Ruthie Collins, founder of Cambridge Art Salon, gives her arty picks of the month
Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower”, said Albert Camus, and this feels true with Cambridge blazing so brilliantly at the moment. In this spirit, Pink Is The Warmest Colour, a film presented within mobile queer space Outhouse, is travelling to Kettle’s Yard this month. Running 8 to 20 October, it explores LGBTQI+ heritage in a regional setting. “Historically, queer lives and achievements have often gone unrecorded within regional settings. This project is part of a wider invitation to correct this,” says Ian Giles, the project’s founder.
Made from found footage in which only the pink ink has not degraded, Pink Is The Warmest Colour hints at a lack of preservation of LGBTQI+ objects and narratives. The space itself, a cylindrical structure made with clear walls, features LGBTQI+ ephemera from across the East of England. It’s a fantastic installation produced by original projects, in association with First Site, Kettle’s Yard and Outpost, as part of the New Geographies project. On 8 October at 6.30pm there’s a talk and ‘ritual’ (sounds intriguing!) by Brooke Sylvia Palmieri of Camp Books, considering the meaning of queerness as it’s intersected with books and printed media. The project will travel to Colchester, Norwich and Great Yarmouth, so do catch it while you can when it comes to Cambridge.
Also opening at Kettle’s Yard this month, on 4 October, is the first ever Cambridge Art Show. This long-awaited show celebrates artists working in Cambridge today, and those familiar with the art scene in the city will recognise some of the names on the bill. Anna Brownstead, Paul Kindersley and Eleanor Breeze to name but a few, as well as emerging artists such as Luciana Rosado.
Watch out for performances from Caroline Wendling (whom some may have met on her public art River Cam commission) and Paul Kindersley. The 22 artists were selected by a panel, chaired by Andrew Nairne, choosing from 460 submissions. It’s a real achievement for those selected.
Towards the end of the month, Kettle’s Yard will host a wildflower seed bomb-making workshop. Inspired by scientist and mathematician Alan Turing, it’s on 19 October with Open Ramble East artist Rachel Pimm.
Watch out for two participatory installations – Arising and Mend Piece – from Yoko Ono at Anglia Ruskin on 3 October. Written comments, supplied in response to an open call for women to share how they have been harmed simply for being female, will slowly cover the gallery walls as part of Arising. Mend Piece invites us to mend broken pieces of porcelain as a way of mending the world. There’s also a symposium on Yoko Ono at the Heong Gallery on the 3rd, bringing together curators and scholars to explore the many facets of her work to date. All are part of the citywide exhibition Yoko Ono: Looking For that runs until the last day of the year.
Kindness is often hidden in a generous spirit of goodwill
Can art really ‘mend’ the world? Well, art, kindness and action can certainly change things. Why not check out a repair cafe for a reminder of how cathartic mending can be? These pop-up repair cooperatives run throughout the city, offering free mending of any item that can be carried and doesn’t make a mess. No guarantees are given on whether things can be fixed, but those volunteering will certainly give it their best shot. Visit circularcambridge.org for more details.
Amelia Earhart said that ‘a single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make up new trees’. It’s a fitting quote for this time of year, with National Kindness Day just around the corner (13 November). I’m working as a writer for this throughout November, exploring kindness – and how it can change the world – with local schoolchildren. Kindness is often hidden in a generous spirit of goodwill, and can move an artist to spend months, even years, working to create something of significance or beauty for the world.
Working as an artist teaches you that kindness is an unspoken currency in the creative world – so many great works would never have seen the light of day without the support of countless invisible benefactors. Those friends, artistic collaborators and supporters who encourage you, look after your children while you work, or meet you halfway through a project and cheer you on as you near completion. For all those in need of a spot of kindness-as-inspiration, pop over to north Cambridge to see one of my favourite public art pieces in the city, Kindness Is Always In Season, which is on the side of a Co-Op store in East Chesterton (created by Sa’adiah Khan, Dan Biggs and Samirah Khan). Why be mean? Just be kind. Have a fantastic October, all.