Creative Connections Cornwall is a project about people and place in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and Mount’s Bay Academy in Penzance
The project connects young people from Cornwall with the award-winning artist, Joy Gregory, to explore the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection. Together, Joy Gregory and the students collaboratively responded to portraits of notable people from or with links to Cornwall and Penzance.
The chosen works range from photography to painting and drawing and include portraits by artists such as Michael Ayrton, Terry Frost, Yvonne Gregory, John Hedgecoe, E. O. Hoppé, Ida Kar, Sebastian Kim, Man Ray and Madame Yevonde. Sitters include Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Gluck, Barbara Hepworth, Helen Glover, William Golding, D.H. Lawrence, Daphne du Maurier and Harold Wilson.
During an initial visit to Mount’s Bay Academy in May 2021, the students selected portraits from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection. The young people’s choices were based on aesthetic considerations – did they like the portrait image – and whether they felt interested in an individual’s biography, but also addressed issues like representation and language.
Their final selection of portraits includes painters, writers, potters, actors, politicians, athletes, musicians and more, and forms the starting point for the exhibition, which will be shown to the public for the first time at The Exchange this summer.
Together with Joy Gregory, the now Year 10 students have made new work, exploring the shared themes and connections between those portrayed in selected artworks and the students themselves. They looked at how these might be linked to localities in Cornwall and the places the young people are growing up in. The results from this collaboration are shown alongside the portraits from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection that inspired them.