3 Generations at Trescrowen Farm, Heamoor. One of the farming families the project has worked with. Photograph by Sarah C Chapman.

Last chance to see farming heritage exhibition

A final exhibition of photographs, film and interviews, collected from the year long project, ‘Family, Farming and Tradition,’ will be exhibited in the Engine Room, at the Exchange, in Penzance, from the 23rd November- 16th December 2010. 

The exhibition focuses on the dramatic shifts in the industry, lifestyle and culture of farming that have occurred throughout Cornwall within recent history.

The Cornish Audio Visual Archive (CAVA), University of Exeter, project, has been working with local farmers for the past year, collecting material, photographing farming families and carrying out oral history interviews. This was made possible with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A new combination of the material collected can be seen in this final exhibition, tracing Cornish farming from the late 19th Century to the present day.

Social documentary photographs, by local artist Sarah C Chapman, are presented as large-scale colour prints. These contemporary photographs celebrate Cornish farming, while creating an awareness of local practices. They also provide poignant comparisons to the slideshow of historical photographs within the exhibition. This juxtaposition highlights the social shifts and technological advances that have evolved in recent history.

Included in this exhibition is a large aerial photograph of the area surrounding Penzance, courtesy of the Cornwall Council. This covers down to Mousehole, across to St.Just and Carn Towen, and up to Newbridge, Madron and Gulval. The project invites farmers who have fields in this area to come into the Gallery and add their field names to the photograph, as part of an ongoing interactive installation. Sarah Chapman, project co-ordinator for the project, states, “not many people know that fields have names. Cornish field names are fascinating, often passed down through the generations, these names tell us about former land usage, size and nature of the fields. If you have fields within this area, please come in and add any field names to the photograph.”

In the resource room at the Gallery, will be playing video interviews with members of the farming community, conducted by Rowan Musser. These provide a living memory of past and present farming in Cornwall. Stories that have been passed down through the generations are retold and captured by the Cornish Audio Visual Archive (CAVA), part of the University of Exeter’s Institute of Cornish Studies at the Tremough Campus, Penryn.

For more information please email Sarah Chapman at cornwallfarming@exeter.ac.uk.

Date: 23 November 2010

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