‘The Exchange’: An Exhibtion Connecting Culture, Community & Creativity

the exchange2I went along to the opening party of ‘The Exchange’, a collaborative project with artists Noriko Suzuki-Bosco and Orah Bradshaw, in the City Space at Winchester Discovery Centre. The project’s aims are connecting culture, creativity and community and stems from Orah and Noriko’s own postcard art exchange, when they lived in different countries. City Space is a fantastic location for this project to be running: close to The Gallery upstairs, the Theatre Royal next door and the Art Café opposite; this really is a thriving hub of creativity in Winchester.

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Getting crafty on the opening night

Their opening party was bubbling, busy and beautifully laid out, using every bit of space to showcase each element of the project. In the centre of the room is a long table with numerous craft materials and postcards for you to make your own addition to their maze on the wall, of connections with others from the community. The artists have provided everything, from glitter, sequins and craft paper to ribbon, fabric and wobbly eyes! Noriko told me that some local businesses had helped support them by donating some materials towards the project, adding yet another aspect to the community involvement.

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A touch of historical character

Around the room there are various displays: some historical postcards of Winchester in glass cabinets, an old post box to pop your postcards in once they are done, the ‘I Am Here/I Was Here’: the Altered Postcards of Winchester Project, and some of the artists’ other works.

At the far end of the room there is a circle of chairs with a guide on each one: a meditative space for reflection. Around the walls are other artworks from the artists, many using tissue, paper & mixed media to create collages of landscapes. This space provides a chance to sit quietly and take in your surroundings, reflecting on place and time, taking a moment to acknowledge who and where you are.

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Tissue, paper & mixed media by Orah Bradshaw

I asked Noriko what inspired her and Orah for this project and how it came about: “When I moved to Singapore in 2007, Orah and I kept in touch by sending each other a mail out correspondence every month. When I returned to Winchester in 2013, we gave each other back our 7 years worth of mail outs and discussed how our own experience of ‘The Exchange’ could be shared with the wider community. Our discussions developed into the idea for this art project, exhibition and the Winchester community”. The maze is filling up fast and I love how everyone’s personal stories or creative flare adds a unique piece to what is quickly becoming a beautiful, community art piece.

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A maze of connections…

On the last day of the exhibition, Sunday 5th July, there will be a closing tea party where everyone who has taken part in the project is invited to take away someone else’s postcard, in the spirit of the exchange.

The Exchange runs until 5th July 2015 at City Space, Winchester Discovery Centre. For more information about The Exchange click here

Robynne Willowby, May 2015.

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