Self-styled “small but fierce” Valleys gallery the Workers regularly punches above its weight, but has done so even more in the last month, putting the noses of local Tories out of joint with its participation in the You, Me & Cold War Steve International Exhibition Of The People and hitting back at being shabbily treated by Wales’ largest publicly funded photography organisation. October’s photography showcase may well ruffle a few more feathers.
Photographers are no strangers to darkrooms of one kind, but Dale Evans’ Terrified And Curious came about through his familiarity with another: the dimly lit or pitch-black rooms in gay clubs and saunas where everyone is naked and anonymous and (pretty much) anything goes. While Evans works predominantly in the photographic medium, the exhibition also features an immersive installation soundtracked by candid interview recordings with fetish scene enthusiasts, which should help to take visitors out of their comfort zone – or perhaps into it.
Likewise, Lorna Cabble’s Funny Little World gives an insight into a subculture unfamiliar to (and misunderstood by) many, celebrating “the diversity and beauty inside Cardiff’s underground burlesque scene”. Her pictures revel in the art of ostentatious onstage performance but also capture the close backstage connection between the performers.
And then there’s Self Worth, a show centred on the photos of Egyptian-born, Wales-based portrait photographer Mohamed Hassan but also including the work of artists and writers of all hues who have responded to an open call for submissions on the theme of “the self”. Anyone interested in participating can still do so, as new contributions will continue to be added throughout October.
Owing to the exhibition’s subject matter, the gallery has reluctantly decided to operate a temporary over-18s door policy for the duration of the month – but with the promise of a family-friendly show, Selfie Art, lined up for December. The Workers’ commitment to catering for a broad range of artists and audiences is admirable, and sometimes you have to be exclusive to be inclusive.
Showing at the Workers Gallery, 99 Ynyshir Road, Ynyshir, Rhondda Cynon Taff, until Sat 30 Oct. Info: www.workersgallery.co.uk/exhibitions
words BEN WOOLHEAD
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