BEAF commissions over 40 new works each year which are showcased at the BEAF festival. See our festival page for information on commissioned works.

Seeking Refuge

Seeking Refuge is a photographic project led by Bournemouth-based fine art photographer and community activist Caroline Beale Johnson. It shows images and words from the lives of refugees and migrants currently seeking asylum and living in Bournemouth. 

For this project, Caroline selected and worked with six emerging and established photographers to provide an insight into the lives of the displaced migrant community. The work reveals the lives of the refugees and migrants, not from afar, but from the inside.

This exhibition introduces you to seven people who left places as diverse as Syria, Venezuela, and Sudan and with lives as varied as a secondary school headteacher, a photographer with his own studio, and a student at school. 

During the time they spent together, the photographers learned about what people were escaping from, and what rich and full lives they left behind.

Mark Perry

SNAPSHOTS OF NORMAL

In choosing the normal, incidental, and ordinary world of my high street, I also hope to celebrate the people, the place, and some of its character. Using my smartphone camera allowed me to capture people unburdened by the knowledge of a lens being cast on them, and avoided too many deliberations on composition and mise-en-scene. As such, painting ‘you as I see you’ provided the ideal reflection of what and who we are. Considering Covid-19 social restrictions, particularly when these pictures were taken, I hope to have captured life – as it is, normal or not.

Mark Perry is currently studying for an MA in Fine Art at Arts University Bournemouth.

Simon Kilmister

An interactive experience exploring the boundaries of the mind.

The human brain cannot comprehend the immensity of the Infinite, and never will, because if the human brain could comprehend the Infinite, the Infinite would become human, and therefore would be relative.

Expand your perspective, for the sky of your mind is Infinite. 

― Leland T. Lewis

Patti Gaal-Holmes

‘into the frameless distance to the city of (no) memory’

Analogue photography/film is used to question what it means to go into exile, fleeing into that ‘frameless distance’ that’s so full of promise, hope and possibility. The project centres on Miklos Gaál’s escape from Hungary, where he swam across the Danube, and took a train to Bratislava, finally escaping across the Bratislava/Austria border.

The project also looks at Gaal-Holmes’ father’s earlier escape from Hungary in 1948. In 2018 she travelled, armed with cameras, to Budapest/ Bratislava searching for traces of the past to capture on film. 

The project is informed by W. G. Sebald’s search for the ‘nervature’ of the past, Kentridge’s premise relating to the complexity and ever-changing uncertainties of human existence, and Nigerian curator, Okwui Enwezor’s conviction that, ‘it is our job to think historically about the present, since the present is always embedded in the past.’

Mark England

A photographic portrait of the people that live in, work and visit Boscombe. The series introduces the subjects from a space somewhere between social documentary and portraiture.  “I have lived here for the last decade and adore the unique alloy of the eccentric, the vibrant and the mundane that melds together to form the character of the area’s people. I try to avoid the “extraordinary within the ordinary” type of cliché when describing what I find fascinating about the people who can be met here but, in truth, that is exactly what it is.”

 

Denise Webber

RECENT DRAWINGS

“I hear the vixen in the early hours, crying for a mate. It’s a primeval sound. She has no need of sanction or permission. But when I am drawing the sparrow, I think of the sound of its wingbeats: somewhere between a murmur and a shiver. A bird, being a creature of the air, is like a cipher for the voice or the soul, something fugitive. It can also evoke a message or a missile. Sometimes in my dreams I am bound to a wild animal and feel accountable for it, as if it were a part of myself.” Denise Webber

The female body dominates in Denise Webber’s work. In her drawings she often represents it as nude or with ethereal fragments of fabric or other adornment. Thus freed from cultural or temporal attributes, the woman’s body reveals its complex relationship to beauty, agency and power.

Webber works with a mix of film, photography and drawing. In much of her work, women overcome constraints and barriers to enter into spaces from which they have previously been barred. They partake in pleasurable acts of subversion, or embody the pursuit of artistic creation. 

In her recent drawings, the woman is visited by a wild creature, a vixen, a sparrow, or sometimes a flying fox, a species on the threshold of extinction. Some drawings celebrate the moment of touching an animal. Others suggest guardianship and ideas around shared origins and destinies.

Denise Webber was brought up in Famagusta in Cyprus, where the juxtaposition of hedonism with political violence led eventually to the outbreak of war, shelling and invasion, and her family was evacuated to the UK. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at Tate Modern London, Moderna Museet Stockholm and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne. It is represented in the Arts Council Collection and in the Tate archive. She lives and works in London and the South West UK.

Click Here For Artists Website

Ineke Van Der Wal

“And if the earthly no longer knows your name“

An immersive large-scale set of drawings in charcoal, which covered a whole wall specifically created for the B.A.D. space. The wall of drawings invited a thought-provoking interpretation on the human condition which is addressed by the artist in the form of abstract figurative self-portraits. Some of the works are wrapped in stillness whilst others rise up, confronting the viewer. Figures, heads and bodies appear in an abstracted background. The viewer may choose to be a participant, step forward and emerge themselves with their own personal reflections.

Originally from the Netherlands, Ineke Van Der Wal has been living and working in England since the early 80s. Her work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally and is featured in both public and private collections.

Click Here For Artist Website

The Outsider's Project

TATTOO

We are the originals. The outsiders. We scar our bodies to never forget. 

Every tattoo has a story and these have never been heard before. They’re raw, exquisite, fearless, and uncensored. Every word is written and performed by our outstanding outsider artists. 

