A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) professor has showcased her photography art work at one of Europe’s most spectacular contemporary art festivals, while also holding a personal exhibition in the same city.
Lala Meredith-Vula, Professor of Art and Photography at DMU, exhibited a range of images from her ‘Haystacks’ series at the prestigious Artissima festival in the Italian city of Turin and the surrounding area of Piedmont.
The festival had a record number of visitors with 54,800 people from 35 countries attending and it has been combined with special art exhibitions taking place in museums and galleries which had extended opening hours through the night.
Lala’s work is being shown also at the Alberto Peola Gallery in central Turin until 22 December, which is one of 200 galleries participating in the festival.
Lala attended the opening weekend in Turin at the start of November and said it was a proud moment to see her work exhibited in such a setting.
She said: “It was an incredible event and it was so great to see so much art in a classic city and everyone coming out to visit the galleries. My photographs were produced on special paper and larger than usual which created a real connection between the viewer and the artwork.”
The project has allowed Lala, who was born Sarajevo and moved to Britain as a child, to reconnect with the region of her birth.
Some of the images date from as early as 1989 when she first toured the countryside in Kosova with her Kosovar father, capturing images of haystacks which she used as conduits to tell bigger stories about people distressed by war, blood feuds and economic pressures.
Three of the photographs, which were taken over three different decades, are photographs of haystacks in a Kosovan village called Batush, which in 1999 was a scene of mass bloodshed during the Balkan War.
Lala explained: “Hunting for haystacks and then capturing them on film has been a wonderful way of connecting to the countryside and the famers and villagers who have made the stacks.
“Although they are just a functional form made for storing hay to give to animals they have a real beauty and significance.”
Lala said she began the Haystacks project due to her love of the practical form, its sculptural qualities and its connection to the pictorial work of artists such as Henry Fox Talbot and Claude Monet. She is now planning to publish a book next year to mark 30 years since the start of the project.
She is also leading on a new project called 'Balkan Girl Power', where girls aged between 16 and 26 from five countries in the Western Balkan will get the chance to work with mentors and exhibit their work in an exhibition in the Center For Openness and Dialogue, Albania, in 2019.
Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018