Just Ask Nottingham is a project run by and for young people aged 13-25 and encourages them to use and develop their talents together. This motley crew of energized spirit took on Surface Gallery to sing, shout and show Nottingham what makes them get out of bed in the morning.
The theme of the ‘Future Shots’ evening was motivation with an array of art and other entertainment on show. Following live music into the gallery that night, guests were greeted by a rainbow colored tree and thrust an equally bright leaf to record their view about what stimulates their enthusiasm. Once initiated and beyond the wall of proud Mums, friends and extended families lying in wait to cheer on acquaintances, guests may have noticed that in fact another crowd featured on the walls of the gallery itself.
Great white walls of the Surface artspace are adorned with the spoils of Just Ask’s most recent photography project. The youth group took cameras and whiteboards to the streets to ask what motivates the young people of Market Square. All snapped volunteers had been entered into a creative prize draw and the best were chosen and won places in this exhibition. The scribbled expressions are rather varied, ranging from social justice to ‘swag’ and llamas and some are sure to put a grin on faces on even those who can’t remember being whipper-snappers themselves.
The photographic styling may not be award-winning but the idea is fresh and the reason is pure. The opening evening turfed out the typically hushed gallery atmosphere along with the alcohol and filled the wineglasses with fruit juice, creating a more refreshing scenario on a number of levels.
Lisa Widdowson who fronts up the Lottery and charity funded organization was asked about her own motivation for her role, stating simply: ‘other peoples’ journeys’. The kids behind this event showcased rap, poetry, entrepreneurship, motivational speeches, and discussed what employers expect from them. The exhibition’s strength is through its universal appeal, giving young people a voice and opportunity to be creative. One young songwriter preformed the lyrics ‘graffitti pain is everywhere, we’re breathing art’ – the idea appeared to display the entangled connection of teenage angst and the need for some form of artistic expression for young ‘uns, more than evident tonight.
The photographs in this exhibition are fun, empowering and crucially are part of keeping young people positively motivated, giving them something worthwhile to do and making noise in art galleries.
Future Shots ran on 30 August. Photography courtesy of Surface Gallery