Coming In From The Cold

Coming In From The Cold

As the country warms up following the recent cold snap, we're pleased to announce the five East-Anglian artists who have each been awarded a commission to produce a brand-new artwork for presentation at the Babylon Gallery later this spring.

The new artworks will be created in response to a historical weather diary written in 1963 by Betty Mann, a lifelong resident of Soham in Cambridgeshire. Some of these artworks will take their inspiration from The Big Freeze, a particularly treacherous weather event which occurred in 1963. Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see variations on the winter landscape with abstract depictions of mist, frost, ice and snow.

Following a successful open-call in December 2020, the five selected artists are: Amber Lawrence a sculptor, printmaker and installation artist, who will be creating a sculptural representation of the temperature data recorded by Betty Mann, from each day of the year in 1963; Eleanor Wood an artist, who is producing a series of contemporary works on paper that respond abstractly to the age and feel of Betty Mann’s weather diary; Mari French an abstract painter, who will create a series of mixed-media artworks on panel responding to observations of winter through windows; Mark Tamer who is an experimental photographer, working with both analogue and digital mediums and will be presenting a visual interpretation of 30 days in January 2021 from his own diary as he records his vestibular migraine attacks that impact his everyday life; and Simon Nunn a filmmaker will be contributing a video using archival footage of Soham and its surrounding fens landscape, combining past time festivities in the village with weather patterns shot digitally.

Image right: Credit Mari French. Work in progress for the exhibition.

Selected artist Simon Nunn said “The call-out for the No Frost at Night exhibition spoke to me as an artist, but also as a resident living in this extraordinary part of the country. Betty’s diaries capture her unique weather reports, as well as offer us a viewpoint from which we can look to explore the societal changes in customs, our relationship with each other, and with the landscape.”

The exhibition will be curated by Sid White-Jones, as part of the Babylon Young Curators’ programme, in which young, aspiring creatives stage an exhibition with guidance from experienced mentors.

Young Curator, Sid White-Jones explains – “On the surface, Betty Mann’s meticulous weather diary presents its readers with an uninterrupted insight into the weather patterns that were experienced by those living in The Fens in 1963. However, there is far more to be found hidden within its pages and artists Amber, Eleanor, Mari, Mark and Simon will each use their respective mediums to draw out these unique elements from within the historical record.”

Alongside, revealing the five artists for No Frost at Night exhibition, we're pleased to announce that Central England Co-operative, who are opening a new store in Sutton shortly, have come onboard as new partner for the Babylon Young Curators project. Claire Somerville, our chief executive added; "It's great to have the support of local businesses and we're delighted that Central England Co-operative have made a donation towards the two exhibitions that our young curators, Olu Taiwo and Sid White-Jones, are currently organising. We hope this may be the start of a positive relationship between our charity and this new local Co-operative store."



From left to right: Artist Eleanor Wood, photographer Mark Tamer, sculptor Amber Lawrence, artist Mari French and film-maker Simon Nunn.


Subject to Covid restrictions at the time, the No Frost at Night exhibition is due to take place at The Babylon Gallery, from 16th April to 9th May.

The Babylon Young Curators project is supported with funding from Arts Council England and The Co-op; and with support from Wysing Arts Centre, Kettles Yard, G's Fresh and Heritage for All CIC. 

The Weather Dairies are curated by Heritage for All CIC.

As part of the exhibition, inspired by Betty's diaries, we have produced a set of fourteen-day diaries which we will be posting out to people for free, to fill in on a subject of their choice. We ask that these diaries are returned once completed, so that they can be showcased within No Frost at Night. Find out how to get yours here.

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