Look Up: This is a Freedom of Expression Centre

A new project by Bob and Roberta Smith explores the differing degrees of freedom experienced by artists around the world.

During the summer break Bob and Roberta Smith, aka Patrick Brill, Associate Professor of Fine Art at The Cass, will be transforming the Hull School of Art and Design into a Freedom of Expression Centre - hosting talks, workshops and a new exhibition exploring the differing degrees of freedom experienced by artists around the world.

Part of the Hull 2017 Look Up programme of public art installations, the project features a significant new work by Bob and Roberta Smith, following his most recent investigations into the nature of modern protest.

“It’s a huge honour to show this new work. This is a Freedom of Expression Centre has been inspired by two key experiences of mine: firstly, the past five years as an advocate for the arts, exploring why democratic societies generally support and defend the arts, while repressive regimes curb them.

“The second experience was an interview I conducted with a Black Lives Matter activist, Blair Imani, while making a BBC 4 programme on protest. You can see Blair’s inspiring interview in the exhibition. Blair’s interview took us on a journey from New York to Louisiana and into the heart of a story that is rarely revealed in the news media.

“I have painted a 14.40 meter long  painting which is a transcription of two important passages of the interview. Reading is about trying to understand another’s experience. I hope the viewers of this work will read and walk the 14 meters and partake in a unique insight into contemporary protest.

“Art isn’t about opposing people or telling them what to think. I want people to reflect on what art can do, and what latent potential there is in all of us.”

The project will also feature a live performance of an Art Party: Bob & Roberta Smith and The Apathy Band on Saturday 2 September.

Hull was announced the winner of UK City of Culture 2017 and will be hosting an arts and cultural programme throughout the year celebrating  the unique character of the city, its people, history and geography.

This is a Freedom of Expression Centre is open until 3 September from 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm Saturdays and closed on Sunday.