Artists respond to the theme of Sanctuary

Released On 15th Aug 2022

Artists respond to the theme of Sanctuary

Sanctuary - Somerset Art Weeks -  24 Sept - 9 Oct 2022

Artists across Somerset will be responding to the theme of ‘Sanctuary’ for this year’s Somerset Art Weeks, with exhibitions, events and group shows returning after last year’s postponed Festival event.

More than 300 artists will be hosting exhibitions and events in over 100 venues, including loft spaces, tithe barns, stables, museums, churches, farms, libraries, as well as an abbey and a prison!

Members of Somerset Art Works, commissioned artists and bursary winning artists will be showcasing new work, giving local people and visitors to the county the opportunity to discover high quality shows and exhibitions in unique and inspiring locations across the county. 

Artists have interpreted the theme of Sanctuary in many different ways, such as with paintings of the natural world, mindful mark making and a poetic sanctuary. Poet Katrina Naomi and eco-writer Sara Hudston responded to the natural heritage of Alfoxton Park with its links to Wordsworth and Coleridge as the birthplace of English Romanticism. 

Somerset Art Works recently declared a Climate Emergency, and reflecting this, the event has a focus on sustainability. Many of the artists have been inspired by our relationship to the natural world. Others have responded to shared experiences of the pandemic, often highlighting positive changes or allowing visitors to contemplate. 

Siân Cann finds sanctuary walking in the woodlands with her Polaroid camera, absorbing quiet moments in nature and observing the poetry of light between the leaves. The woodlands became more important to her when she began to lose her sight during lockdown, and her documentation of this natural space became her reassurance.

The name Muchelney means 'great island'. In times of flood, the church there provided sanctuary. To reflect this, Jane Mowat has created an installation of embroidery that floods, from the font and down the church nave, sewn with images of native plants.

Wells Art Contemporary Bursary winner Leah Hislop will install a sculpture constructed from handmade, individually folded Origami Building blocks at Kingweston Church near Keinton Mandeville. Triangular folds within the work tie in with the symbol of the number three and The Holy Trinity, along with the concept of guidance and protection.

As well as themes around nature, environment and locality, artists have interpreted the social, spiritual and sustainable elements in this year’s programme.

ACE Arts in Somerton presents Absurd Sewn Selfies by Jenni Dutton, a collection of mixed media explorations into identity, ageing, disguise and power. The work is made using traditional female materials and processes and offers the universal search for relevance in a world that can undervalue older members of society.

A full event programme includes talks, walks and workshops focussing on making art, wellbeing and a return to nature. Each weekend will be Family Friendly, with arts activities for families of all shapes and sizes, encouraging everyone to join in, along with events as part national initiative The Big Draw.

The Somerset Art Weeks Guide is now available in cultural centres, libraries and Tourist Information Points across Somerset and beyond, so visitors can see what’s on, who is taking part and start planning their visits. There is also an Art Weeks page on the Somerset Art Works website with an online version of the Guide, interactive map and event calendar as well as a list of Guide stockists, and the Somerset Art Weeks App will be available to download from September.