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A is for Alma

Friday April 19th 2024Share page

Newcastle artist Katie Cuddon invited balletLORENT to respond to the artworks in her exhibition A is for Alma at the Hatton Gallery. Katie’s clay forms explore the union between mother and child and were all created since she gave birth to her daughter in 2018.

Choreographed by artistic director Liv Lorent, the dancers and their children will move freely in the space around the artworks, bringing living sculpture to the collection.

The dancers are Natalie MacGillivray and three year old Aiden, Alys North and 23 month old Solmaz and Benedicta Valentina Mamuini and 11 month old Maverick.

For Natalie and Alys, it's not the first time they have performed with their children. Aiden and Solmaz, alongside their mums, were part of the community cast of balletLORENT's retelling of Rapunzel, which finished a national tour in Derby in February.

Katie said: "A is for Alma explores the private realm occupied by a mother and child as somewhere on the edge of the outside world.

"Working with balletLORENT, we have come together to explore how dance can give further form to the emotions embedded within this exhibition."

Liv said: "balletLORENT is creating a movement installation to accompany is for Alma,  with mother and child partnerships that make up the company.

"We were fascinated by this opportunity to reveal, through shared artistic expression, the beautiful and shifting existence we go through as we evolve as parents. The changing cycles of our development are driven by our babies and children, and they shape forever our unfolding as artists and people.

"In this collaboration with Katie Cuddon, we had an opportunity to share our experiences as women who are parents and perhaps to reflect back to audiences some of the relatable stories we have shared."

This will be Katie’s first solo exhibition in Newcastle for 15 years. The title, A is for Alma, evokes the ABC books read to small children and in the exhibition, Katie exhibits for the first time a clay alphabet of hand-modelled letters. These are different from the other sculptures in the exhibition, which embody an intense emotional closeness. The letters are by contrast immediately recognisable as signifying language, an unreliable construct of the ‘adult’ world that threatens to intrude on this intimacy. They have also been bitten and torn to hint at the complex relationship with language that this intrusion stirs up.

Katie’s work has been acquired by numerous private collections and the Arts Council of England Collection. Recent exhibitions include Night Portraits, De La Warr Pavilion (2023), Unearthing: Memory, Land, Materiality, London’s Courtauld Gallery (2023) and the national touring exhibition Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women Since 1945 (2021-2023)

The A is for Alma performances are on Saturday 4 May 2024, at 11am, 2pm and 3pm and last approximately 10 minutes (Pre-booking not required) The Hatton Gallery, King's Rd, Newcastle NE1 8QB.

Photo: Colin Davison

More about Katie Cuddon