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More Than A Word To Celebrate Graffiti

A new exhibition celebrating the art of graffiti has gone on display at The Customs House.

1st February 2010 - 23rd May 2010

More Than A Word is the collective work of 150 young people aged 5-19 years old, who over the course of two months worked with professional Graffiti company Newline to produce this thoughtful, expressive, dynamic and relevant exhibition.

It explores the identity, individualism, thoughts and feelings of young people from across North and South Tyneside, using street art and a fusion of traditional sign writing techniques.

Schools, Community Centres, Outreach Projects and Special Schools all took part.

Graffiti is a fast growing social tool of expression and regardless of its association with vandalism (which More Than a Word does not condone) graffiti art is undoubtedly one of the 20th century’s biggest art movements and continues into the 21st and beyond.

This vibrant and engaging exhibition is accompanied by a film depicting the processes involved in reaching the final exhibition. Produced by Andrew Hagan of Mainstream Films, this documentary style film captures the action as well as the more gentle thoughts and conversations between young people and artists about self expression and identity.

Jonathan Smee, a professional designer based at M&C Saatchi, London took part in the project and is responsible for the centrepiece of the exhibition – the “More Than A Word” exhibition sign that adorns the main wall.

Customs House Visual Arts Development Officer Esen Kaya said: “This exhibition is a first of its kind to be shown at the Sandford Goudie Gallery and is one of the many empowering projects delivered by Find Your Talent based at The Customs House.

“Find Your Talent is about helping young people to discover new things, to express themselves, to develop a passion and to make the most of their talent.

“I think that anyone who comes to see this exhibition will see a positive side to graffiti.

“The idea is to show people that - if it is given the right platform to be displayed - as an art form it deserves more recognition than it gets because of its links with vandalism.”

More Than A Word took place at The Customs House from Saturday April 17 – Sunday May 23. Opening times for the Gallery are 10am - 8pm (Monday to Saturday) and 11am - 8pm (Sunday).