‘Dear Angel’ was an emotionally charged, tactile and interactive artwork curated by Suzy O’Hara that captured how people feel about the North East of England. During May 2013, hundreds of participants collaborated with artist Stevie Ronnie to handwrite, type, record, make or illustrate a letter home, addressing it to one of the region’s most recognised cultural icons: the Angel of the North.
Throughout June 2013, visitors to the gallery were welcome to add their own letters to this living record of our region.
Inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels, ‘Dear Angel’ bridged the gap between the written letter as a physical, tactile object and communication technology in the digital age, and explored what the future holds for technology and literature in the wider framework of our evolving digital society.
Alongside ‘Dear Angel,’ we were delighted to present newly commissioned work by four contemporary, internationally acclaimed artists: Victoria Bradbury, Theresa Easton, Russell Maurice and Tom Schofield, photographer Colin Davison and a UK premiere of work by Indian artist collective, Revue. This exhibition engaged us in a deeper conversation with some of the key concepts the ‘Dear Angel’ commission touched upon.
Key themes included: online and offline communication tools and platforms, contemporary engagement with place and its histories, present and future, the impact of urban transformation on place and community, and how artists are using opportunities for mass, global audience participation afforded by digital technologies in the production and experience of art.
Stevie Ronnie is a freelance writer, artist, digital creative and one of the founding directors of the Book Apothecary. His poetry films have won several awards and screened at festivals around the world.