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The Art of Democracy: new exhibition opens

The Art of Democracy,  Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight

Saturday 1 August  to mid September 2015. 

The New Carnival Company joins forces with Quay Arts to present this exciting exhibition which, like our Magna Carta Mardi Gras, is inspired by the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of ‘The Great Charter’.

The exhibition explores ideas of democracy through material culture, popular culture and participatory arts. The New Carnival Company are populating the Learning Curve Gallery with work from the recent Magna Carta Mardi Gras and are also presenting their three large individual costumes ‘Democracy’ ‘Equality’ and ‘Freedom’, all designed by carnival artist Tony Mason, in the adjacent West Gallery.

In the Learning Curve we are focusing on the work of nine island schools which also took part in the Heritage programme underpinning the carnival arts learning.  These schools were tasked to embed aspects of the theme into classroom study and to explore, in particular, links to local history, local characters and places of interest.

The nine participating schools and the themes on display are:

  • Ryde School – 1215: Magna Carta: King John and the Barons
  • Priory School – 1265: Simon de Montfort and the first ever Parliament
  • Holy Cross Primary School – 1381: The Peasants Revolt
  • Godshill Primary School – 1642: The English Civil Wars
  • Isle of Wight College Pathways – 1872: The Ballot Act
  • Queensgate Primary School – 1918: Votes for Women
  • Oakfield Primary School – Freedom of Speech and of the Press
  • St Georges Special School – Racial Equality
  • St Helen’s Primary School – Freedom of Faith

Young people visited historic sites such as King’s Quay, Carisbrooke Castle and Osborne House in their research, had talks and visits from The Lord Lieutenant, The High Sheriff and the Heritage Education Service, explored their subject through internet research, classroom discussion, using county archives and museum collections and took part in mock elections and protests.They then worked with a New Carnival Company learning and design specialist, to help them turn their research and ideas around the theme into real life carnival costumes. The research and learning programme was supported using public funds from the Heritage Lottery.

Scrapbooks, drawings, photographs and samples of some of the costumes and props made by the children and young people will be on display in the Learning Curve.

Other inspiring work in the West Gallery is contributed by artists Paul Woods & Maya Malfatti Woods,  John Armstrong & Ian Boyd, Daniel Roberts and Nick Martin

The exhibition runs from 2 pm Saturday 1 August until mid September and is free to view.

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