Opening evening event and artist’s talk: Thursday 21st November, 6.30-8.30pm
exhibition viewable by appointment until 19th December 2013.
Please join us for drinks and an open viewing of our current exhibition
Gillian Holding: The Holy Land (a 21st century travelogue)
Thursday 21st November: 6.30-8.30pm
Free artist’s talk from 7pm
Three years ago, a group of people from within the Leeds Jewish and Muslim communities began meeting together to talk and develop a greater understanding of the other. One outcome of this broad dialogue was a Learning Journey in April 2013 to Israel and Palestine. It comprised a group of ten including four Jews and four Muslims, with the aim of exploring and experiencing together some of the issues arising from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I was privileged to be a member of this group, and have this shared opportunity to visit and to meet extraordinary people from both “sides”.
The Holy Land (a 21st century travelogue) is a body of work made since and informed by encounters on that amazing journey. It also echoes the classical landscape and travelling tourist sketchbook tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries. But on earlier visits, I was absorbed by common humanity and individuals decontextualised from the political situation: the Same Difference exhibitions of 2010 and 2011. On this latest visit, however, I couldn’t escape the politicised nature of the landscape itself. The land and urban scenes depicted in these works can never be “just” landscapes. Superficially ordinary surroundings are background to superficially ordinary daily activities; shopping, playing, walking. But the oddly dissonant elements present remind us that these “normal” lives on both sides are anything but normal.