Preview event: Wednesday 22nd October at 5:30pm.
Artist filmmaker Nicola Lane's mother Diana was born in Cyprus on 15th August 1914, the month and year WWI was declared. Her soldier father departed for campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean and France. Diana did not meet him until 1918, after he had been wounded at the Somme.
Recently Nicola discovered a photograph of Diana and her first husband in their house in Cyprus, celebrating Diana's 20th birthday at a formal 'luncheon' with officers from the Mediterranean Fleet. Research indicates that the photograph was taken when the Mediterranean Fleet visited Famagusta in 1934, as increasing unrest in the Middle East & Europe foreshadowed the conflicts of World War 2.
The glamorous lunch guests and that world have vanished. Memory loss has fragmented Diana's past and present, and in her 100th year the important people in her world are the carers and healthcare professionals enabling her to live at home.
On July 17th 2014, the 1934 photograph of Diana's 20th birthday lunch party was re-enacted in Swiss Cottage Gallery, the photograph's table & settings re-created by Nicola and her creative team. Nicola invited Diana's carers, District Nurses, London Ambulance paramedics, A&E nurses, & other healthcare professionals, to celebrate Diana's Centenary by re-enacting the lunch party with a menu selected from her 1930's Housekeeping scrapbook, cooked by local chef Beatriz Rodriguez and served by volunteers. The re-enactment was filmed from start to finish, visible to Swiss Cottage Library's public through the Gallery's glass doors.
From this material Nicola will create a 'Living Centenary' installation in Swiss Cottage Gallery. Photography, sound recording and the projected film of the Centenary lunch party will be accompanied by a programme of talks and events, with the lunch table and it's 12 chairs used as a platform for discussion and audience interaction. Archives relating to the exhibition will be uploaded to the Imperial War Museum's "Lives of World War 1" site.
Through the relic of the photograph and its re-enactment, audiences & participants explore the enduring power of human contact and the power of relics & archive within history and living memory: WW1's Centenary embodied & mirrored in Diana's 1914 -2014 timeline.
AT HOME: A LIVING CENTENARY 1914-2014 exhibition runs for the period: 18th October – 12th November 2014.
The exhibition is curated in partnership with London Borough of Camden.
For more information on Swiss Cottage Gallery and the work of Camden Council's arts team, visit: http://www.camden.gov.uk/swisscottagegallery
Many thanks to Waitrose John Barnes for their generous donation to the project.