Hundreds of art lovers came to AUB to celebrate 20 years of TheGallery hosting groundbreaking shows on campus
The birthday party, which also featured the Suddenly Last Summer 2018 exhibition, marked the two decades since TheGallery was set up thanks to the vision of AUB’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Bartholomew, CBE.
It has gone on to become a nationally renowned exhibition space has showcased the works of artists including Lucienne Day, Paula Rego, Louise Bourgeois, Henri Matisse and Alan Kitching as well as Turner Prize winner and AUB Honorary Fellow, Grenville Davey.
TheGallery programme was established in 1998 with the appointment of Violet McClean as a part-time Exhibitions Officer and the AUB alumna and BA (Hons) Creative Events Management graduate is now Senior Gallery Officer.
Speaking at the event, Violet said: “Today is a fantastic milestone for us but we couldn’t do these exhibitions, especially this one without the talent that’s in this university, and my god there’s amazing talent.
“Once there was only me and a few other people and then our staff has grown so we’re very honoured to be able to bring art to this university and the community.
“We’ve welcomed hundreds and hundreds of schoolchildren in the last six or seven years and we want to inspire everybody so thank you for allowing us to do that and bring art to you.
“It’s been an absolute privilege to part of this gallery and this university, and if there’s one thing that’s very close to my heart, it’s the students that have given up their time, who have volunteered, who have done work placements and internships – without you guys, we wouldn’t be this far, without your generosity of time.
“Another great thing is that Stuart has always being there championing the vision we started out with and in the last five years I’d like to thank Professor Emma Hunt, AUB’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, for always challenging me to rethink things.”
Violet said that during the last year alone TheGallery had put on 29 exhibitions and over the 20 years it had been well over 500 exhibitions.
She added: “I want to say thank you to the students who have exhibited here and Stuart also identified some of the amazing artists and curators we’ve worked with over the last 20 years – the list is endless and you would have been here a couple of hours if we’d gone through them all.”
Talking specifically about Suddenly Last Summer 2018, which Violet co-curated with William Hernandez, she said: “It is a curated selection, so if we could fit in more than 1,000 students, we would, but tonight for all the artists that have joined us, congratulations – it was a complete privilege and an honour that you accepted our invitation to be in this exhibition.”
The event also featured a performance from two AUB alumni, one from the BA (Hons) Dance course and one from BA (Hons) Acting.