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Art project celebrates ‘rich diversity’

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Nicola Muirhead, right, and Stratton Hatfield complete their year-long community art project having photographed some 600 Bermudians and Bermuda residents. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

After almost two years of preparation, Bermudian artists Nicola Muirhead and Stratton Hatfield are ready to lift the lid on their social, interactive community art project We Are Now.

Since November 2013, the lifelong friends have been scouring the Island photographing hundreds of people regardless of race, colour, creed or social standing.

Churches, beaches, cafes and street pavements from St George’s to Somerset have played host to the travelling photo booth set up inside a PVC structure attached to the back of Ms Muirhead’s car.

More than 600 participant had four images taken of their face and hands and in total there is a library of about 4,500 images including microphotographs of Bermuda’s natural environment.

Ms Muirhead told The Royal Gazette: “We Are Now is a representation of the rich diversity found in the social and environmental makeup of Bermuda. It embodies the soul of vibrant Bermudian culture and heritage, depicting what makes our community so vivid, our environment so beautiful and our heritage so strong. The piece attempts to portray the connection that the people of Bermuda have, not only to our country and land, but ourselves as individuals in this dynamic community.”

The piece draws inspiration from the philosophy: “We are our country, we are our land, we are our people, we are now.”

Mr Hatfield added: “The intention of the mobile photo booth has been to capture the distinctive elements of each participant including their hair, eyes, nose, mouth and skin colour as well as the various tones and textures that make each individual unique.”

Ms Muirhead and Mr Hatfield presented their concept to the Bermuda Arts Council and received a grant to develop the second phase of the project known as the We Are Now mobile gallery. With assistance from the council and other local companies including Bermuda Forwarders, Air Care, Pimentel Crane Services & Signworx, a shipping container has been repurposed into a mobile gallery that includes a projector, speakers, screen and air conditioning.

The mobile gallery launched on Wednesday evening positioned outside City Hall in Hamilton. An animated mosaic is displayed featuring an assortment of images collected in the We Are Now mobile photo booth and around the national parks and gardens of Bermuda. The video installation is accompanied by a musical composition by Yesha Townsend. The mobile gallery will pop up in locations around Bermuda including the City of Hamilton, St George’s and Dockyard over the next few weeks. It will be positioned outside City Hall until August 25 after which it will be moved to the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard. On September 15 the mobile gallery will be trucked to Ordinance Island in St George’s and on September 22 the container will be moved back to Front Street in Hamilton.

For locations and opening times, visit the We Are Now Facebook page at www.fb.com/wearenow.bda

Nicola Muirhead (left) and Stratton Hatfield complete their year-long community art exhibit having photographed some 600 Bermudians and Bermuda residents. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)