I first encountered The Globe Gallery in an old bank in Blandford square in 2012 while studying Art at Newcastle College. I remember being warmly welcomed by both Rashida and the gallery volunteers who handed me an exhibition publication for Igloo by Sally Underwood & Roxy Walsh. Igloo, curated in negotiation with the building’s past life, set out to challenge the traditional relational boundaries between painting and sculpture. In a vault, a small sculpture resembling a house, in a nook, a painting prompting an abstract memory of being in the womb. I emerged into a grand banking hall flooded with daylight housing a village of Igloo-like structures that called for my curious investigation. Inside one structure I found a strange painting, the silhouette of a leg, with a bird’s head on it’s inner. I felt myself become more aware of myself inside of the den-like space. I was reminded of something Gaston Bachelard said in The Poetics of Space: “…the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”
With enthusiasm I was informed about the exhibition and Globe’s volunteer programme, it wasn’t long before I was helping to renovate the exhibition space, where I was given the opportunity to develop my skills in joinery as well as learning about running an art gallery. Globe lost their regular Arts Council funding in 2012 and had to once again develop a new approach to running the gallery, from North Shields to Blanford square to Pilgrim Street, the gallery had been going strong as a guerrilla space for just over 17 years. I felt a part of a supportive and empowering community, an environment where artists, technicians and volunteers collaborate, share and harness their skills, to ensure the deliverance of quality exhibitions and community projects; I was struck by the ingenuity of the gallery’s pursuit to survive, against all odds. I am sure I am not the only person who will say that the ethos of teamwork and cooperation within the Globe community has resonated with me and informed my approach to creative and personal endeavours.
On a visit home from university in London, I saw an exhibition by artist Gareth Hudson in 2015, ‘Everything was beautiful and Nothing Hurt’. For me, this work approached ideas of transcendence beyond an everyday stupor induced by a society fixated on consumption and the work impacted gallery visitors more deeply than anticipated; some reduced to tears. I bring this exhibition up particularly because I feel it represents something about the ethos of Globe. In Work I, Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt, a recording of Maurice Sendak, author of Where The Wild Things Are, is incorporated into the work where he expresses, with candor a perspective on the fragility, irrationality and comedy of life and the inevitability of and acceptance of death. Globe is approaching such ideas through The Blossom Tree project, that aims to encourage discorse about mental health, grief, suicide and suicide prevention, and in doing this, soften conversational barriers and raise awareness. There is something beautiful about sharing our love and pain, it can make us lighter, more connected, and perhaps even less fearful and more accepting. Through a strong community ethos and work with artists and volunteers, The Globe Gallery accommodates the growth of a much needed support network, providing career development opportunities. When I graduated Chelsea College of Arts in 2016 I returned to Newcastle and was welcomed back into the globe with open arms. In 2019 I exhibited a moving image work, ‘We Are All Liketoys’, shown in the context of the puppets featured, and artist Katie Pickerell and I worked with Globe to set up ‘The Artist’s Boot Sale’, 2017.
For me, art can be a catharsis for both creator and spectator, as it reflects our environments, often shining light on experiences different from our own, as well as reminding us of our universal and shared experiences. I believe that Globe is very aware of and skillful at encouraging, representing and sharing a multitude of perspectives that help us to have compassion in bridging our differences and to become more connected through the recognition of our commonalities.