ON THE FACE OF IT.A cultural exchange project with Rugby League legend Stanley Gene.
With the impetus of the UK City of Culture 2017, ex-Rugby League Star Stanley Gene and Creative Producer Paul A Dennis want to connect the UK and Papua New Guinea by way of a unique artistic project!
Today’s world is fascinated by success and celebrity. In Sport, in Politics, in the Arts or any cultural activity, the Face is what we are hard-wired to recognise and respond to. A face made well known by its population, can inspire others in whatever passion or interest the person it belongs to can authentically represent.
To get closer to and under the surface of some of those faces, chosen by Stanley Gene, is the purpose of the project – ON THE FACE OF IT.
It involves the filming of a series of Portrait drawing sessions of people from the world of Rugby League and those who have played a part in Stanley’s own life story. During each portrait drawing session, Stanley and Paul will discuss the sitters experiences in life and sport. Revealing thoughts and insights on the valuable lessons each has learned in public and private life. Touching on areas such as identity, professionalism, failure, determination, perseverance, learning, challenges, pressure, pleasure, life balance and reward.
From this process we acquire several mini Art films about drawing from life. These will be promoted online to raise awareness of the cultural exchange Art Project (see below). Throughout this light hearted and reflective interview format, Stanley’s own story will be told from his early days in Goroka in Papua New Guinea, to his departure to play for teams in Hull and Yorkshire. His time with the Kumuls (Papua New Guinea national team), to his recent work with the Stanley Gene Foundation and his future ambitions to build stronger links between the two locations.
THE FILMING ALSO EXPLORES STANLEY’S OWN AMAZING SPORTING/LIFE JOURNEY. HIS OWN SENSE OF SELF AND CULTURAL IDENTITY. HOW CELEBRITY AND RECOGNITION HAVE EFFECTED HIS LIFE IN YORKSHIRE. OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IMPORTANT TO HIM. ESPECIALLY HIS FANS. ALONG WITH HIS DEEP CONNECTION WITH THE ROLE HE PLAYS IN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PNG PEOPLE.
THE ART PROJECT:
Using the role of portraiture in a fun and engaging way, the project will provide an introduction to the possibilities of the techniques and discipline behind drawing from life to new audiences.
To do this we will;
• Provide Free Artists Pads and Pencils to people from Goroka (Stanleys Home Town) in PNG and also to participants in Hull, East Yorkshire.
• Produce an online Portrait making project with both the children and adults of Goroka and Hull.
• Provide an Artist to give classroom instruction in portrait drawing in Goroka.
• Provide an Artist to give classroom instruction in portrait drawing in Hull.
• Organise a final exhibition of selected PNG and UK produced Portraits at a gallery venue in PNG and Hull during the 2017-2021 UK City of Culture term.
• Create a lasting exchange between PNG and Hull, exploring each others knowledge and culture.
• Develop the Art of Drawing from life in both Hull and PNG.
• Extend invites to developing Artists in Hull and PNG for cultural exchange visits, to further build art links between the two.
The projects long term aim is to create an ongoing link with the wider community in Papua New Guinea. Establishing a UK outlet for their artistic works and also to support Stanley’s village of Goroka with art materials.
The project will be fully supported online and across social media. The project includes the promotion of the project films across various platforms, a touring art exhibition (subject to additional funding) and a book about the project.
Sponsorship: Hull City Council’s head of Sports, Leisure and Heritage has agreed a potential commitment of £5,000 and help to raise awareness about the project. We are now seeking the remaining funding (via a soon to be launched Crowdfunding & Sponsorship campaign).
We hope you will come with us and play your part in what must be a first for Hull, Yorkshire and Papua New Guinea in the creation of a little piece of sporting and art history.
If you would like to sponsor this project and wish to discuss the benefits involved please click above.
To Donate to the project click here.
Above: Paul and Stanley with an expressive portrait of Stanley by Beverley artist Neil Helyard.
Above: Stanley was featured in a Trans World Sport documentary on PNG rugby.
Stanley Gene is Kumuls (Papua New Guinea’s national team) most famous international Rugby League sports personality and player export to Hull Kingston Rovers, Hull FC, Bradford Bulls, Halifax RLFC and the Huddersfield Giants. He is highly respected in PNG. For over a decade he has helped PNG players and friends, by bringing them over to England to start a new life in sport.
Just like his many fans around the world, people have good reason to admire his endeavours after professional sport with his charity, The Stanley Gene Foundation. Every year Stanley takes containers of donated items from mainly Hull residents, over to his birth village of Goroka.
CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO SEE BBC FOOTAGE OF HIS LAST VISIT IN 2013
Above: Paul A Dennis talking about his Life Drawing Group.
Paul is a Creative Producer and originator of this project as well as an avid proponent of drawing from life. For over three years in the heart of Hull’s Old Town he has ran a Figure Drawing group and is, at the age of 59, rediscovering a new connection with the art of drawing from life.
He not a professional artist but intends over the course of the project to talk about the many benefits of learning to draw and also to see some improvement in his own approach and skill level.
…He also played rugby league for Hull Boys, but sadly the design world’s gain was rugby leagues’ loss!