Egungun at Porto Santo-Sakete village, Benin © Jeremy Hunter 2013
Egungun at Porto Santo-Sakete village, Benin Photograph: © Jeremy Hunter 2013

Mark Hix’s Cock’n’Bull Gallery – located in the basement of his Tramshed restaurant in the heart of Shoreditch – has partnered with Sharon Newton and will be home to Let’s Celebrate 365, an exhibition of work by photographer Jeremy Hunter.

Spanning 35 years of Hunter’s stunning reportage photography across 65 countries and five continents, the exhibition focuses on global festivals, ceremonies, rituals and celebrations – ranging from secular to political and religious – in order to explore the world’s diversity.

Newton has worked closely with Hunter to select images that present rituals, ceremonies and celebrations from around the world including India, Tibet, Ethiopia and Britain.

Hunter has unflinchingly chronicled the many faces of celebration throughout the world. The photographs simultaneously capture the violence, tenderness and, as Newton says, “the most beautiful, often most vulnerable aspects of humanity”.

His subjects range from the Aboakyer Deer Hunt in Ghana, the whipping of young women at the Ukuli Bula ceremony in Ethiopia, to the rarely witnessed hair-pulling of nuns at the Deeksha ceremony in Southern India.

The photographs are not only an invaluable legacy from an anthropological perspective, but from a photographic and artistic one too. Hunter’s photographs are cinematic in their form, colour and framing, no doubt formed by his early career, working alongside influential British directors such as Nicholas Roeg, Ken Russell and John Schlesinger.

Hunter’s work depicts the vulnerability of not just humanity, but of the fragility of cultures. Hunter says: “As a result of increasingly rapid globalisation and the impact of mobile-phone technology, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, much of what I have documented will most probably vanish.”

It is interesting, then, to see Hunter’s record of these imperiled global traditions in the heart of an ever-changing East End backdrop. The venue, Newton adds, “is perfect” and is where “Hunter shot his very first photo-reportage in Shoreditch during the 1960s”.

These heartfelt photographs may represent the last time we see these cultures, which  according to Newton are “on their way to extinction”. Let us hope not.

Jeremy Hunter – Let’s Celebrate 365
9 May – 12 May 2014
Cock ‘n’ Bull Gallery
32 Rivington Street


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