Our first solo exhibition at the ONCA gallery was a huge milestone for us, bringing our full collection of artwork together for the first time.
We invited visitors from the Brighton community, as well as our friends and family, to collectively celebrate biodiversity and shine a light on some of the world’s most endangered species.
Throughout the week we invited visitors of all ages to get stuck into the screenprint process themselves, to breathe new life into old garments, from tote bags to tee shirts, jumpers to jackets. We were blown away by their reactions, and heartened to see people walking away wearing their handprinted clothing with pride. Our experience at ONCA opened our eyes to the power of these pop-up print workshops which have now become a core arm in our Under the Skin toolkit for our mission to engage people in environmental issues.
The print workshops also added context to the print process behind our art collection on display – the visitors were learning to screenprint one or sometimes two layers, surrounded by pieces of artwork that were printed with up to 17 layers (and finished with a UV layer!). People saw the artwork with an added level of appreciation after getting a hands-on insight into the handcrafted process themselves.
If there is one thing we learned from the ONCA exhibition, it is the importance of public engagement. We could feel the buzz of interest in conservation as we had fascinating discussions with people from all walks of life – some knew nothing about the extinction crisis, others had a wealth of knowledge. We left ONCA on a massive high, feeling inspired and motivated to keep up the momentum, and now have plans to take Under the Skin on the road for a UK tour!
Image Credit: Alex Sedgmond
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