New city gallery opens its doors

Friday 25 November 2011

Yvette Bozsik Dance Company perform at launch of University's new gallery and exhibition spaceSouthampton Solent University celebrated the opening of Solent Showcase, its new gallery and exhibition space in the University’s city centre building last night.

The new venue opened with an exhibition of works from Professor Richard Demarco’s personal archive and an exhilarating performance from the Yvette Bozsik Dance Company.

The new venue is the first major addition to Southampton’s emerging cultural quarter and was officially opened during the University’s Graduation Week celebrations by the University’s Chancellor, Admiral The Right Honourable Lord West of Spithead.

Southampton Solent celebrated the opening with an invited audience of representatives from the art world, Southampton City Council and members of the community.

The inaugural exhibition named ‘Nine Artists, Nine Narratives’ was drawn from the extensive archive of Professor Richard Demarco OBE CBE - who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University on Friday 25 November. The University was delighted to be able to borrow his eclectic collection of works featuring renowned artists of international repute such as Joseph Beuys, Paul Neagu and Ian Hamilton Finlay.

Invitees to the gallery opening were also treated to an intimate performance from the Yvette Bozsik Dance Company. The dance troop from Budapest wowed the audience with a mix of thought-provoking and expressive contemporary dance reflecting the atmosphere of the new exhibition space at Solent Showcase. The piece entitled ‘Miss Julie’ featured talented dancers Samantha Kettle, Tímea Fülöp and Szabolcs Gombai, directed by Marcell Ivanyi.

The opening of Solent Showcase coincides with the expansion of art courses and the development of a new space for The Solent School of Art and Design close to The Bargate in the city.

Solent Showcase will feature contemporary visual art that encourages engagement, discussion and participation with the whole community. Up and coming national and international artists will be supported by the venue to provide examples of contemporary art to inspire students and a wider audience.

Admiral The Right Honourable Lord West of Spithead who officially opened Solent Showcase said: “This is an example of collaboration to get Southampton moving in its cultural life and Solent Showcase is the manifestation of that. Southampton Solent University has the largest Arts and Creative Industries Faculties outside of London and the University should be congratulated on this exciting space- it truly is a wonderful thing.”

Les Buckingham, Gallery Curator for Southampton Solent University added: “Our new gallery space will facilitate more exhibitions and performances in the city centre and will work in harmony with the city’s cultural quarter activities. It’s fabulous that that the University is able to display works from Professor Demarco’s personal archive here at the opening of Solent Showcase and that he could be honoured with a doctorate this year for his commitment to the Arts over many years.” 

Admission to Solent Showcase is free. The exhibition is on display until 28 January 2012.

Southampton Solent University offers more than 19,000 students over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects such as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology.

Professor Richard Demarco OBE CBE is a household name in his native Scotland and much celebrated across most of Europe. Over the past 60 years Professor Demarco has built an archive of global cultural and academic importance. He has arguably been the single most important contributor to the Edinburgh Festival since its post-World War II inception in 1947, and has long acted as its conscience. He was a co-founder of the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in 1963 and three years later established the Richard Demarco Gallery which doubled as a performance venue during the Edinburgh Fringe and ran from 1966 to 1992.For many years, it promoted cultural links with Eastern Europe, presenting artists such as Paul Neagu, Marina Abramovic, and Tadeusz Kantor's Cricot 2 group.

The Solent Showcase is situated at Solent Conference Centre, Sir James Matthews Building, 157-187 Above Bar Street, Southampton, SO14 7NN.


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