Annabel McCourt’s ‘I’m Sorry’ launches at Barnsley Civic
What’s in an apology? When was the last time you said sorry… and truly meant it?
These questions form the heart of the thought-provoking ‘I’m Sorry’ exhibition by Annabel McCourt, launching on Saturday 23 September at Barnsley Civic.
Annabel McCourt is a Grimsby-based artist who works in photography, film, sculpture, and installation. Her work is often influenced by fact, folklore, and legend.
Inspired by the artist’s personal experience of loss, this exhibition explores the act of saying ‘I’m Sorry’ – and how it can be a powerful and healing tool for taking accountability, and for forgiveness.
I’m Sorry presents a series of photographic portraits. In each portrait, a person offers their own private apology to the camera, holding a bespoke ‘I’m Sorry’ neon, written in the artist’s handwriting.
The exhibition offers a safe space for people to offer their own private apology if they want to. They can write an apology on a dedicated wall within the exhibition. The inception of this project lies in McCourt’s personal experience of not being able to say goodbye to her father before his passing. Holding a private ceremony to offer an apology became a profound and healing way for her to cope with this aspect of grief, an experience shared by many. Recognising the therapeutic potential, McCourt decided to create this space for others.
“This project has taken me back to my artistic roots, camera in hand, actually going to meet people and looking into their eyes. There’s something utterly captivating about holding the bespoke clear glass ‘I’m Sorry’ – fashioned out of my handwritten apology.
“I’m Sorry – is a secret ceremony, but for me, it’s about not getting the chance to say goodbye to my Dad before he died. I had a profound vision of him contacting me in my sleep, and then I got the call at 4:30 am, I raced to the hospital, but it was too late. I feel vulnerable, paired-down, and honest by exhibiting this collection of photographs and I’m profoundly grateful to every contributor for ‘speaking’ truth to power via my camera lens.”
Elizabeth Dickinson, Curator at Barnsley Civic said: “We’re excited to hold space for this empowering and transformative project at Barnsley Civic. It’s important to us to be able to support artists in actualising projects that mean a lot to them, so I’m humbled that Annabel has trusted our venue to go on such a personal and vulnerable journey with her. I can’t wait for people to experience this visually stunning exhibition and hopefully go on a healing journey of their own.”
The exhibition launches on Saturday 23 September and runs until Saturday 20 January 2024.