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Peltz Gallery launches its first online exhibition: Lessons from Lockdown, Learning from the Pandemic

The exhibition features three specially commissioned artworks offering perspectives arising from the COVID-19 crisis

This is a photo of Rosina Maepa and Veronica Betani's Our Common Threads
Visual from Rosina Maepa and Veronica Betani's 'Our Common Threads'

The Peltz Gallery, part of Birkbeck’s School of Arts, launched its first online exhibition this week addressing critical concerns brought to the forefront during the global pandemic.

Featured in the exhibition, running from 15 September-6 November are three new video artworks:

‘And This Too Shall Pass: Decolonizing Film’- Cinema archivist Dr June Givanni and curator Jan Asante’s short film sharing extracts and imagery from the Black Film Bulletin, a groundbreaking Black British cinema magazine edited by Givanni in the 1990s;

Particulate Matters’- Artist and NHS worker Jennie Pedley's video artwork inspired by her medical training, COVID-19 microbes and the link between ill health and air pollution.

‘I see you Vero. I see you Rosina: finding our common threads’- Embroidery artists Veronica Betani and Rosina Maepa’s video artwork where they use WhatsApp to create embroidery artworks sharing experiences of Coronavirus lockdown from two different communities across South Africa.

Speaking about the importance of such an exhibition at this time, Professor Annie Coombes, Director of the Peltz Gallery said, “Whilst the Peltz is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, we are delighted to launch our first online exhibition, with three specially commissioned artworks. Casting a global perspective on crucial political issues emerging during the current pandemic, these new artworks offer vital insights into the challenges we all face for any viable future.”

About the artists

Jan Asante

Jan Asante is founder of curation consultancy #ThinkCinematic by Culture Kinetica which served as a consultant on the BBC/Netflix documentary series 'They've Gotta Have Us' and BBC Two's 'Black Is The New Black.' Asante has curated for BFI and Picturehouse, written for publications including BFI Sight & Sound International Film Magazine, and contributed as a commentator on BBC radio and television.

June Givanni

Dr June Givanni (Hon DLit) FRSA is a film curator specialising in Pan African cinema. Through nearly 40 years in film curation she has worked with a number of film festivals on the African continent, the British Film Institute - where she ran the African and Caribbean Film Unit and founded the Black Film Bulletin with Gaylene Gould - and Toronto International Film Festival, where she programmed ‘Planet Africa’. She currently runs the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive in London based on her collections throughout her career, which have been exhibited at the Peltz Gallery, London.

Jennie Pedley

Jennie Pedley is an artist and an NHS physiotherapist, with degrees in both disciplines. Her artwork explores issues concerning the health of the body and of the environment. Previous projects investigated: the gut microbiome, human ageing, life-stories of people with cerebral palsy and breast cancer; and marine biology. Pedley has worked with research institutions, galleries, museums, wildlife organisations, schools and libraries, and exhibited at the Peltz Gallery, London.

Rosina Maepa

Rosina Maepa is an embroidery artist, who has worked with the Mapula embroidery project (Winterveld, Gauteng, South Africa) for almost 30 years. Her work has been exhibited at the Peltz Gallery, London; South African Festival, London; Museum Africa, Johannesburg; South African National Gallery, Cape Town and she has been involved in arts projects in Stuttgart, Germany and Kibeho, Rwanda.

Veronica Betani

Veronica Betani is an embroidery artist working with the Keiskamma Art Project (Hamburg, Eastern Cape, South Africa). Her work has been exhibited at the Peltz Gallery, London and Whale Festival, Hermanus and been involved in cultural projects in Botswana, Kassel and Mauritius.

View the exhibition, Lessons from Lockdown: Learning from the Pandemic

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