Empathy and risk: three mirrors and a wall; David Cotterrell in conversation with Ruwanthie de Chickera Tuesday 4 April 6.30pm

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For his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, David Cotterrell presents three works from the Mirror project: a series of two-screen works produced in collaboration with Ruwanthie de Chickera considering polarised perspectives, drawing alternatively on assumption and objectivity. This evolving project is designed to explore the common human characteristics that could provide a stronger empathetic bridge between strangers than their contexts, roles and attire might suggest. Portraits of individuals are constructed in a manner that transcend or challenge place, prejudice, projection, assumption and fear of the other – while at the same time providing insight into nuanced internal negotiations and narratives.

David Cotterrell is an installation artist working across media and technologies to explore the social and political tendencies of a world at once shared and divided. Encapsulating the roles of programmer, producer and director, Cotterrell works to develop projects that reveal complexity, challenge linear narratives and embrace the quiet spaces that are overlooked as the sites for action. His work has been commissioned and shown extensively in museums, galleries and the public realm within Europe, North America and Asia. He has worked in conflicted landscapes, has been a consultant to strategic masterplans, cultural and public art policy for urban regeneration, healthcare and growth areas. He is Professor of Fine Art, Director of Research and Development for the College of Arts and Humanities at University of Brighton and a recipient of the Philip Leverhulme Prize.

Ruwanthie de Chickera is a playwright, screen-writer, theatre director and cultural activist. Her work explores the politics of culture, religion, sexuality, education, violence and art and how these impact on the personal and the public. De Chickera has a strong belief in the practice, politics and philosophy of ‘devising’ – a theatre approach of collective creativity and leadership that challenges existing structures of authorship, power sharing and change. Her award winning film Machan has been screened in over 50 countries. De Chickera is artistic director of Stages Theatre Group, an ensemble theatre company that produces socially and politically conscious original Sri Lankan Theatre. She is an Eisenhower Fellow and head of Research and Writing of the Arts and Cultural Policy Desk in Sri Lanka, a citizens initiative, mandated to draft the National Arts and Cultural Policy for Sri Lanka.

Saturday 8 April 7pm – Join David Cotterrell for the launch his new studio and party at 1 Borthwick Street, London, SE8 3GH. Booking is essential.

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