MSL worked with Fabrica Gallery Brighton and British artist Ron Haselden on this exhibition for Fabrica and the Brighton Festival, which took place from 9th April to 30th May 2016.
Luminary was a series of beautiful LED light drawings exhibited in two parts: a monumental walk-through installation at Fabrica, and then in May during Brighton Festival, a series of smaller works based on children’s drawings could also be found in neighbourhoods in the city.
The exhibition at Fabrica, developed from drawings by older people, combined two ideas in one: literally that the artwork itself emits light, and metaphorically that older people bring important knowledge and a longer perspective to the rest of society.
Luminary stemmed from the artist’s love of drawings produced by an ‘untutored hand’, and sketches by young children and older people provided both the inspiration and material for the final works. Using LED light rope, the artist transposed a selection of drawings to a larger scale, retaining and amplifying the power, spontaneity and uninhibited style of each original.
Ron Haselden has been working with this technique for the past ten years – often choosing to work with the drawings of those who are the least visible and vocal in our society: young children, prisoners and, now, older people. Luminary offered the singularity of an artist’s vision, yet shed a genuine light on the perspectives of others.
As a septuagenarian, he found himself reflecting a great deal on being older. Many older people do not find it easy to have their voice heard as contemporary life rushes on. The value of the older person, for the main part, slips too readily out of sight. I see the work, Luminary, as giving older people much more visibility, by presenting in quite a confrontational way, very large illuminated drawings in very public spaces.
Luminary was generously supported by the Baring Foundation and Arts Council England.
Photos by Tom Thistlethwaite