Exhibition 59 – Naomi Frears

Curated by Soraya Smithson Exhibition 59 is by Naomi Frears. Naomi says: “It has been fun wondering what to put or say on a flag. I love making work in new ways and have asked lots of people what kind of flag they would make. It really makes people think.
When I explain that someone lives near the flagpole, the idea of being quite rude about right wing politics – a natural urge – has had to make way for something that won’t encourage eggs to be thrown. I don’t have flag making skills, so talked to a local flag company. All parts of their business are as sustainable and ethical as possible, so I have tried to overlook the fact that the flag is made of some kind of spooky recycled fabric. 
The words on the flag are from one of my text works. They relate to the theme The Lands of the Free in that, in our society we are able ask politely for a person, people, or a state to stop doing things we don’t like or find irritating. It may not transform behaviour, but we can let someone know something we’d like them to think about changing. A conversation might start. Sometimes the request might be impossible, but we can still ask. Here on the noticeboard is a tiny part of a very long list of what those undesirable things might be. What would you ask a person, people, or a state politely not to do?

Naomi Frears is based in the Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, Cornwall. Her practice includes work with film and video, as well as printmaking, painting, and collaborative curatorial projects. Recent solo shows and film commissions include Men Falling (Artist Moving Image Commission, Exeter Phoenix) and In Other Words, a film commission for RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter), Red River, a film commission in collaboration with poet John Wedgwood Clarke shown at COP 26, Looking for Ray, for Kestle Barton, and Somebody Loves Us All, a film commission and collaboration with poet Ella Frears, Bold Tendencies, Peckham. She undertook a large painting commission for Hospital Rooms at Bethlam Royal Hospital, London and her work appears regularly on the cover of the London Review of Books. Frears’ work is held in public and private collections including The Government Art Collection and in 2023 she was nominated for the Film London Jarman Award for artists moving image. Frears teaches art students at Falmouth University and among other projects, she is currently making new work as a guest of Britten Pears Arts in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.