallal Dance Theatre; Benny Nemer, a Canadian artist based in Paris, will send a personal card each week during the exhibition to Zennor Wild, a local florist, who will respond with a different floral arrangement for the gallery – an intimate conversation developing over the summer; through The Interdependence, artist Kate Rich is linking Newlyn Art Gallery to a number of international endeavours by artists to establish alternative economies, including New Dawn Traders; and Georgia Gendall will invite her international networks to participate in her ongoing project Forced Collaboration, by devising instructions for the Gallery’s collective of young artists The Collaborators to create new artworks for the exhibition.

In Your Hands curated by Blair Todd, Programme Curator, is showing at Newlyn Art Gallery until 16 October. The Gallery is open daily until 11 September, then Tue-Sat. See newlynartgallery.co.uk for more details