“The Outsiders performances this year at the Kneehigh Asylum were the best things I’ve seen and heard for a decade. It has changed the way I think about the stories we tell. And that goes for every single person in the audience.”  Kneehigh Theatre

Directed by Nell Leyshon

Adult content,16+

The Outsiders Project is funded by Arts Council, Lottery, PHT, Alpine Fellowship, Sovereign Centre, BEAF, Talbot Village Trust, Recreate Dorset.

LOCK IN 

It would take more than a pandemic to stop our writers. The Lock-In is our monthly event for our outstanding outsider artists to try out their new work. Join us for new writing, spoken word, and music from unheard voices.

An astonishing evening at the theatre. A brilliant piece of storytelling – Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Adult content 16+

Living Room circus

“It’s weird, it’s fun, it’s moving, and it sports some excellent acrobatic talent.” – Katherine Kavanagh, The Loco Klub 

Living Room Circus is an experimental circus company, creating and performing intimate and immersive shows. They devise and develop their own blend of circus, dance, live music, physical theatre, and live art – always with the emphasis on audience interaction and involvement. They do this by transforming any given space into ‘the circus’, offering the audience a chance to experience circus arts, in places they would not expect.

Macbeth

“with not a word spoken, The Paper Cinema crafts a fine example of Shakespeare’s quintessential work… This isn’t just theatre, but a love letter to animated process” – The Skinny

This is a digital presentation of Paper Cinema’s most recent acclaimed theatre show; a re-imagining of Macbeth as a cautionary tale for our times. With typical charm, wit, and invention the company took its audience on a journey through rugged Scottish landscapes to encounter storms, battles, betrayal, and murderous plot. Shakespeare’s tragedy was brought to life as beautifully drawn puppets, evocative music, foley, and cinematic projection combine in a captivating silent film created before your eyes.

The film is 75 minutes long and has been carefully designed to give the audience the experience of watching The Paper Cinema in real time. It uses multiple cameras to give different perspectives of the work and is shot on location to enhance the storytelling; it is an artistic work itself, not simply a film of a performance.

Harare

Fronted by the exuberance and charisma of Zimbabwean musician Kuda Matimba, Harare feature a groundbreaking line-up, mixing the buzzing acoustics of the Southern African rich-toned marimba, mbira, ringing jingling guitars, swooping basslines, irresistible dance rhythms, and uplifting vocals. 

Virtuoso marimbist Kuda Matimba was a member of Zimbabwe’s legendary Bhundu Boys; a groundbreaking force in the African music industry, they paved the way for countless artists to reach commercial success around the world.

 

Emily Hawes

Royal Arcade: Unit 9

Emily Hawes: A Fin Rising On A Wide Blank Sea

An installation of moving image, sound, and sculpture, that weaves together themes of local history, bioacoustics, marine ecologies, and storytelling. 

Artist’s Website 

In her 1988 short essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, Ursula K le Guin refutes the dominant narrative that the first human cultural device or technology was the spear or axe, used for ‘sticking, bashing and killing’. Rather, she argues, civilisation began with the humble receptacle or container – leaves, gourds, shells, net bags, slings or sacks, were used to gather, transport and hold nuts, berries, seeds, roots, shoots and leaves, and other life sustaining nutrients. Le Guin explains: ‘If you haven’t got something to put it in, food will escape you’, and as the tool which ‘brings energy home’, the carrier bag is the untold origin story of culture, technology and civilisation. 

Unlike the spear (which follows a linear trajectory towards its target), Le Guin’s carrier bag is vast and messy; a ‘womb of things’ and ‘a bag of stars’. Le Guin draws our attention to the fact that the form of the novel, mirrors the function of the sling or sack, she explains; ‘A book holds words. Words hold things. They bear meanings. A novel is a medicine bundle, holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us.’ For le Guin, stories, and in particular science fiction stories, have a generative potential to redefine, reimagine and reconfigure how we understand the world around us.

– Le Guin, U. The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (1988, 2019), Ignota Books 

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction acts as the departure point for ‘A rising fin on a wide blank sea’ which seeks to re-imagine the story of a 70ft long, 40 tonne blue whale, which was fatally wounded and washed ashore with the ebb and flow of the tide in Boscombe in 1897. 

The film begins by documenting the process of reconstructing a fragment of the jawbone, using 3d rendering technologies. Once printed, the replica becomes the protagonist of the film, akin to a digitalised, yet fossilised, carrier bag-of-sorts. Existing somewhere between digital spectre and archaeological tool, the blue whale jawbone is the storyteller for our post-human time(s). Roaming the watery depths, this sentient spectre weaves together a narrative around the whale in mythology, underwater inter-species relations and investigates broader stories in relation to human created stresses and sonic violence within ocean ecologies. 

Churchill Gardens

For the final weekend of the festival we turned Churchill Gardens into a ‘community back garden’ with a weekend of art installations, family workshops and activities to engage all ages.  It brought fun and colour to the gardens for everyone to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere to end the festival.

The centrepiece was an immersive, installation style space of arts duo, Rimski & Handkerchief who presented family performances including their bicycle piano/double bassicle, umbrella repair machine and turntable art. The stage area created by Rimski and Handkerchief operated like an outdoor venue, with additional crew, seating for the public and ongoing entertainment.

There was a variety of arts and craft workshops, music and performance acts across the gardens.  This included African drumming with Cheikh Diop, willow making with Creative Kids, bubbles with Squidge and Pop and a silent disco among other workshops and activities. 

Cora Clarke

Corrianna Clarke, Boscombe Bound

Created within and inspired by lockdown in Boscombe, the animated short ‘Boscombe Bound’ shares voices of the community, evoking the unique sense of this location and time. 

Director and Animator, Corrianna Clarke 

Audio expertise and guidance from Jo Tyler at So Niche

Check out Cora’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Commissions Programme