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Last chance to see Shakespeare's tragic thirteen

A photographic exhibition at the new Globe Gallery features 13 Shakespearean suicide victims

The new Globe Gallery taking shape on Pilgrim Street
The new Globe Gallery taking shape on Pilgrim Street

Word reaches us that one of the most extraordinary exhibitions currently on show in Newcastle is closing soon – so do dash along and see it.

Thirteen is a photographic installation by London-based artist George Chakravarthi and it was one of the hits of The Late Shows recently.

Made to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, it features portraits of 13 of the playwright’s tragic characters.

There were plenty of these to choose from, of course, but all these met their death through suicide – Brutus, Cassius, Eros, Goneril, Mark Antony, Othello, Timon of Athens, Lady Macbeth, Portia, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet.

George Chakravarthi Juliet (a detail) by George Chakravarthi
Juliet (a detail) by George Chakravarthi

This grim fact isn’t the only thing linking the characters as portrayed here in sumptuous back-lit photographs.

All are, in fact, self-portraits. Charavarthi worked with the costume department of the Royal Shakespeare Company to get the right look for each character as presented by himself.

“The portraits,” he says, “are multi-layered and imbued with colour and texture, created to present my vision of each image and character, revealing the beauty, anguish and complexities found across Shakespeare’s tragedies.”

Displayed around the walls of the darkened gallery, apart from the drowned Ophelia who ‘floats’ on the floor, the portraits are lovely to look at despite the uncomfortable knowledge that these were not happy people.

George Chakravarthi Othello by George Chakravarthi
Othello by George Chakravarthi

Thirteen is the inaugural exhibition at Rashida Davison’s new Globe Gallery which has just relocated to 47 Pilgrim Street (near the old Odeon) and is celebrating its 20th anniversay.

Thirteen is open today and on Friday from 12 noon until 5pm. Find details on www.globegallery.org

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