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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Frank captures the beauty of Vietnam

A STRIKING display of photographs depicting life in Vietnam has gone on display in Egremont.

The exhibit, Time in Moments, has been produced by Frank Fee, who spends six months of his year in West Cumbria and six months in Kontum, Vietnam.

Frank is a self-styled aid worker, who negotiates politics, regulations and corruption to deliver aid, education and basic supplies along with his wife, Nar, who is also his translator.

To the people of Kontum, Frank is known as Ong Mat Toi – ‘Mr Sun’.

The photographs, on display at Florence Mine Arts Centre, were taken as snapshots; moments, expressions, colours and emotions that touched something in Frank.

As well as being captured moments, they are also sequences in a story that continues to this day, depicting people who have a history, future and a present that is far removed from that which the majority of Westerners will ever experience.

The exhibition has been curated by Emma McGordon, who kept the themes of simplicity and honesty in mind during the curation.

She said: “All of the pallets have been sourced locally and have been kept in their original state with no treatment or sanding process added.

“As well as acting as natural frames and viewfinders, the pallets also represent the simplicity of the Vietnamese way of life and the necessity that exists to use everything that is available; to up-cycle and to re-cycle – both of which are key to Florence Mine’s own ethos.

“Each photograph is held in place by pegs that are attached to a length of garden twine, every pallet has only one piece of garden twine wound round in a number of directions meaning that every photograph is dependent on the stability on those which surround it.

“As well as representing the idea of development – Vietnam as a developing country and the photographer’s own work as a developing photographer and the old dark room style of development – the twine also represents the political string pulling and delicacy of the eco-system where pressure on one area can spell potential collapse for others.”

The exhibition runs until the end of January and is open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Also at Florence Mine, a jewellery-making workshop is held on Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, and an open mic night is held on the third Wednesday of every month from 7.30pm.

And Florence Film Club begins on Tuesday, January 29, with a screening of the classic Lawrence of Arabia. It starts at 6.30pm.

For more information on any of the events, telephone 01946 824946 or visit www.florencemine.org.

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