Many artists create a piece of art privately in their studio and then put it on display for the public to view and react to, and hopefully gain recognition and support from it. Very few actively engage the public first and create their art from the community they interacted with—which is exactly what photographer Nicola Muirhead and designer Stratton Hatfield did with their WE ARE NOW project.
The duo worked together to photograph over 600 people in their simple mobile photo booth (basically a white sheet draped in the back of their car) and used the resulting library of over 4,500 images—including images of Bermuda’s natural environment—to create a stunning visual mosaic of Bermuda’s unique diversity.
“The original purpose of WE ARE NOW was to collect images of the people of Bermuda from our mobile photo booth to make video mosaics reflecting the diverse colour spectrum of Bermuda’s people and places,” explained Hatfield.
“We then developed the WE ARE NOW mobile gallery to emulate our mobile photo booth and converted a shipping container into a contemporary viewing space that features the video mosaics. Inside the gallery, images are transformed into macro images on a projector screen while a musical composition by Yesha Townsend plays. The mobile gallery was designed to be trucked around the island, dropped in various locations and opened for extended hours so anyone can enjoy the videos and music on display.”
The 20-foot repurposed shipping container, complete with air conditioning, seating, screen and speakers, was placed in various locations around the island—including City Hall, Ordnance Island in St. George’s, the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard and Front Street—in order to give as many people as possible the opportunity to view the piece. The project was possible thanks to a grant from the Bermuda Arts Council and partnership with both Air Care and Bermuda Forwarders who trucked the container from end to end. The project was launched on August 11th and future plans for further exhibitions are in the works.
“The video mosaics, in addition to the photo booth images, will be on display indefinitely on the new website www.wearenowbda.com,” said Hatfield. “Facebook (www.fb.com/wearenow.bda) and Instagram (@wearenow.bda) will also feature various images and updates related to the project and explain any future plans for the piece.”
“The intention of the piece is to use the collected imagery to foster a connection between each and every person who inhabits Bermuda, illustrating that each of us is now and we are all part of our community,” said Stratton Hatfield of the WE ARE NOW project.