Dancers process down the streets as a melody repeats like a mantra.
A ghoulish looking costumed horse fights with another in the centre of town.
A hedge of twigs and branches withstands the tide.
Doc Rowe has been documenting the traditions of the British Isles since the 1960s, amassing an enviable collection of artefacts, photography, footage and audio which is housed in Whitby. This living archive, growing year on year, is thought to be the largest of its kind and charts the rise, decline and revival of many of our calendar customs.
Lore and the Living Archive sees three artists respond to this collection through new, original artworks. Photographer, Bryony Bainbridge; printmaker and poet, Natalie Reid, and multimedia artist, Anna FC Smith, contemplate what place traditions have in contemporary society and how they influence the communities in which they originate. The artists also consider the role of the archivist and how Doc’s presence at events has become as anticipated and revered as the tradition itself.
Lore and the Living Archive opened at Touchstones in Rochdale in 2018 and travelled to Cecil Sharp House in January 2019.
This exhibition is kindly supported by Arts Council England and the Morris Federation.