BAS9 Ambassadors are representatives from the local community in each city of the British Art Show 9 tour. Our Ambassadors will be working with gallery staff and the BAS9 team to be part of the British Art Show 9 experience by promoting the exhibition to friends, family and their wider community, as well as by building new relationships in each city.

 

Meet Bart Grabski

 

Bart worked as a Social Media Ambassador for British Art Show 9 in Aberdeen. Within his role, he generated content for social channels and connected communities online. 

Bart is studying towards a degree in Public Relations at Robert Gordon University. Previously he studied at the University of the Arts London and School of Textiles and Design at Heriot-Watt University in the United Arab Emirates and Scotland. He uses the knowledge gained at university to create a bridge between artists and the public. He is a global citizen and has been highly involved with activism, especially during his previous roles at RGU: Union as Vice-President for Community and International. Bart also helps with creating online content for Look Again, which is a creative unit based at Gray’s School of Art. Bart’s favourite aspect of contemporary art is its subjectivity and freedom for interpretations as well as diversity in mediums and forms.

Bart has been a real asset to the BAS9 team at Aberdeen capturing the activities across the exhibition from graffiti days to spotlight tours. Bart has even taken the lead in editing the documentary of British Art Show 9 artist Grace Ndiritu’s new commission that took place in Aberdeen and will be presented across the BAS9 tour. 

 

Reema Shoaib

Reema is an arts enthusiast, promoting arts and culture to her international community living in Aberdeen. A recent graduate from the University of Aberdeen, her course in Visual Culture and Arts Management led her to intern at Aberdeen Art Gallery.  Reema has been a roaming social media reporter for BAS9 highlighting events, tours and activities; presenting her own live broadcasts and interviewing  other ambassadors and artists. Reema has used her Facebook platform  ChaiTime as a genuine BAS9 channel for many people in the community who may not have known about the exhibition if not for Reema. 

Watch Reema’s interview of Rita here: https://fb.watch/93-5uMunwX/

 

Rosie Leavett

Rosie was delighted to be a BAS9 Ambassador. Now retired, she spent her working life in the social care sector mainly with older people, especially those with dementia and their family carers. Her aim has always been to enable people to live life to the best of their ability and she firmly believes that the arts in the widest sense have a vital role to play here.

Rosie has been volunteering with Aberdeen Art Gallery for several years and she’s really enjoyed encouraging older people in particular, to engage with the Gallery, sometimes for the first time in their lives. The main thing she has learnt from this is the value of focussing on just a few works at a time and to really think about how we respond to them – whether that’s positively or negatively. She now tries to resist the temptation to take in a whole exhibition in one go, if she can!

BAS9 in Aberdeen has been a new experience of art for many people (Rosie included). Through her Ambassador role, Rosie wanted to support more opportunities for older people to get involved. During BAS9, Rosie has helped run relaxed coffee morning tours of the show as well as being fundamental in the creation of a new film resource available to groups from care homes, who aren’t able to access the gallery easily. As Rosie says, “You’re never too old to learn or to have an opinion!”

 

Alan Johnstone

Alan is an accountant by profession and when he took early retirement almost six years ago, he decided to take a different direction and undertake some volunteering duties in Aberdeen. As both his parents had dementia, he approached Alzheimer Scotland, who gave him the opportunity to join their football memories programme. They use old programmes, film clips, photos and other memorabilia to stimulate discussion and trigger personal memories of football in a relaxed, welcoming and fun environment. 

It quickly became apparent to him that so much more could be done in the city to broaden the memories programme by working in partnership with other organisations, including local and social history in addition to sport, and by offering sessions which are dementia-friendly rather than dementia-exclusive. AAGM were able to offer him all of these and he has now been volunteering for over three years, contributing to the ‘Our Aberdeen’ series, being a joint leader of tours around Aberdeen Treasure Hub and helping out with ad-hoc duties. Over the past year ‘Our Aberdeen’ has moved to an online format and this has stimulated Alan to consider how a combination of online and in person sessions may continue in the future. 

 

Vladas Laukys

Vladas was born in 1984 in Mazeikiai, Lithuania, which had been part of the Soviet Union until 1990. Brought up in a working-class family, Vladas’s childhood was influenced by Soviet communism. From a young age, Vladas was influenced and inspired by the culture of the streets. 90’s Hip-Hop music, skateboarding, dance and graffiti scenes left an imprint on his soul. Shifting to Reggae music and Rastafari culture in his later teens, Vladas kept the good vibes running. He became passionate about writing rap/poetry and performing. In 2005 he emigrated to Aberdeen, Scotland as an economic migrant and by 2011 he was married, with his first child, studying mechanical engineering and organising reggae music nights in Aberdeen. Vlasas joined an oil company in 2014 and worked there as a Lead Pressure Testing Technician until 2019.

In 2017 Vladas volunteered with several festivals in Aberdeen. The inspiration he received was enormously powerful, to the point of realisation that creativity is the natural and essential element of human existence. This revelation encouraged Vlad to change his perception of his own existence and led him to become an artist developing a practice based on life progression of past, present and future. Mediums of choice vary from stencil and spray paint to pallet and brushes to pencil and notepad.

Vladas is a multi-instrumentalist when it comes to art and creativity, with a strong passion for painting and contemporary art. In his art, he explores reality, based on scientific proven or unproven theories in combination with biological studies, quantum physics and politics. We live in chaos and Vlad is here to study it.

As an ambassador Vladas has helped out with the Mobile Art School and has run special tours of the exhibition as part of the special #BAS9 Graffiti Jam weekend. 

Over the weekend families and young people, invited by Vladas and through social media call out, descended on a legal Graffiti space to express how they had been inspired by BAS9

 

Fiona Burrows 

Fiona left her career as a primary school teacher to pursue her dream of becoming a full time visual artist. She studied painting at Leith School of Art for two years and recently moved to Aberdeen to attend Gray’s School of Art. Having missed the chance to study art at school due to believing she was “not arty”, she is passionate about making art accessible to children and public audiences, so that others recognise their interests and talents sooner! You can view her work on Instagram or at www.fionaburrowsart.co.uk

As an Ambassador, Fiona worked with families and children as part of the Mobile Art School team as well as helping to lead BAS9 gallery Spotlight Tours

 

Rita Kermack 

Rita is intrigued by geomorphological processes and the way landscapes change. She is fascinated by the edge of our island as a space where land and sea meet. The coast and the intertidal zone are where these changes are most visible and can be observed within a very short period of time.

The intertidal, or littoral zone is an environment of extremes. Only highly specialised life-forms can survive the high salt levels and the perpetual change of the tide. Weather conditions, pollution and other environmental issues can have a detrimental effect on the land, habitats and ecosystems found here. Continuous erosion and sedimentation mean that the coast is in a constant state of flux.

This makes the intertidal zone a fragile and transient space. She is hoping that through a form of mapping, visually recreating habitats and recording her holistic experiences, she can create a sense of place in her work that helps the viewer and herself to understand the vulnerability of our environment and to form a closer connection to it.

 

Chris Sansbury & Kevin Mitchell

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city such as the local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; and the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day. Their monthly newsletter, Your Aberdeen, takes a look at what’s been going on in the city from all different angles.

The goal is simple: to use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community, and to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes interviews with Paralympic gold medalist, Neil Fachie; Chef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen. 

As BAS9 Ambassadors Chris and Kevin used POST as a platform to cover British Art Show 9. Visit POST Aberdeen to read a great selection of interviews and articles.