On Thursday 23 April we took a minibus to Middlesbrough to visit MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art). We were lucky to have a real taste of summer - hot sunshine!. A week later we are shivering in single figure temperatures.
MIMA is situated near the town centre and has adequate parking for cars and buses. There are many features to enjoy in its grounds, including water features, seats for picnics and sculptures.
But our visit was to the Diary Rooms by the multimedia artist Derek Eland. There are web sites about this for further details. Basically Derek spent nearly two years as a war artist in Afghanistan, which particularly interested me as I am already learning Dari, Afghanistan's main language. The exhibition is on the ground floor and consists of hundreds of letters on cards from troops and others in that country. Most are in English but a few are in other languages, notably Dari, which is written in the Arabic alphabet. When Derek arrived in Afghanistan, he gave blank cards to every member of the troops there and asked each one to write about their experiences there. In other words to create a 'diary room'. It would easily take a whole day to read even all the English exhibits, but it is a very rewarding and ususual experience. Again one can see examples online. It is certainly very original and unlike anything else we have seen. Sadly, the exhibition ends on 30 April, at least at MIMA.
Derek has also produced a book about this exhibition called 'Diary Rooms'. It costs £12.99, of which a pound is donated to a charity called Combat Stress. I purchased a copy and it was well worth it. Whilst there we visited other exhibitions, mainly on the first floor, with many interesting items such as brooches and jewellery. There is even a board on which you can draw your own jewellery around a lady's figure.
All in all a most successful day, one of the best so far. I hope we might return there some day.