The latest exhibition at Hoxton’s Peer Gallery opened on Tuesday with a twist — the exhibition’s guides aren’t art world insiders, but six young people with links to the Hoxton community.
For most of them, showing visitors around the installation art — a nightmarish reimagining of a Punch and Judy show — was their first time working in a gallery.
Ania Bas, who oversees the gallery’s relationship with the Hoxton community, told the Hackney Post that the gallery does not usually employ guides, as visitors are “left to their own devices”.
But the new employees will bring in an “inquisitive approach to looking at art” that could enhance visitors’ experience, she believes.
The programme “exposes young people to [the] contemporary arts industry, opens up for them wider doors into arts, gives them a solid experience in a customer facing role that can be translated into other job opportunities [and] figuring out what they want to do with their lives,” Bas told the Hackney Post.
“Hopefully it is an insight into a potential future pathway.”
Geirthana, one of the guides, said she applied for the programme “to get involved and be more creative” with art.
“I was never interested in contemporary art before — I was interested in Monet,” said Geirthana, who until her application earlier this year had never heard of Peer Gallery. “This is a new experience.”
Emma Hart, one of the artists exhibiting her work on Tuesday, said: “Anything that helps [visitors] into the gallery is important.”
The idea of having amateurs explain her pieces to visitors was “completely the gallery’s own initiative,” she added.
Hart’s exhibition, titled Love Life: Act 1, will run until 28 January 2017, after which it will move on to the Grundy Gallery in Blackpool and the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea.
(IMAGE: Sebastien Ash)