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Vinca Petersen: Make Social Honey – A Collective Search for JOY

29 January – 2 May 2022
FREE / No booking required

This exhibition is people friendly – please come along, interact and relax within the space.

Make Social Honey presents new and existing work by internationally renowned photographer, installation, multimedia, performance and social sculpture artist Vinca Petersen. Her work emerges from a deep understanding and commitment to social and political engagement with underrepresented communities in order to give them a voice and recognition. 

For over 30 years Petersen has created an important body of work that shines a light on Britain’s politically divided society through her unique position organising and documenting the emerging rave scene across Britain and Europe in the 1990s.

During the exhibition Petersen will be active in the gallery archiving her monumental image collection unearthing previously unseen images. Alongside her own images, the exhibition will include documentation from a series of ‘actions’ undertaken in the space with community groups from across Sunderland exploring their own collective JOY – be it through sea swimming, meditation or choir singing.

The exhibition asks us to consider where can JOY be found, is JOY a subversive act within our capitalist society, and how can we come together again after a long period of restrictions and social isolation. 

With thanks to:

Community participants: Creative Age, Sinead Livingston and members of choirs from across the region, Tracey West and Sacred Gongs, Wild Sea Women and Young Asian Voices

Photographer and filmmakers: Pawel Gajek and Celia Medina

Producer: Corinne Kilvington

Archival support: Michael Davidson

Vinca Petersen (b. 1973, born Seoul, South Korea) lives and works in Ramsgate, Kent. Recent exhibitions include Raves and Riots (Solo),Edel Assanti, London, UK, 2021; Night Fever, V&A Dundee, UK, 2021; Sweet Harmony, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, 2019; Seaside Photographed, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK, 2019; and Diaristic Books, Tate Modern, London, UK, 2019.

This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. 

Image: Vinca Petersen, Anarchy Sky, 2000, photographic print on fabric. Courtesy of the artist.


Community Sessions:

Watch below a short video of the community sessions:

Video: Pawel Gajek

Community sessions took place in early February. The sessions included:

Banner making session – Wednesday 2 February

Using paint and inks, Wild Sea Women joined together to celebrate sea swimming with the creation of 2 flags to mark the beach while the women are in the sea. This session allowed the public to join in with conversations and observe the Wild Sea Women creating the banners.

Creative Age – Seated Movement Session – Thursday 3 February

We welcomed members of our Creative Age programme and others to join artist Mona McCarthy for a free seated exercise class within the gallery space to explore the joy of movement.

Choir Workshop – Friday 4 February

Choir leader Sinead Livingston and members from choirs across the region filled the gallery space with sound, celebrating the joy of singing together.

Sacred Gongs – Saturday 5 February

Throughout the day, Tracey West of Sacred Gongs filled the gallery space with the sound of beautiful gongs. The public were able to hear the music and enjoy the calm, healing energy whilst exploring the exhibition. Tracey also provided a free gong bath during which the gallery space was closed to the public.

Young Asian Voices

We welcomed Young Asian Voices young girls group into the space to explore the joy they find in their friends and family through Sari design using paint and textiles.