‘A Sense of Place’ features members of the SGFA at Bermondsey Project Space, London.

This is the second of three thematically linked exhibitions Curated by Philippa Beale, responding to the concept of a ‘Sense of Place. The SGFA Members’ exhibition encompasses a diverse range of responses to the central idea.

Founded in 1919, the Society of Graphic Fine Art exists to promote and exhibit original works of art. The emphasis is on excellence in drawings, created by hand. This includes all colours and media: pencil, pen, brush, painting, charcoal, conté, and original printmaking.

The SGFA is the only UK society dedicated exclusively to drawing and welcomes a growing international membership. The annual SGFA ‘Open’ exhibition has taken place at the Mall Galleries in London since 2021. There are several Member Only exhibitions in London, the regions (Watts Contemporary Gallery in Guildford, The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists), and online.

The SGFA encourages Members to take an active part in regional events, social media, videos, drawing days, and the running of the Society itself.

The Theme

A ‘Sense of Place’ is used to describe how someone perceives and experiences a place or environment. The term can be used and understood in many ways. It is a multidimensional, complex construct used to characterize the relationship between people and spatial settings. Some geographical places are of special interest to individuals, while to others a ‘Sense of Place’ is a feeling or perception held by groups of people -not by a specific location. It is often used to characterise certain elements which make a place special or unique, or which foster authentic human attachment and belonging.

Geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, and urban planners study why certain places hold special meaning to particular people. Regions said to have a strong ‘Sense of Place’ have an identity that is deeply felt by inhabitants and visitors.

The term is used in urban and rural studies in relation to place-making and the attachment of communities to their environment or homeland. Anthropologists Steven Feld and Keith Basso define a ‘Sense of Place’ as:

‘The experiential and expressive ways places are known, imagined, yearned for, held, remembered, voiced, lived, contested, and struggled over. Many indigenous cultures are losing their sense of place because of climate change and loss of ancestral homeland, land rights, and destruction of sacred places.’

A ‘Sense of Place’ is a social phenomenon. Codes aimed at protecting, preserving, and enhancing places felt to be of value include World Heritage Site designations, the British Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty controls, and the American National Historic Landmark designation. A ‘Sense of Place’ can be our back garden, a place where we grew up, had a good time, or lived in fear: it may even be a place that is completely imaginary.

text by Philippa Beale SGFA.

Artists include:

Michele Ashby, Deborah Batt, Philippa Beale, Sally Beaumont, Harriet Bridgdale, Anne Carpenter, Lynda Clark, Lucy Clayton, Gary Cook, Luisia Crispin, Maragret Eggleton, Felicity Flutter, Marc Gooderham, Russel Herron, Kaye Hodges, Curtis Holder, Christine Hopkins, Maz Jackson, Charlie Kirkham, Pamela Lloyd-Jones, Vincent Matthews, Elizabeth Nast, Katherine Peeke, Sumi Perera, Susan Short, Jonathan Stockley, Michael Walsh, Tianyin Wang, Kevin Wells, Alice White, Angela Williams, Les Williams

Bermondsey Project Space (project-space.london)