Newcastle College University Centre second year BA (Hons) Fine Arts degree students have been given the opportunity to work with local art gallery Vane on an online exhibition of their work.

Vane, which was established in 1997, operates a gallery space in Newcastle city centre and runs a gallery exhibition programme to provide a platform for the work of artists from the North East..

As with many businesses this year, due to the ongoing pandemic, Vane has been unable to open their doors to visitors and showcase their exhibitions. To continue their engagement and support of the creative community, Vane opted for online exhibitions instead which was fantastic news to our students.

The students were asked by Vane to respond to the idea of ‘family’, as family has been at the forefront for a lot of people during this period of time. The resulting exhibition was called ‘Relations and Reflections’.

Andrew Holder, course leader for BA (Hons) Fine Art at Newcastle College University Centre said: “What does ‘family’ mean? The term doesn’t necessarily refer to the biological: mother, father, siblings, etc. Friends or even pets can be more of a family to some people than their own relatives. It can be a support network, a source of comfort and a safe haven, but it can also be focus for friction and resentments – sometimes deep and long-lasting.”

Students Chloe Bushell, Rosalynd Byass, Wade Forster, Demi Harper, Ailisha Jade Laidlow, Jonny Lane, Claire Liddle, Halona Mason, Kevin McAllister, Caitlin McFarlane, Stuart McMenzie, Jessica O’Donnell and Chelsea Williamson all took part in this exhibition.

Works from students includes Rosalynd Byass, who encapsulates the feelings associated with the bond she has with her identical twin brother, the closest bond she will ever have. By representing it in a surreal landscape, Rosalynd tries to capture the feeling that their love transcends the linear narrative of their everyday lives.

When her brother came out as transgender, Rosalynd realised that the way she perceives him is not affected by his gender identity. It is an unconditional love that will not waver. Whilst they are different people with different goals and identities, they are still identical twins who share many traits, and so their lives will be always be strongly interconnected. No matter what happens, they will be there for each other.

Andrew continued: ““These works, made at home during the most recent national lockdown, highlight the students’ profound talent and inspirational resilience. This is a heartfelt and thought-provoking exhibition which represents the essence of family in the broadest of terms. At this time a celebration of this most human of phenomena feels especially poignant.”

You can also see the series of photographs by Jonny Lane, which explores the intense relationship that he has with his mother. He wants to depict the strength that he has gained being raised by a single parent and how she has helped make him into the man he is today: a true portrayal of the strong bond they’ve grown over time. Jonny decided to use photography as his medium as he believes it shows a raw insight into their bond, depicted through the particular angles and his decision to keep the photographs black and white, an insight he doesn’t think he would be able to achieve in any other medium.

Speaking about the support received by Vane, Andrew said: “A special thanks must go to featured artist and exhibition coordinator Wade Forster for her dedicated leadership. I am immensely proud to represent such a committed and talented group of artists. We hope you enjoy the exhibition.”

You can view the entire exhibition here.

Learn more about the Arts and Design courses on offer at Newcastle College University Centre.

Follow the progress of the BA (Hons) Fine Arts students on the dedicated Instagram page @fineart_ncuc.