Arnolfini Announce Winter 2020/2021 Health and Wellbeing Exhibition Programme

Jo Spence Only when I got to fifty did I realise I was Cinderella (03) 1984 in collaboration with Rosy Martin All images by Jo Spence © The Jo Spence Memorial Archive, Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada.

Arnolfini, Bristol’s international centre of contemporary arts, has announced their revised Winter 2020/2021 exhibition programme, post lockdown, as part of a focus on health and wellbeing.

From 4 December through to 21 February 2021, Arnolfini present a major retrospective of the work of photographer Jo Spence (1934 – 1992), drawn from The Hyman Collection, which is one of the most comprehensive collections of Spence’s works in the world. Spence has been an integral figure within photographic discourse from the 1970s onwards. Throughout her diverse projects she is well known for her highly politicised approach to photography and the representation of her own struggles with cancer. The exhibition From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy focuses on the intersection between arts, health and as a medium to address personal trauma, reflecting on key moments in her past. This will be the first time that her thesis will be exhibited and published in its entirety. Entitled “Fairy Tales and Photography, Or, Another Look At Cinderella”, this was a pivotal document, created at a crucial point in Spence’s career. The exhibition will focus on the actual smallscale photographs that Spence used in her phototherapy sessions as well as the laminate panels that she used for her workshops and touring exhibitions.

From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy juxtaposing humour with inevitable challenging issues. Themes include Cinderella and Fairytales, Remodelling Photo History/Medical History, Childhood, Child and Parent Relationships, Libido/Sexuality/Marriage, The Grotesque.

Jo Spence: From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy is curated by Keiko Higashi, Engagement Producer at Arnolfini, with Dr. Frances Hatherley, writer, researcher and archivist at the Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive at Birkbeck, University of London.

Sitting along side Spence’s work is A Picture of Health, a group exhibition of contemporary women photographers from The Hyman Collection who have responded to subjects of health and wellbeing. Featuring autobiographical perspectives to social commentaries on the wider society, A Picture of Health is a timely exhibition as those throughout the world are united by the effects of the current global pandemic.

The exhibition, which is also planned to run from 4 December to 28 February 2021, and its forthcoming programme have been co-curated by creativeShift cic and Fresh Arts Bristol leading organisations, providing creative wellbeing activities, to adults who are experiencing or are vulnerable to, isolation and mental health challenges. A Picture of Health aims to de-stigmatise subjects around mental health and create an environment in which people can have open conversations about their wellbeing, whilst including the voices of local people with lived experiences of mental health.

The exhibition includes work by Heather Agyepong, Sonia Boyce, Eliza Hatch, Susan Hiller, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Anna Fox, Rosy Martin (in collaboration with Verity Welstead),  Polly Penrose, Jo Spence, and Paloma Tendero, exploring a range of thematic concerns such as:

The Hidden Self: Responses to hidden disabilities, looking at the difference between what is seen on the outside compared with what we are experiencing on the inside.

Trauma: Looking at the physical and psychological effects of trauma, be it transgenerational or ongoing.

Environment: Artists responding to how the environment (the people and places we live in) affect our health and wellbeing.

Care: The important dynamics between carer and cared for.

Running alongside A Picture of Health, will be an Artist’s Film programme ‘Look at this skin it keeps changing‘,  documenting a range of experiences of wellness, recovery, and ageing by artists including Anna Fox, Helen Petts, Vicky Smith and Bristol based mental health charity, Many Minds.

Admission to the exhibitions is free and bookable in advance at and
via socials @ArnolfiniArts.

For more details please visit the direct link.