GoMA announces major new exhibition by Jacqueline Donachie
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GoMA announces major new exhibition by Jacqueline Donachie

Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is to present a major solo exhibition by Glasgow-based artist Jacqueline Donachie, including an ambitious new body of work exploring disability, care and loss.

Deep in the Heart of Your Brain opens to the public 20th May 2016. It will be the first solo exhibition by Donachie at GoMA and continues the gallery’s acclaimed series of exhibitions and programmes looking at social justice and human rights issues.

Donachie creates socially-engaged art and has an ongoing interest in healthcare and bio-medical research. This exciting new commission with GoMA, supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, will include​ sculpture and drawings made in the last five years alongside new works developed out of a period of research with a group of women affected by myotonic dystrophy and made in collaboration with the UK Patient Registry at The John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre in Newcastle.  Donachie has also received support to work with GoMA on this exhibition and for further research from the National Lottery through the Creative Scotland Open Project Fund.

The women involved are all sister pairs, where one sibling has inherited the myotonic dystrophy gene and one has not, mirroring the artists own position within her family where many relatives are affected by the condition.

This rich archive of personal reflection on age, appearance and disability offers a powerful platform for new work. Through connecting the thoughts of the women on their position within science and the treatment that affects them with established sculptural language that uses industrial materials, drawing and film, Donachie seeks to parallel the relationships and hierarchy of families with that of science, within the context of contemporary art. The exhibition will also reference items of armour from Glasgow Museums collection, and works from an earlier sculptural and performance tradition such as that of Bruce McLean. 

Speaking about the project, artist Jacqueline Donachie said: “Since 2002, I have worked with a range of scientific and medical professionals in collaborative processes to produce new ideas and artworks. This new commission supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award and Creative Scotland and staged in one of GoMA’s main galleries, for a period of 6 months, brings this new work to as wide a range of the public as possible. There are excellent opportunities through the contact with gallery visitors and the public engagement programme to begin a discussion around the ethics of the biomedical research I have been working with, and the impact it has on us all.”

The artist and gallery are also pleased to announce that, through generous support from the Wellcome Trust Arts Award, there will be a symposium to bring together key academics, artists, patients and interested colleagues to take forward some of the themes and ambitions raised by the exhibition.

Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “GoMA has delivered a number of high profile and very successful exhibitions and activities designed to engage the public, through art, with a variety of challenging issues. 

“This project not only allows GoMA the privilege of working with Jacqueline Donachie, one of Scotland’s most interesting contemporary artists, it enables us to continue to build on GoMA’s social justice programme, which has already made an important contribution to social change by providing a platform for exploring, discussing and challenging subjects connected to human rights.

“I would like to thank the Wellcome Trust and Creative Scotland for supporting this valuable project, and I look forward to seeing Jacqueline’s exhibition at GoMA.”

Donachie graduated from the Glasgow School of Art's influential Environmental Art department, which encouraged artists to place their work in a variety of public contexts outside the gallery space. Her socially engaged practice crosses both her public art work and her formal gallery based works, which has looked at physical experience, health and wellbeing, often in partnership with medical professionals. Her work in the healthcare realm has led her to collaborate on ground-breaking research with academics based in Glasgow and abroad. Her work with them has introduced new audiences and conversations to the pioneering research that is currently investigating genetically inherited disease.

Deep in the Heart of Your Brain will to be presented in GoMA Gallery 4 and opens 20th May 2016 running until November 2016

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