Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Zahir News’ Category


Norman Rea Gallery – The Circle, Arts Awareness Week 2013

The student-run Norman Rea gallery, in accordance with Arts Awareness Week invited York students and staff to submit their own work to be shown in the gallery’s final exhibition of the year.

As with any collaborative exhibition, it is difficult to have an overarching sense of coherence. As none of the artists created their works in discussion with eachother there is no linking factor other than the loose theme, ‘the Circle’. However, this meant that there was a large variety of work and the brilliant curation by Aily Trimble and Ayomide Sanwo brought often incompatible mediums together in an inspired way.

The stand-out work of the evening has got to be Emily Garthwaite’s ‘Hindu Gods’ series. The stunning trio of photographs contrasted dull, urban surroundings with the vibrant colours of the Hindu God figures. Having completed a Foundation year at Central Saint Martins, Garthwaite is now working towards a career in photography and is certainly one to watch.

Another beautiful photographic work was Jonathan Exon’s ‘Memoriale des Martyrs de la Deportation’. The simple black and white photograph of a flock of birds neatly encircling the composition contrasted with the bright colours of Suzanne Decker’s excellent glasswork pieces.

I was pleased to be introduced to the work of the University’s resident artist, Ann Decker. It is a shame that the University doesn’t provide more opportunities for students to see her work. Her small ceramic sculpture, ‘Gold Pool’ encouraged a number of visitors to tiptoe over the high shelf on which it was displayed in order to better see the intricate ‘pool’ of gold.

It was refreshing to see a number of video works exhibited, as the medium is often overlooked and has not been shown so far this year at the Norman Rea gallery. Jordan Licht’s ‘Nighthawks’ was an interesting study of Edward Hopper’s painting by the same name.

Tim Pierce’s unusual medium for his piece, ‘Spin Cycle’ of a washing machine door notably stimulated conversation. The bold colours and interesting shapes in the washing machine door attempted to imply movement, aided by our preconceptions of the washing machine and the title of the artwork.

The Outside space in the area between the gallery and Courtyard seemed oddly disparate from the rest of the gallery. However, the interactive artwork encouraged audience participation and a great opportunity for the gallery’s visitors become a part of the exhibition.

This interesting collection of mediums and artists proves to be a thought provoking and surprisingly high quality exhibition. This was an excellent celebration of the end of the year and hints towards what will hopefully be another successful year for the gallery.’


Norman Rea Gallery Summer Exhibition



Woman and Scripture

Jen Ward draws some surprising medieval parallels to the question of women bishops in the Church of England.

We live in an age in which the fast pace of progress is celebrated; technology is updated almost incessantly and social networking sites allow us minute by minute updates on the lives of others. International developments reach us almost instantaneously via 24-hour news channels. Change is, in many respects, now presented as a healthy and positive thing. However, on 20 November 2012, the General Synod of the Church of England voted against allowing women to become ordained as bishops. To me, this seems entirely incompatible with an age which professes to promote equal opportunities employment and is desperate to ensure it is as up-to-date as it possibly can be.

On that day, 20 November, I was frantically reading The Boke of Margery Kempe, in preparation for my ‘Late Medieval Literature’ seminar the following day. For those who haven’t come into contact with this obscure and utterly eccentric text, it follows the life of a fourteenth century female visionary who roamed the country trying to tell the word of God (which she heard from Jesus in her head) to priests and laity alike. Margery Kempe was, for many English Literature students, the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to trying to access the Medieval period. However, when reading it, I couldn’t help but be forcibly reminded of the discussions going on in the Church of England  at the moment, a mere eight centuries later.

As a practising member of the Church of England myself, I am in no hurry to condemn it. Both churches which I attend have several female members of the clergy. However, I find it alarming that Margery’s struggle to be heard amongst the patriarchy of the fourteenth-century church has such a resonance with our situation today. One of the arguments cited against the installation of female bishops is a passage of scripture in which St Paul says “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man – she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:12). St Paul is also cited in Margery Kempe, where (in York in fact) a “great cleric quickly produced a book and quoted St Paul for his part against her, that no woman should preach”. Here they are referring to 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35, which objects to a woman speaking in a church; ever-resourceful Margery evades this by spreading the word outside the realm of church and pulpit. Perhaps this is what the women of today should do.

To me, it seems that the more the voice of a woman is denied in a church, or anywhere, the more power is attributed to it, ironically. Given that in many other walks of life women now do ‘teach or have authority over men’, it comes across as backwards, even archaic, that women’s career prospects are still limited in this way by such a large institution as the Church. However, because it is a religious institution, it is not required to follow ‘equalities and employment’ legislation.

To give the Church of England its due, the measure only failed by a narrow margin, needing a mere six more votes to get it passed. Let us hope that at the next General Synod they find those all-important votes. Did I mention this will be in 2015? What’s three years after eight-hundred?