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GALLERY: "In times of strife, artists are more important than ever"


Sunday 12 July 2020

GALLERY: "In times of strife, artists are more important than ever"

A gallery director has explained how she managed to pull off hosting one of the island's best loved annual artsy events amid the challenges of the pandemic.

CCA Galleries International’s Summer Exhibition could have been one of the victims of lockdown but that was without counting on Sasha Gibb's determination to make it happen.

From the moment the gallery closed its doors in mid-March ahead of lockdown, right as preparations for the exhibition were in full swing, Sasha resolved to “have something positive for the community to focus on in June.”

Her efforts paid off, and the Summer Exhibition was able to open on 19 June as planned – with the help of some adjustments.

Video: Sasha Gibb talks about the Summer Exhibition. (Gatis Valters)

Sasha spoke to Express about how she worked with this year’s judges - Artists Paul Huxley RA and Dan Baldwin as well as Gillian Duke, Managing Director of Worton Hall Studios and CCA Galleries – to whittle down the 230 exhibits submitted by 90 artists...

How did the selection process go under lockdown?  

Daniel Baldwin came up with the name ‘JPEG Judges’ and that’s what we became. I shared JPEG images of the work and we all logged our impressions in a traffic light system. We had discussions about the selection, two hours at a time and shared images on screen.

They were all heaven; they did so much research on the artists! It was all really moving. As Sir Peter Blake has shown with his ‘London Stands Together’, that’s just what artists do, we step up!


Pictured: The 'JPEG Judges': Paul Huxley RA, Dan Baldwin, Gillian Duke and Sasha Gibb.

They are all very experienced and they really put together a very thoughtful exhibition. 

This week, we’ve had artists delivering their work. We’ve had to stagger them all to reduce the amount of people coming and going. It is so heartening when the work arrives and it is so much better than when it was on the screen.

What changes have you had to make to the running of the exhibition?

We are working with Gatis Valters for a film on the exhibition, which is new, and we also have a catalogue online so that people can see the work. The gallery is now open to the public, but we are also offering appointments for those who want a private tour. 


Pictured: The exhibition gathers work from 90 artists.

Why was it so important for you for the exhibition to go ahead? 

In times of strife, artists are more important than ever.

I was also so aware that everybody needed something positive to work for, whether it was artists getting their work ready or submitting their work.  

I was determined to find a way and I am really glad we did. Some people have been quite emotional going back into the gallery, it’s been hard! It’s been lovely having people come into the gallery. I enjoy making people feel well again. 

GALLERY: A peek at the exhibition...

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