Snapshots! Events Focusing on Migration and Cultural Identity. Shutters Go Up on Four Exhibitions of Stunning Photographs

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Byline: Keith Newton reports

THOSE great driving forces migration and cultural identity are subjects of the second photography festival organised by Tees Valley Museums.

Already launched with one exhibition at Middlesbrough's Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Stewart Park, it clicks into sharper focus with two more at Hartlepool and Redcar.

A fourth at Darlington, opens later in the month.

Tomorrow will see the stark black and white images of Patrick Zachmann's THE EYE OF A LONG NOSE officially going on show at Hartlepool Art Gallery, and Dean Chapman's BURMA, DARKNESS IN THE GOLDEN LAND being displayed at Redcar's Kirkleatham Museum.

"Migration has always been a dynamic feature of North-east society and history with migrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy, notion of an unchanging and static sense of who we are.

"We hope the festival gives you an insight into a range of cultures and an understanding of the changing nature of identity."

The first element to open was YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE TEES VALLEY - IDENTITY which was launched last Thursday at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.

In this, a creative group of local young people, with roots in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and England developed a thought-provoking exhibition which charts their journeys towards new identities.

The project looks at local migrant identities by bringing the empires of the earth back home to where empire began - the birthplace of James Cook who, as far as Europeans were concerned, "discovered" the people who now populate and contribute to our area.

Patrick Zachmann's The Eye Of A Long Nose at Hartlepool Art Gallery is an already critically acclaimed Magnum photos touring exhibition.

"This is the first time in the UK that his fascinating work documenting Chinese communities throughout the world has been on display, so don't miss this unique opportunity to see it," says Sophie.

For eight years, Zachmann ventured into the almost impenetrable universe of the Chinese.

"He met there a host of characters who were fascinating and mysterious in the eyes of a 'long nose,' as they called him and he gradually moved away from a traditional photojournalistic approach to one which was personal and entirely subjective.

"He invented an ideal travelling companion 'W' to initiate him into the secret side of a world coloured by his imagination," says Sophie.

"But, far from unveiling mysteries, this 'ideal guide' nurtures them, making the truth elusive.

"As a result, this exhibition is a voyage of initiation and a detective thriller."

Patrick Zachmann has been a Magnum Photographer since 1985 and devotes himself to long-term projects which reveal the complexity of communities.

His work has been published in major international magazines and newspapers, including in Time Magazine, Life, National Geographic and Rolling Stone. …


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