Artist John Black has been invited by Artlink to showcase his latest solo exhibition, “Leading
The Blind”, at the Saldanha Suite, Fort Dunree, this June.
For this collection of photographic work, Black spent time researching how a blind and visually impaired group came together over knitting in order to overcome their isolation, improve their own lives and support each other as a community.
He weaves this narrative together with the re-telling of historical events from 1939, when blind workers at the Gwynn Institute in Derry launched one of the first known industrial disputes by disabled workers.
Through the act of unearthing and presenting such hidden stories and histories of marginalised communities, Black seeks to bridge historical landscapes and enrich our understanding of the human condition.
This exhibition is an investigative response into memory, the past and the triumph of the human condition, when achieving self-empowerment over challenging conditions and isolating environments. Black was directly inspired by the work of leading Russian geographer, naturalist and philosopher Peter Kropotkin in his quest to observe and document expressions of mutual aid; in particular, where communities self-organise in order to overcome adversity through acts of collective participation and collaboration.
John Black explains, “This exhibition is an exploration into how we visualise the invisible. Central to the concept of “Leading the Blind” is the uncovering of forgotten historical events which shine a light on the human condition and our enduring ability to re-adapt and control challenging environments through self-empowerment and a mutual-aid impulse, which is intrinsic to the evolution of mankind.”
As part of his recent photographic work Black combines portraiture and landscape in which he both documents and maps the relationships between people and place.
About the artist:-
John Black is a Derry based artist at Creative Village Arts Studios working with photography whose work responds to specific sites or spaces to explore the power dynamics within society in documenting class and labour. As graduate of Belfast School of Art, he received a BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art specialising in Sculpture and Lens and also an MFA in Photography.
Opening times Fort Dunree:- Mon to Fri 10.30 am - 4.30 pm; Sat and Sun 12.30 – 4.30 pm