Games People Play

/ / Art in Modern Culture, Exhibitions, Games People Play

Our project “Games People Play” involves art exhibitions and workshops on the broad idea of sports and games and at a deeper level of the ways people handle relationships.

The innovative project is planned mainly in two phases running over one year – Exhibitions by English and Indian artists “Games People Play” (Phase 1) and by school-children from the East Midlands “Games Children Play” (Phase 2). There are a lot of commonalities between games and the way we conduct our lives – negotiating, competing, preparing and practicing, even cheating, winning, losing. The artists in this exhibition are exploring the various angles from which the subject of games and sports can be looked at.

Artcore is committed to reaching arts/crafts activities into the lives of people of all ages/abilities, nationalities, gender and cultural-ethnic backgrounds. Phase 1 “Games People Play” exhibition is scheduled to be travelling to four main venues in the East Midlands. These venues are Deda (September 2011), East Midlands Airport DepARTure Gallery (November 2011), The Atrium Gallery, Nottingham (January 2012) and Leicester (venue to be confirmed). Alongside it is also being marketed with participatory activities at major Art Festivals in the East Midlands especially Nottingham Mela, Riverside Festival 5th – 7th August, The One Year To Go event in Derby on 27th July, Derby Feste on 24th Sept 2011 and more. We are also exploring other venues in London and the project will travel to India in April 2012 (subject to funding).

The exhibition “Games People Play” will try to present different points of views, attitudes and takes that artists have on Games/Sports, their organisation, on the players and the organisers, the spectators, the promoters and sponsors, the winners and the losers. We also feel that by giving the artist a curatorial theme/subject, we are, perhaps, nudging or goading the artist to think about topics s/he would otherwise not be bothered with. Competitive Games/Sports trace their way back to ancient times. But Games/Sports are not just a vehicle to display personal prowess, talent and skill. Their inherent competitiveness fuels ambition, a desire to excel and win, sometimes using fair means or foul, can generate spectatorship that can embrace millions of people across the world, which, in turn, can generate millions through commodification of the game/players, and fan nationalistic fervour of positive/negative kinds. The romance and glamour, the hero worship and deification associated with sports stars can be both exhilarating and restricting.

Artcore has experience of delivering international projects and exhibitions and this project “Games People Play” will be exploring the new avenues and a challenge for Artcore as an organisation to portray.

Games People Play – themes and values

“Games People Play” is a project which celebrates sports and culture through a medium of Art. There are takes from national and international artists on the curatorial theme. It provides a platform to budding artists and involves young people to be active creatively. The artists from the UK and India are demonstrating a positive point for internationalism, supporting cultural diversity, and rooting for sharing and understanding between peoples of the world. Many artists are using imagery of sports in the paintings to depict what they want to express. Most of the paintings celebrate sports and the values they stand for – to better records, to play fair, to have pride in one’s country. But at the same time, a number of artists are using their paintings to celebrate cultural diversity, the importance of compassion and tolerance, the need for respecting nature, and saying ‘no’ to violence.
During the course of this project the spectators, audience, participants and young volunteers will experience close working between culture and sports through mediums of art. We will involve a large audience not only through the exhibitions but also the participatory events at different festivals like Nottingham Mela or the One Year To Go event in Derby, Derby Feste, etc by showcasing and participating traditional Arts and Crafts from around the world. Such activities will encourage the audience to take part and also build relationships between people and organisations.

Artcore is looking at artist residencies between India and the East Midlands and such exhibitions are the first step in this direction. This kind of exchange will promote internationalism and linkages. Artcore has slowly but steadily built up a regular audience for its various arts/crafts based activities. This has led to a number of organisations in the cultural/social/tourism industry being quite supportive of our activities. For instance, Deda Derby has offered us their space for exhibiting artworks opening up an audience base of those who are dance practitioners or performers. Similarly the exhibition at the East Midlands Airport DepARTures Gallery will get exposure from the hundreds of travellers transiting through its portals.

Phase II of this project concentrates on Artcore working with children from the East Midlands schools towards an exhibition, “Games Children Play”. In this sense our project is openly participative and with immense active involvement of young people. Working on the exhibition for school children will surely open up opportunities for cultural skills development of young persons and capacity development of schools in organising and managing such activities within the school. The “Games Children Play” exhibition will attract children and their families and the teaching community in vast numbers as audience development. Thus the project will leave in its wake a very positive legacy of a win-win situation where numerous people from different kinds of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and in a range of age groups will participate actively, positively and with pride in the project.


The seeds of this project were sown around the same time of London winning the bid and preparing for the Olympics 2012. Simultaneously India was preparing for Commonwealth Games 2010. The air was thick with the excitement of these huge sports events, with all the negatives and positives and the numerous scandals and controversies associated with their organisation, creation of infrastructure and so on. The project, “Games People Play”, obviously draws its inspiration from games and sports, and is built around these mega sports events. It is a topic which the participating artists, both British and Indian, have found very exciting and unusual too, an ideal platform to portray their perceptions and ideas on sports/games through the arts.

Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games said: ’Games People Play is encouraging East Midland Citizens to fulfil their potential. I am proud that with the help of partners such as Artcore, we are delivering our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in East Midlands.’

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