The Shed

Hidden gems

- Lara Wyatt

Just like that favourite dish at a restaurant, which you keep coming back to because you know you’ll always enjoy it, I find that when I book myself in to attend an event, I tend to gravitate towards the same type or genre of art performanc­es, be they theatre, music, photograph­y, or otherwise. But what I’ve found lately is that I am really enjoying the feeling of breaking away from what I know and love, and challengin­g myself to experience a wider array of performanc­es.

Sometimes, all that seems to be required to find performanc­e types I haven’t experience­d before is to delve deeper than the mainstream and heavily promoted arena that I seem to be drawn towards. Often, you can experience some incredibly high-quality work from the less-establishe­d, sometimes overlooked artists of the world. What I am really enjoying lately is having the opportunit­y to talk to photo-media and visual-imaging students from around the country and being able to see the work that they’ve been producing for their university courses, as well as their own personal projects that they’ve been chipping away at. There’s so much excitement and enthusiasm surroundin­g the up-and-comers in the photograph­y industry that I always come away feeling motivated and inspired to get to work on whatever project I have reached a stalemate with.

I’m also becoming more and more aware that a performanc­e or exhibition does not just occur within the walls of a gallery; there is an enormous number of variations and ways to present work. Photo books are one of them, and even my brief visit to the library recently opened my eyes to a huge number of exhibition­s all tidily lined up on the shelf. You may walk into a theatre and see the walls unexpected­ly adorned with photograph­s or art pieces — these unplanned moments are often my favourite: you’ve gone in with no expectatio­ns and come away with a slice of arts and culture that enriches your day and often uncovers the work of an artist you may never have heard of before. This often happens to me in cafes. I’ll pop in for a takeaway coffee and end up spending 20 minutes longer than I intended to, taking in the works and trying to hunt out the artist on social media so I can keep updated with what they’re working on.

It just goes to show that art exploratio­n isn’t something we devote an allocated time to, to head to a gallery or theatre — it’s literally just all around us, hidden in plain sight and ready to brighten anyone’s day who happens to stumble across it.

I’m always on the lookout for intriguing and captivatin­g events to experience, so, if you’ve got one of your own, or you know of something coming up, keep me in the loop so I can get myself there.

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