This summer The Centre is hosting an eclectic art exhibition celebrating our region, showcasing artwork from internationally acclaimed illustrators and designers and giving up-and-coming local photographers and artists a platform to share their work.
The art exhibition includes a number of large scale artworks and feature a mixture of art forms including astrophotography, large-scale sketch drawings and typography murals and will be added to throughout the year.
Livingston-born world acclaimed artist Gregor Louden, whose work previously featured as part of The Centre’s Frog Trail in 2017, has created a new artwork entitled ‘All Roads Lead to The Centre’ for the exhibition, inspired by his home town. Gregor’s instantly recognisable sketches take people through local places of interest from his childhood including Livingston Skateboard Park, the Kirk of Calder and Houstoun House.
It also pays tribute to people in the community, including local heroes, shoppers, retailers and the Customer Service, Housekeeping and Maintenance Teams in the mall, who have all played a major part in keeping people safe over the last year.
The former James Young High School student, who left to study Illustration and Animation at Manchester University in 1999, has travelled the world exhibiting his work in many major cities including Philadelphia and Berlin, coming a long way from the murals he designed at Livingston Skateboard Park when he was in his teens, which has inspired his work to this day.
Artist Cassandra Harrison’s work has been exhibited throughout both the UK and USA and her latest artwork ‘Community Connections’ takes pride of place on the mall with her vibrant and playful representation of Livingston and its surrounds. With The Centre at the heart of the piece, local landmarks such as Howden House and Livingston Village Kirk sit alongside playgrounds, green spaces and the River Almond.
The artwork is designed to convey a sense of connection at a time when most of us have felt cut off from friends, families and favourite places to visit, almost like we’re all living on our own individual islands. The aim is to show that we are not on our own and instead connected to the wider world around us. The sky we look up into at night is the same sky our friends and family all over the world are looking at.
Both ‘Community Connections’ by Cassandra Harrison and ‘All Roads Lead to The Centre’ by Gregor Louden are available to buy in the form of a postcard, in return for donations to our charity partner, Tiny Changes.
The exhibition also features ‘Hug’ by Mark McPhelim - a bittersweet reminder of recent times, reflecting a period in our lives where we couldn’t be with the ones we love the most. ‘Hug’ features individuals who can’t be together but who are strengthened in the knowledge that this will not be forever.
Mark is an artist and graphic designer who lives and works in Glasgow; his art is diverse, conceptual and ever evolving offering everything from symmetrical, solid, graphic shapes to loose and vibrant compositions.
Photographs from 16-year-old Scottish astrophotographer Helena Cochrane are on display including ‘The Mineral Moon’ and ‘The Orion Nebula’. Helena began navigating the night sky with a small telescope at age 10 and has built up a loyal YouTube following on her channel ‘Helena’s Astrophotography’ where she has documented her journey from enthusiastic amateur to being a deep space astrophotographer.
The exhibition will also feature artwork by a student from West Lothian College. Earlier this year The Centre invited past and present art and photography students from the college to take part in a competition for the chance to win a Gift Card to spend at The Centre and have their work feature on the mall, with the winning entries being unveiled in the summer. Students based their submissions on the theme of the history of Livingston, with uplifting tones and a vibrant colour palette.
Also on display is a typography mural entitled ‘Messages of Kindness’ which was created as part of The Centre’s Year of Kindness campaign and is made up of inspiring messages for the year ahead, sent in by our local community.
Following a call out on social media, The Centre was inundated with notes to loved ones, motivational words, inspirational quotes, wishes for the future and messages thanking the people of Livingston for their kindness and support over the past year. The messages of kindness are set against the backdrop of a pastel rainbow, hopefully brightening someone’s day when they need it most.
As part of the exhibition there’s also the chance for shoppers to win a £50 Gift Card by snapping a pic in front of our colourful mural opposite Primark and uploading it to The Centre’s social media channels @shopthecentre.
For those who can’t make it into the mall the exhibition will also be featured on the shopping centre’s social media channels and on The Centre’s website.
Ashley Bisland, Deputy Centre Director at The Centre, said:
“The Centre has always been a proud supporter of the arts, working with a number of artists, including Gregor, on our Frog Sculpture Art Trail and more recently with Cassandra to offer online art classes for children during the first lockdown. Now more than ever before, it’s vital that we celebrate the industry – from established artists to emerging young talent.
“The art exhibition, which will be added to throughout the year, showcases a mixture of outstanding and impressive techniques and styles by very talented creatives who were all fantastic to work with.
“We’re sure it will bring a smile to the faces of our shoppers after a difficult year, whether they see it in person or online on our website, and it will also help raise awareness and funds for our charity partner, Tiny Changes.”
Gregor Louden commented: “It’s been great working with The Centre again on another art project, especially growing up in Livingston and being able to recollect so many brilliant memories from places in and around the town and create sketches around them, alongside tributes to some of the incredible people that are at the heart of Livingston and help make it the fantastic place it is.”
Cassandra Harrison added: “Being asked to take part in The Centre’s a exhibition was a great opportunity for me to work with the mall again and showcase my work. Every part of the journey creating my artwork was a fantastic experience which I hope brightens the day for shoppers as they walk by.”
Mark McPhelim said: “I think ‘Hug’ is a really optimistic piece which highlights the importance of connections with friends, family and your community. I’m really glad to be involved in the exhibition - it’s great to see such an eclectic mix of artwork in one place.”
Helena Cochrane added: “It’s amazing to see my work alongside that of international artists such as Gregor. When I was just starting out, I wouldn’t have believed that my photographs would be part of an exhibition - I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and it’s a real honour to be involved.”