Who Do We Think We Are, Impressions Gallery, Bradford

In the culmination of the Hidden Schools Tour, an innovative two-year project working with young people across Bradford, pupils from 12 schools take over Impressions Gallery with photographic tableaux re-imagining the past, and playful contemporary portraits which explore history and social identity.

During the Tour, the Gallery toured the exhibition Hidden by Red Saunders to primary and secondary schools across the Bradford district, showing artworks in assembly halls, classrooms, and corridors.

Taking inspiration from the themes of Saunders’ work – the historical struggle for democracy and equality in the UK – students experimented with a range of techniques such as staged, constructed and conceptual photography. Also collaborating with artist Jonathan Turner, the students created their own distinctive viewpoints expressing who they are, and who they might have been in the past.

The resulting exhibition is a series of large-scale, highly detailed images in which a cast of young people use costume, props and varying backdrops to imagine scenes from eras of British history, completed using contemporary digital composite techniques. As a counterpoint to their collective artworks, a second series of portraits accompanies the historical works to express each individual child’s identity and aspirations, allowing them to break free from the conformity of the school uniform.

Who Do We Think We Are, until 7 February, Impressions Gallery, Centenary Square, Aldermanbury, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 1SD. For more information visit www.impressions-gallery.com.

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1. Installation shot of Who Do We Think We Are, Impressions Gallery. © Colin Davison