By Alexandra Whatley 

Artists Maxime Allan and Ben Fenton invite us to embark on a documentary journey about “belonging and place” in an interdisciplinary exhibition, with painting and jewellery as main media. The artistic duo describe the collaboration as “exciting” – both re-examine their lives and connections with the idea of ‘home’, before and after moving to Hastings. 

Ben Fenton and Maxime Allan

Maxime was born in Winchester and studied silversmithing and jewellery design at London Metropolitan University where she completed her HND and Masters.  Her process is constantly changing, and as she moves away from the enamel she experimented with in the past, she is working more with gems and beads, in and against precious metals. Inspired by her childhood spent on the beaches of Herne Bay and her adult years as a mum in Hastings, the pieces from the exhibition encapsulate personal life-defining events.  Stories of medieval history from Winchester and tales of pirates and smugglers from the coast inhabit her jewellery, as the past and present weave unique pieces to be worn and loved. 

For Ben, this is the third year at the Coastal Currents as an artist living and working in Hastings. Originally from Dungeness and growing up in Romney Marsh, his subjects in his paintings revolve around faded seaside architecture that lost its 20th century grandeur, an aesthetic which is also present in Hastings. He mentions the attempt of Sidney Little to redesign the town in Art Deco style to draw tourism in and how the marsh uses the same material in order to keep the sea out. His inspiration comes from “the parallels and differences in the utilitarianism of these constructions”. Ben hopes the work that he and Maxime put together represents and reflects the warmth and authenticity of the Hastings’ community. 

The exhibition is part of Coastal Currents Arts Festival 2021 and is at Trinity 7 Gallery, 7 Trinity Street, Hastings.

Open: Daily from Saturday 4th September until Thursday 16th September; Private view:  Friday 3rd September. 6.00pm-9.00pm

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