THE seeds of a new Baltic exhibition were sown last week when established artists Graham Hudson and Matthew Stone began preliminary work with 16 students from Newcastle University.
They were brought together by Ctrl-Alt-Shift, a global youth arts programme run under the auspices of Christian Aid, which works in some of the poorest communities in more than 50 countries.
Ctrl-Alt-Shift, named after command buttons on a computer keyboard, brings together politically-aware young artists to focus on major issues.
It has embarked on ambitious collaborations with three major arts organisations – Baltic, Sadler’s Wells and Vice, a magazine focusing on arts and youth culture.
The Baltic project began with the artists and students thrashing out some ideas related to the issue of global conflict. It will conclude with two exhibitions opening in March next year and running for six weeks.
One will feature work created by the students and the other that of Stone, a photographer, and Hudson, an installation artist. Graham Hudson, who is based in London, graduated from Chelsea College of Art & design in 2000 and then took an MA in Fine Art Sculpture at the Royal College of Art.
He said that all creative activity had some sort of political content.
Explaining his approach to this project, he said: “It has been more like a conversation than telling them what to do. We’ll leave them to think about how they are going to tackle the challenges they face in their own studios. We are trying to help them with the little bit of experience we have. Artists are trained to think freely and hopefully that is what they’ll do.”
He spoke about one of his recent commissions, creating a sculpture out of cardboard in London’s Holland Park and calling it Sajida Talfah after the first wife of Saddam Hussein, a fugitive from justice.
He said there were echoes in the work of Lord Holland, the 19th Century aristocrat who had been a sympathiser of Napoleon. The park was named in his memory and was the site of his house which was destroyed in the Second World War.
The sculpture was vandalised and set alight but the artist was happy that it had served its purpose.
Godfrey Worsdale, the new director of Baltic, said: “Ctrl-Alt-Shift enables young people to think creatively about profoundly important concerns. The project demonstrates that art has a significant part to play in cultural change.”