The first showing of the Congregation installation at the Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, led to a number of reviews and features. Follow the links to read them.
Review by Sarah J. Lloyd in Hastings Independent Press
“Issues of religious identity are often framed as conflict and tolerance issues, between rival groups practicising different faiths. Malcolm Glover’s powerful video piece, ‘Congregation’ explores this differently. His documentarist’s eye looks instead towards the personal, idiosyncratic and gestural without the awareness of the wider collective layer ever being lost. He facilitates a reflective meditation on ‘how’ religious identities are expressed, transmitted and reproduced.”
“… Glover’s piece is embedded also in the social, political and religious history that stands between Ireland and England – the trajectories of migration, poverty, land appropriation, violence, famine and exclusion. His work is keenly attuned to people and their worlds, to characters, their stories, vantage points, and perceived senses of possibility.
Glover’s work is a fine example of the old maxim, the personal is political, but he never pushes the politics in our face. The carefully edited layers speak for themselves. He looks with an intense focused contemplative eye whilst never losing his respect or dehumanizing his subject, a very fine skill for a photographer. He and his team have made something magical here, and made it look completely natural and simple, which technically it absolutely is not. It is both a poignant glimpse into the past and a thought provoking, very present emotional feast.”
Below, image from sequence shot at Church of St Thomas of Canterbury & the English Martyrs
The installation, Congregation, will be shown for the first time at the Lucy Bell Photographic Gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, for 10 days from 10 February, 2016.
Venue: Lucy Bell Photographic Gallery, 46 Norman Rd, Saint Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0EJ
Dates: 10 – 20 February, 2016
Details on Lucy Bell Gallery website. Contact 01424 434828.
Details on other opportunities to see the work will follow shortly.
Originally we had wanted to shoot footage for the English half of the project at the church in Crawley, West Sussex, where I attended church with my mother. But this proved impossible. The next best option was to find a Catholic Church in St Leonards-on-Sea, near Hastings, where I live. As luck would have it, Father Thomas, from the nearby Catholic Church of St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs, was immensely helpful, creating the time and space for us to film at the church, despite a busy calendar, it being the 200th anniversary of the diocese.
We shot the English sequence for the installation and conducted a series of short interviews on Saturday 3rd October, 2015, and are very grateful to all who participated.
I returned to Ireland with writer Mark Hewitt in April 2015 to record a series of interviews with members of the congregation that had contributed to the film shoot. I have to thank everyone who so kindly contributed their time and gave so freely of their thoughts and memories, and especially Mrs White, Desi and Andy.
Quotes from these interviews will contribute to the text narrative that accompanies the installation.
Image below: a detail from inside Drumkeeran Church
Second and third visits to Drumkeeran were made during the summer of 2014 to discuss with Father Gerard Alwill my ideas for a video installation. My plan was that half of the project would be filmed in Drumkeeran – where my mother grew up and attended Mass – while the other half of the project would be filmed in Crawley, West Sussex (near Gatwick Airport), where I grew up and attended Mass as a child.
The meetings with Father Alwill eventually led to being introduced to a number of people who attended the same church that my mother would have gone to, and some of whom knew my mother and her family, the McGoldricks. My grandfather, J. J. Goldrick, is buried in the churchyard. We found the grave during one of our visits.
Eventually, a number of the parishioners agreed to contribute to the project. This led to a video shoot that took place on Saturday 20 September 2014 at St Brigid’s Church in Drumkeeran.
Working with cameraman Eddie Knight, Production Co-ordinator Nicola Joy and writer Mark C. Hewitt, I spent a day directing the filming of the congregation as they recited the Our Father, led by Father Alwill. The footage is now in the process of being edited.
Mark and myself will go back to Drumkeeran in April 2015 to conduct a series of interviews with the participating parishioners that will also become part of the installation.
In late May 2014 I made a first visit to Drumkeeran, my mother’s old village in Co Leitrim, Ireland. This was the beginning of Congregation as a working project. My visit was hosted by Father Gerard Alwill, who arranged for myself and writer Mark Hewitt to attend masses at the three churches in the parish of Inishmagrath with a view to recruiting participants for our planned video installation.