New photography exhibition – 21/22 November

Our ground-breaking photography exhibition called ‘The Luminous’ – exploring different notions of beauty through the eyes of women from Sneinton – will be open to the public on Wednesday 21 November and Thursday 22 November from 12pm to 6pm at Surface Gallery, 16 Southwell Road, NG1 1DL.

The exhibition, created by our community-led creative programme ‘Place’, in partnership with the Muslim Community Organisation (MCO), will feature stunning portraits of Sneinton women, taken by the internationally-renowned, award-winning photographer, Laura Dicken.

Laura explained:
“The Luminous explores non-conventional aspects of beauty experienced by individual women from a variety of cultures, ages and life experiences.

“The exhibition hopes to challenge ideas around mainstream beauty in terms of how it’s packaged and sold to women, often from a very Western-centric perspective, and its preoccupation with youth and perfection, by exploring different cultural notions of what beauty is, how multifaceted it can be and people’s idea of what their own beauty is.

“Through the portraits featured in the exhibition, I’ve aimed to capture the essence of the project and the unique beauty of the individual women taking part.”

The exhibition has involved bringing women together from the varied cultures that make Sneinton such a vibrant place to live, to explore what beauty means to them. We started by inviting local women along to two free natural skincare workshops in September run by Sadie Houston, an accomplished beauty therapist, held at MCO and Bakersfield Community Centre.

Local women got chance to enjoy a little pampering as they learnt how to create their very own natural beauty products for hands and nails, including scrubs, masks and hand creams, and how to give themselves a manicure at home. At the workshops, women shared their personal stories of beauty, including sharing beauty secrets that have been passed down through the generations, to explore both contemporary and ancient notions of beauty, and got to know more about the project and Laura Dicken.

A number of the women who came along to the workshops were inspired to take part in the exhibition and have their portrait taken by Laura, to help share conversations around beauty with other women around Nottingham and beyond, through the exhibition at Surface Gallery, which is also set to go online to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Suzannah Bedford, our Creative Director, said:
“It’s been wonderful to hear women’s different opinions on beauty and what beauty means to them as an individual. It became wonderfully apparent at the workshops that most women believe that beauty comes from within and many felt at their most beautiful when they were doing something that mattered to them, from singing to cooking for the family.”

Photographer Laura Dicken has been involved in a number of high-profile national exhibitions so it’s a real coup for Nottingham to feature her work. Laura’s recent exhibitions include ‘209 Women’ – 209 portraits of the UK’s 209 female MPs taken by female photographers to mark the centenary of the first vote for women; 100 Masters – a campaign to inspire future talent in the Black Country by celebrating contemporary skilled people from the region; and Paris Photo – the first international fair dedicated to photography.

‘The Luminous’ is the first artist commission by our community-led creative programme ‘Place’, which is based on Sneinton Market Avenues.

Anyone is welcome to go along to The Luminous exhibition on 21 or 22 November from 12pm to 6pm at Surface Gallery – entry is free.

To find out more about The Luminous exhibition or Place please email us or visit Place on Facebook