Video of Peace for Luton painted mountain

Posted on by Ben Hodson

A video showing the dramatic painting of a mountain in Iraq as a performance by Ben Hodson and to reenact an original work by Ismail Khayat in 2000.  Ben paints Peace for Luton on the side of the mountain to make a beautiful symbol for peace and hope for his home town of Luton, UK. Luton has suffered heightened tensions since the troops returned from Iraq in 2009.

Exhibition in Iraq <> Exhibition in the UK

Posted on by Ben Hodson

This part of the project is concentrating on two main stages. Firstly, I have put on a solo exhibition in the Ismail Khayat gallery in Iraq. Secondly, I will be exhibiting in a group degree show in the UK. The juxtaposition of these two exhibitions and the dialogue they create is where this part of the project lies. I also have a couple of exhibitions scheduled for October 2012 in the Crypt Gallery off Trafalgar Square and The Exhibition Hall at Stockwood Discovery Centre in April 2013. I will also aim to show some of the new work I have created. These, however, fall outside the time frame of the MA.

Our Farley, Documentary Film Project

Posted on by Ben Hodson

As part of my on going research into visual peace making and artist intervention, I have been one of the main organisers of a summer film project.  The purpise is to use a creative skill (in this case filmmaking) to give people a voice and address some of the tensions in the Farley ward of Luton.

With this project we will aim to use film making to bring encourage further community cohesion. We will run a series of workshops training young people with the ability to make documentary films. We will then ask them to use these new skills to get footage for an overall documentary of Farley. The documentary will then be shown at a premier where the entire community will be invited. The subject on the film will be on Farley looking at its positives and also some of the challenges but from the point of view of the inhabitants. The project will be aimed at 16-21 year olds but will hope to have an effect on and represent the entire community. 

On the first day we will put on taster giving a brief overview of the project and all the aspects to all who come along, we will then choose 3 groups of 5 people who will be given provided with some basic camera equipment and will allowed to progress to the rest of the course. We will then do 4 days of training over the next two weeks while the groups will still be creating their own footage. The training will cover technical skills, but will also look at subjects like understanding other peoples perspectives. We will then take away the footage and make the film, seeking to be true to the themes and words of the people of Farley. The young people will have an opportunity to contribute their thoughts to the final edit of the documentary before the public showing.



Overview and main changes to proposal

Posted on by Ben Hodson

In 2009 I travelled to Iraq. I collected a large amount of data, images, video and audio. From this large database I created art work, curated a travelling group exhibition called Iraq – The Forgotten Story and creatively supported a charity. I went on to create and exhibit a number of projects for the first half of my MA. For the final major project I have brought this large body of work to an ambitious conclusion with a return trip to Iraq in June 2012.  The project has resulted in two main outcomes;


1)  Exhibition in Iraq <> Exhibition in the UK

2)  Peace for Luton, mountain installation and reenactment.


The outcomes are showcased in this studio journal, the rationale, the final major project work and subsequent degree show.  The cultural exchange exhibitions were initially set out in my proposal, however, the Peace for Luton project has developed after persuing some of my initial research and following leads I had in Iraq.

Better then expected....

Posted on by Ben Hodson

So far the project has exceeded my expectations.  I hoped that my intervention in Iraq would get out a message of peace, art and hope.  Due to all the media attention in Iraq and subsequent coverage in the UK, that message appears to be getting out there.

Posted on by Ben Hodson

I have been preparing the prints for my show in the Ismail Khayat Gallery in Iraq.  Due to the challenges over there and the need to transport the exhibition, there are a number of restrictions on the work.  This has meant I have had to cut out some of the series and concentrate on the work which will help me accomplish my goals; show work from Luton to people in Iraq, to show them what I have been doing in the UK and to get there responses to both.

Shooting video in the rain

Posted on by Ben Hodson

For the brief: Luton is Heaven, Luton is Hell brief, we have decided to attempt a video response.  This has involved going back to our chosen location (Stockwood Park) several times, including in the rain.