by Beth Emily Richards

Five Plymouth friends explore a coming of age journey at The Sutton Youth Initiative

Five Plymouth-based friends are showing their work in Plymouth College of Art Gallery at their exhibition The Sutton Youth Initiative.

In 2001 the friends attempted to capture Drake’s Island. The events that occurred on what’s described as a coming of age journey, have stayed with the group, according to the gallery’s curator Hannah Jones.

Hannah told ArtsCulture: “Through their diverse practices the group have explored a range of responses to an event experienced by them in their teens during a sailing lesson off Sutton Harbour. The shadow of the event is mythologised by its repeated referencing in their individual and collaborative work.

“Word of mouth, rumour and visual re-imaginings, not only demonstrate the malleability of oral and visual history, but also emphasise the concept of myth surrounding The Sutton Youth Initiative.”

The work features an installation of the sailing boat dragged through the city by Ben Langworthy, a collection of drawings of Drake’s Island by Lucy Brennan, and a ‘cod skin’ swim suit by Bryony Gillard.

Ducks and Drake’s, by Scott Daniels, portrays the attempts of all five artists to skim specially engraved stones onto Drake’s Island. A film, Skipper, narrated by the grandfather of artist Beth Emily Richards about the game of bowls played at Plymouth Hoe Bowling Club by Francis Drake when the Spanish Armada was spotted.

The group of artists also form Project Space 11, an artist led space in the heart of Plymouth City Market, which is hosting an exhibition by Jonty Lees, who has been invited to develop and present work in response to the narratives depicted in this show.

Jonty’s work plays with themes from the Sutton Youth Initiative and potentially offers an alternative version of the events that happened in 2001.

The Sutton Youth Initiative opens on Wednesday, November 3 at the Plymouth College of Art Gallery and runs until Saturday, November 27.

(images, from the top: Still from Skipper by Beth Emily Richards; Ducks and Drake’s, by Scott Daniels; Ben Langworthy taking a rest from towing a boat across Plymouth)