Tom Hunter’s A Sideshow of a Sideshow will be showing at the Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of Communication, London.
6th until the 15th of March 2018
Opening party, 6th March, 4-7pm
PARC space, W224, London College of Communication.
Elephant and Castle,
London, SE1 6SB
A Sideshow of a Sideshow is part of University of the Arts Research Fortnight
It will be 100 years in 2019 since the end of the First World War and the defeat of the Turkish-Ottoman Empire and its surrender of the Arabian Peninsula. This sparked the dramatic geo-political events and the carving up of a once-united area into the modern day Middle Eastern countries that we recognise on the map today. The uprising which was at the fore of the Ottoman defeat was driven by a dream of freedom by the Arab people. It was supported by the British and French and spearheaded in part by an idealistic British intelligence officer, T. E. Lawrence.
In this project Tom Hunter has investigated the myth and legacy of the late T E Lawrence (1888-1935). This myth took on epic proportions with the making of the David Lean blockbuster film, Lawrence of Arabia. The idea behind the project is to deconstruct this myth and take the viewer on a journey that both illuminates the past life of Lawrence and investigates the British relationship with the Middle East in terms of military occupation, cultural identity, historical relationships and the consequences of imperialism. Growing up in Dorset near where Lawrence lived and died on a motorbike, his life-story has always connected with Tom. When Tom returns to Dorset and visits his local church in Wareham, where Lawrence is buried and the stone effigy of him is displayed, Tom is reminded of the notions of youth, death and Lawrence’s legacy within Arab culture and history. This seems as poignant today as then, as people continue to be sacrificed in power struggles in the Middle East.
Some of the works illustrate key moments from Lawrence’s life and have been made in collaboration with people from the region whilst Tom was an artist in residence at Darat al Funun in Amman, Jordan. Other works were made in collaboration with groups of displaced people in the region through running workshops in Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps. In these workshops, the participants have made works which reflect on their experiences of communities being uprooted and relocated. Tom has also completed works closer to home in the Jungle camp of Calais where refugees have created makeshift encampments in the sand. This takes the story full circle as they desperately try to reach the UK, where Lawrence set off from over a hundred years ago.
Research Fortnight is our annual celebration of research across UAL. This year’s programme at LCC dives deep into the creative work of staff and students. It features events and exhibitions exploring themes of conflict, reconciliation, displacement, refugee experience, and social justice.
Central to research in our schools of Screen, Design, and Media is a commitment to socially engaged practice made visible in our teaching and accessible to our students. Join us as we examine contemporary cultural politics through creative practice.
6 – 15 March 2019.
Exhibition is free
Open from Monday – Friday, 11am – 4pm