Our River | The People’s Picture
13 August - 4 September 2021
Departure Lounge are delighted to present Our River, a new exhibition in collaboration with Luton Council and The People’s Picture. Our River is a new public art concept for Luton which will commemorate those lost to the COVID-19 pandemic and celebrate the key workers that supported us and the moments of joy that got us through it. Located on the Mall wall facing the new Open Lea pocket park, the memorial will provide a place for reflection, remembrance, and hope, with the aim of brightening the lives of everyone in the town. The artwork will also exist digitally, enabling loved ones across the world to participate and providing a permanent home for our memories and messages.
Located on the Mall wall facing the new Open Lea pocket park, the memorial will provide a place for reflection, remembrance, and hope, with the aim of brightening the lives of everyone in the town. The artwork will also exist digitally, enabling loved ones across the world to participate and providing a home for our memories and messages of remembrance.
Prior to the production of this new public art piece, this exhibition presents a selection of photographs already submitted by the public, works by Luton based photographers Aleksandra Warchol and June Essex as well as a tapestry by Bedfordshire based artist Sew N Sew. Acting as both a place for reflection and participation, the exhibition will grow throughout its time on display at Departure Lounge, with further images from the public being displayed as the project progresses. Our River welcomes photographs of people that have lost their lives during the pandemic, of the families they have left behind, of our key workers and volunteers and of the joyous moments that defined 2020.
Community Photographer June Essex will be in the gallery on alternate Thursdays and Saturdays for those who wish to have their photograph taken and be part of the artwork. You are invited to visit the exhibition with your own significant photographs. June will sensitvely capture you and your loved ones’ images, along with your memories and stories and add them to the artwork.
For details on how to submit your photographs, please visit ourriver.uk
The People’s Picture
The People’s Picture is a photography and design studio founded by British artist Helen Marshall, that has evolved into a small studio of talented artists, technologists and designers.
Each artwork is assembled from thousands of photos yet every single one tells a story. As an artist-led studio practice, they create innovative photo mosaic artworks and installations at the leading edge of art, design and technology. Pictures are powerful. People connect with pictures. People share their memories, dreams and celebrate through pictures.
Aleksandra is Bedfordshire based documentary photographer specialising in shooting events, people and places. Taking photos since 1998, moved to the UK in 2004. She turned her passion into my profession in 2011. She graduated from University of Bedfordshire where she studied Photography and Video Arts.
Over the years she she’s been working with a number of local companies and organisations including Leighton Linslade Town Council, Luton Borough Council, The Culture Trust Luton, Revoluton Arts, Seraph Agency, Volker Fitzpatrick, BBC Learning and many more . She has also been an official photographer for UKCCA’s Luton Carnival and Imagine Festivals.
Alex photographs in a very unobtrusive way with minimal interaction, her approach is to tell a story as authentically as possible. “Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.”— Diane Arbus .
June Essex is a professional photographer with a lifetime of experience capturing and creating images for press, PR, corporate events, festivals and weddings, photographing everything from Prime Ministers to pop idols and all manner of weird and wonderful things in between.
Her lifelong enthusiasm for all things photographic was sparked as a teenager working as a darkroom assistant at a local newspaper, captivated by the magical process of black and white printing, she eventually trained as a press photographer and gained National Council for the Training of Journalists qualifications.
June, who has lived in Luton for more than 30 years, is now working as a freelancer having navigated the dramatic change from analogue to digital photography and darkroom to desktop processing. She needs no excuse to talk about photography and hopes that sharing her knowledge will help to inspire new talent to flourish!
Of this project, June said:
Lockdown in March 2020 changed our everyday lives in unprecedented ways. Families were separated, work habits changed or lost and travel restricted. Our immediate communities became a central focus for connection and expression during the most challenging of times.
On my daily walks I became acutely aware of a more friendly neighbourhood. The greetings at a safe distance, messages of hope in windows, support for the NHS and key workers and the community spirit that drove many to volunteer and help the vulnerable. I felt compelled to photograph the things I saw and hope that the images will be a lasting record of the pandemic for future generations.