Once Upon a Time… an enchanted woodland glade arose from the discarded waste of a thousand bottles. Shrouded there were the fairytales of our childhoods. Tales of morality, tales of mystery, tales of good and evil. There, fairy folk and mythical figures abide in a Babylonian tower,  story walls unfold and deforested dryads meet their fate: we are confronted with the consequences of our modern consumerism, ethics and environmental concerns.

Once Upon a Time is a visual arts residency and exhibition led by Art Pop-Up with artists Sue Shields, Sheelah Mahalath Bewley, Sam Roddan, Anu-Laura Tuttelberg and Laura Barnard. The work explores fairytales and folklore, delving into their narratives and symbolism – from Grimm to folklore mythologies. Fairytale conventions – the enchanted woodland, the hidden abode etc – are repurposed, siting these morality tales in contemporary contexts, to look at shifting perceptions of good and evil, such as how environmental concerns are revising views on consumption and mass production.


The works, including sculpture, animation and print works, were shown in progress at Stamford Arts Centre Gallery in November 2016 and culminated in a final major exhibition at City Gallery Peterborough from March through May 2017.


The project is supported by The Woodland Trust’s national Tree Charter, Natural England, Vivacity, the Kiwanis, The Ernest Cook Trust and Mid UK. The education programme was led by Paper Rhino with Mark Grist and Laura Barnard and supported by Peterborough Presents.


Download the new tale ‘Sorrow & the Sapling’ written for the exhibition by Sue Shields here


Project blog: www.facebook.com/OUaTexhibition

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