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Introducing our new Guest Blogger Skinder Hundal

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Skinder Hundal, Director of the New Art Exchange, who will be joining us for the next two weeks as Guest Blogger, we asked Skinder 10 questions about himself to get to know him a bit better.

‘Black Box’ of tricks, by Skinder Hundal

Who are you?
Skinder Hundal, Chief Executive/Director of NEW ART EXCHANGE (NAE),
www.nae.org.uk follow us on twitter and facebook too.  www.twitter.com/newartexchange

What brought you to Nottingham?
I came back to Nottingham after being a student here 22 years ago and a volunteer 18 years ago with Apna Arts (who started the first national mela in the UK in 1988!) which was based in the Old Art Exchange.  I was passionate about what had been created in New Art Exchange, it was an amazing achievement and symbolic of values and ambitions I hold close to my own i.e. that art should engage unheard voices and be part of the rich UK and international cultural mantra.  Of course I love the city with some very fond memories from when I was growing my thinking, character and direction… another fine reason for re-surfacing.

What keeps you in Nottingham?
Nottingham’s geography, its people, its accent, its growing cultural offer and of course fulfilling the potential of New Art Exchange’s vision…we’ve only just started!

What makes you different to other creative people in Nottingham?
NAE, based in the international square mile of Nottingham, is at the cross roads of negotiating a cultural clash… sometimes crash, exploring non-Eurocentric perspectives in a constantly shifting world, with a British spin and interpretation. This makes for exciting work and brings many challenges.  Representing artists and curatorial perspectives which champion modern cultural diversity is something I and NAE are passionate about and see as an important voice, as the geo-political terrain shifts.  In NG7 the psychology of the area is complex be that class, race, immigration or religion.  Attracting and engaging hard to reach communities is always a difficult yet rewarding process, however it is resource intensive and needs a focused, understanding and sensitive approach. Being based in a location, often known for all the wrong reasons, symbolizes so much.  NAE a ‘black box’ of tricks offers ‘white-light’ energy and opportunities for all and especially for those on the periphery of British culture and society – a lens focussing on the artistic expression from and representing African, Caribbean, South Asian and new communities in particular. Our remit resonates locally, nationally and internationally.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In a creative and buzzing hub, a ‘hard drive cosmos’ of ideas relevant locally and internationally.

What do you wish you had more time for?
When I watch Christian Marclay’s Clock, part of British Art Show 7, courtesy of White Cube and in our main gallery space, it reminds me of how each and every minute can offer myriad thoughts, moments, narratives and ideas. Each minute in such a film ironically is so intense, where time moves so swiftly and silently, before you know it time has gone and left you physically behind. It is easy to lose time and be distracted by choice in today’s world.  Time is always ticking; it is a constant. My own response and rhythm within time and space seems uncoordinated and feels like a state of ‘anti preparation’ (I learnt the latter theory and reality from Edgar Schmitz recently who explores periphery expression also part of BAS7) – caused by too much choice. Therefore for me I would like more time to explore, read, reflect and identify new ways of connecting relationships and people in order to create the foundations for engaging work… it’d be nice to relax and play more too!

What keeps you awake at night?

My mind never rests and I only have 4 to 5 hours anyway – challenge keeps me awake.

What do you think is Nottingham’s best kept secret?

The unheard and untapped voices and talent of the city i.e. the security guard who is an amazing singer or the nurse who is an amazing painter.  The excitement is engaging what seems the impossible – a rough carbonada to a polished and piercing jewel.

What would you like to see more of in Nottingham?
Important to me is that art and culture becomes more of a priority in terms of how it is perceived and valued in terms of policy and resources and ensure that it is embedded within the minds of our political, community and educational leaders on one level, and on another, a natural choice for the family or individual. Importantly I would like to see more of a diverse representation of curators, programmers, artists, audiences and cultural entrepreneurs making a splash and buzz across the city and beyond too. The BAS7 Sideshow is a good example of a critical mass of artists and enthusiasts creating a scene in Nottingham. It is total engagement and creating quality arts and culture, representative from communities from the international square mile surrounding NAE which is also key.  Not sure if this code has been cracked yet – we are trying to. Sometimes I look around and feel we’ve got a long way to go actually. Identities inclusive and representing Iraqi to Afghani, to Caribbean to Latvian, to Kashmiri to Nigerian, expressions as examples should also lead and present contemporary expressions at every level and phase of development alongside, with or not the usual suspects.

What big thing are you currently working on?

Recently we have just launched British Art Show 7 with the Castle and Nottingham Contemporary and Hayward Gallery with just over 1400 people entering our main gallery space on the opening night! And it was great to have the Godfather of Arts in Britain, Sir Nicholas Serota and his partner Teresa Gleadowe, hang out with us and enjoy the evening. Next year we bring in amazing photographic works by leading Indian artist, Raghu Rai (Invocations from India) coinciding with the Format Photography Festival – Right Here Right Now and an exhibition from Palestine later in the year with a very abstract build and content right from the heart of Ramallah.  Excitingly, as part of the British Art Show 7, we will screen Christian Marclay’s 24 hour clock film on 10 December 2010 which I’m sure many of you will want to experience as a special and one off experience.  Of course we will need to adjust in a shifting terrain with all the coalition’s cuts.  We are not alone!

New Art Exchange
39 – 41 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 6BE (click to see on map)
www.nae.org.uk
Exhibitions
British Art Show 7  23 October – 9 January
Raghu Rai  29 January – 9 April

Events
A World of Music Festival  Friday 15 – Sunday 17 October  Live Music
Acrobalance and Clowning  Monday 25 October  Workshop
Graffiti Letters & Aliens  Tuesday 26 October  Graffiti workshop
Performance Workshop with Alison Garner  Wednesday 27 October  Drama / Multi-sensory workshop
Signs of Change – Kathryn Cooper  Tuesday 26 October  Interactive performance
Parallel Realities  Saturday 30 October  Art workshop

A full programme of exhibitions and events can be found at www.nae.org.uk

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