Letty McHugh: Anchorage

8 October 2022 – 8 January, Gallery 2
With the arrival of autumn, Attenborough Arts Centre is proud to be launching ‘Anchorage’, an exhibition by Letty McHugh comprising of installation, sound and video.
A cream tent structure stood in the middle of a dark room.
A cream curtain pulled back to show the inside of a tent structure, with a white bed and wooden cabinet.
Writing hand-embroidered onto the tent fabric.
The show seeks to challenge ideas around sculpture, space and our relationship to each other. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a 4.5 x 3 metre textile installation referring to anchorages: spaces created during the medieval period for people who chose to isolate from secular society, which provided opportunity for connection with others with similar values.
Anchorage will sit centrally in the dimmed space, the tent-like structure glowing with a gentle light. Narration and sound from Letty’s recent works ‘Watches for An Ordinary Day’ will leak from the structure like a message in a bottle. Meanwhile, a monitor will showcase the accompanying videos from the series of 6 works, creating a dialogue between the internal and external.
McHugh’s work aims to connect and bring solace to people experiencing isolation and chronic illness. For Letty, the enclosed space created by ‘Anchorage’ becomes symbolic for the isolation she faced when she experienced a Multiple sclerosis relapse in March 2020. During this time, she could not to access appropriate medical support due to the pandemic and was unable to leave her room for long periods of time.

“My work explores the universality of personal experience, which is basically the intellectual way of saying I’m interested in people, their stories and the things that connect us all.”

White quilted fabric that has been embroidered with words.

The front cover of Letty McHugh’s, ‘Book of Hours’.

'Book of Hours' by Letty McHugh

The creation of ‘Book of Hours’ and Anchorage has been supported by Attenborough Arts Centre, Dada Fest and Disability Arts Online.

“Over the course of the pandemic, a complication with her chronic illness left me alone in a darkened room for three weeks. I drew comfort from an imagined Book of Hours. Half Almanac, half prayer book, medieval Books of Hours offered guidance for every situation and every day of the year. As I recovered I started to wonder, where was the spiritual guidebook for people like me; lost, sick, artists who watch too much reality TV? I couldn’t find one, so I made my own.

Borrowing wisdom from Anglo-Saxon hermits, contemporary artists and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Book of Hours explores what it means to have faith, why we chase suffering and how to take solace in small joys.”

Click here to get your own copy.

Outside shot of Gallery 1, including the courtyard.

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