Pictures that tell a story
By Thiruni Kelegama
"A portrait for me is about depicting the nature of the person, and concentrating on something unique to that person."

Joy Gregory's portrait photographs do not usually focus on the face, but on something individual to the person. And even if the photograph does focus on the face, it reveals something extraordinary to the viewer.

Joy Gregory was the UK participant sponsored by The British Council for the 'artlink' project held in Sri Lanka this month.

An artist, photographer, and educator who lives and works in the south of London, Joy was recently awarded a Fellowship by NESTA UK (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), which will enable her to concentrate on making a new piece of work which looks at language and culture. She is also working on a monograph of her work which is due for publication early next year.

"My most recent work combines my tendency for collecting and using objects associated with the female form with a fascination with narrative and history. Thus seemingly innocuous objects like the handbag, are placed in a historical or social context resulting in surprising and sometimes chilling implications," she explains.

She had also worked for three years on a Memory and Skin project in the Caribbean. "I photographed everything that I felt expressed the Caribbean as a fusion of many cultures, such as the joint legacy of the indigenous people, African slaves, European colonists, immigrants from China, and indentured labour from the Indian sub-continent.

"Another interesting project was the 'Cinderella towards Europe' series. Most of the women I spoke to in the Caribbean when asked what they most wanted to do in life, said that they wanted to visit Europe and that they also desired to own something extravagant, preferably in gold," explained Joy.

"This led me to travel widely in Europe, and I photographed the places which the countries are most identified with. For example in Paris the Eiffel Tower, in Geneva, the Red Cross and UN buildings, in Netherlands, the windmills, in Venice, the canals etc. In each of the photographs was this pair of gold shoes. They take on the look of a tourist wondering obscurely all over Europe.

For 'artlink' this year, she chose to concentrate on two particular types of techniques. The Cyanotype - or the blue printing method, Salt Printing, and the Pin-hole method. "We also did some portraitures," she explains

"Most of these methods are not used in everyday photography,but they are extremely effective. I encouraged the participants to start using the pin-hole method.

"Therefore, I took the lens of my Hasselblad camera out, and then inserted a piece of cardboard and took as many photographs as I could. The photographs I took at the Botanical Gardens and the Peradeniya University turned out to be very effective," she added.

Equally interesting were the portraits.

Having been asked to do the fashion part of the portrait segment, she gave it a creative twist, one of the photographs for instance showing the legs of swimmers at a hotel pool.

In nearly all Joy's photographs what struck me most was the fact that she used all the media available to her- from digital imaging to the Victorian print process. And what was most amazing was that in the end, whatever method used, she got her message across. Maybe more clearly than ever.

Focus on photography
Artlink is jointly organized by the Alliance Francaise, the British Council, and the Goethe Institut and is co-sponsored by Connaisance de Ceylan, Nine Hearts Ltd., and The Barefoot Gallery.

This year artlink focused on photography and involved 11 photographers; Joy Gregory from the UK, Peter Neuser from Germany, and Roger Vulliez from France. The Sri Lankan participants were Anoma Rajakaruna, Sammera Jayasundara, Manik Vander Poorten, Kushantha Hewapathirana, Kumara Dayawana Nannethi, Chandrasiri Bogamuwa, U.G. Gunesekara, and Carmen Perera.

The exhibition of their work ends today at the Barefoot Gallery.

Opera and Broadway
Local audiences will have some quality entertainment when Giacomo Puccini's opera "La Boheme", and a Broadway musical "Hurray for Hollywood" performed by Opera and Concert Productions Worldwide of Britain, headed by Barbara Segal are staged on October 23 and 24 at The Golden Ballroom of The Lanka Oberoi. One of Puccini's greatest operas, "La Boheme" is a story set within the artists' quarter at the turn-of-the-century in Paris. This powerful and emotionlly charged story of romance, sacrifice and tragedy is based on the stormy and tragic love between Mimi, the ill-fated seamstress, and Rodolfo, the penniless poet.

However, Puccini's tragic tale of doomed love is not without humour - the laddish antics of the men, all of them starving as they try to make a precarious living from their artistic talents, the hectic nightlife and amusement of enjoying new found money and somewhere among all this horseplay the tender love story of the dying Mimi and her poet Rodolfo manages to take root.

Puccini's romantic opera is splendidly brought to life by the vibrant and extremely talented cast. If you've never been to an opera before, this could well be the one that gets you hooked.

And on October 24, you can indeed say "Hurray for Hollywood" as a talented cast brings alive the best of Broadway with unforgettable numbers from South Pacific, West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera, The Wizard of Oz, Gigi, My Fair Lady, Carousal, Annie Get Your Gun and many more all-time favourities. Snazzy, jazzy numbers guaranteed to get the audience dancing in the aisles and shouting for more.

The show has been compiled, staged and choreographed by some of Britain's newest and most exciting choreographers who are winners of numerous dance and choreography awards. "Hurray for Hollywood" is fabulously costumed and promises a great evening's entertainment. The two shows are sponsored by Sampath Bank.

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