British Art Show 8, Southampton – Opening night

Last night I was invited along to the launch of the British Art Show 8‘s residence in Southampton.

The event took place at Southampton City Art Gallery – which, I’m thoroughly ashamed to say, I have never been to before now. As a self-proclaimed ‘creative soul’, I hang my head in shame.

British Art Show poster

I went along with my friend Laura. After chatting to both new and familiar friendly faces, and discussing how exciting the launch of BAS8 was for the city, we made our way upstairs to explore some of the exhibits that were on offer, taking it all in and mingling with some artists and writers.

We were both particularly taken by Caroline Achaintre‘s woven pieces, especially Mother George, and the portraits by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. I’m very much looking forward to returning to the gallery to have another look around and take it all in in the peace of an everyday visit, away from the hubbub of the launch night! There was a lot to take in.

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Portraits by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

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‘Mother George’ by Caroline Achaintre

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It was brilliant to see so many people there for the launch, and such a range too – people from all walks of life with many different connections to the art world. The place was electric and the gallery echoed with discussions, speeches and music.

Once the public launch event had ended, we headed out to the city for the after party, held at nearby Neighbourhood. The nibbles were good (anywhere that offers delicious marinated halloumi alongside plenty of prosecco makes a good location for a party, in my eyes!), and everyone was networking and chatting. It also made for excellent people-watching too – one of my favourite past times. Although I didn’t know many people at the event, I was very pleased to be involved.

The evening was exciting, and I feel very lucky to have been invited. However, aside from the very well put-together event and launch, I’m very excited to have something like BAS8 in Southampton.

I often find the creative community a tricky one to hunt down, and feel it’s all very secretive. BAS8 will bring out these groups and events and enable anyone and everyone to get involved. Last year I was part of SO: To Speak, the city’s first festival of words, and had a fantastic time getting involved in their performances and workshops, exploring local poetry and performance. BAS8 will hopefully be a similarly inspiring experience.

I am very much looking forward to attending some of the events and workshops for BAS8 and the Southampton Fringe and rekindling my love of art. Having given it up when I went to university, I very much miss painting, drawing and creating pieces of my own!

I’m hoping to blog about some of my experiences during BAS8, which runs in Southampton until 15 January 2017, and I can’t wait to share them with you. If you’re involved in any events, have any recommendations, or want to share your thoughts, please do leave a comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say, so please say hello.

If you’d like to find out what’s on throughout BAS8, they have a list of events and exhibits on their website, and you should check out Southampton Fringe too.


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