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Tagzee Remembered – turning an idea into an exhibition

Friends and family of Tagzee celebrated his life last week at Outpost, where Tagzee Remembered will be exhibited until 5 March. (more photos at bottom of this article)

Putting together a retrospective exhibition is always a challenge. The aim is to give a balanced reflection of the artist's creative output, but that often involves making hard choices about what can be included and what has to be left out. When the exhibition is also a commemoration of a much-loved friend, then the need to show the artist's work and talent to best advantage is made all the more difficult. See the new video celebrating Tagzee's artwork produced by Aaron Little (on YouTube, 3.24 minutes) Mark Jennings and I, the co-curators of Tagzee Remembered, faced just such a challenge in putting together a commemorative exhibition for him. Following Tagzee's untimely death in December 2015there was a general feeling that his life and work should be commemorated in some way. A retrospective exhibition seemed the obvious way forward. Our approach was to take things one step at a time and call in as much help as possible from Tagzee's family, friends, and many supporters. We first met with Lorna Coxall (manager of Outpost) in mid-January to see the gallery space and start thinking about how the work might be displayed. Tagzee had held a successful solo exhibition there in Spring 2014 and Outpost very much wanted to be able to showcase his work again. The following weekend, we met with Mary (Tagzee's partner) and Marion (Tagzee's sister) who generously invited us to look through Tagzee's work and pick out a 'long list' for the exhibition. There was so much to choose from that, even trying to edit down the work for consideration, we came away with a list of over eighty pieces! Lorna had told us that Tagzee's 2014 exhibition had twenty four pieces of work in it. It was decision time. We met to edit the long-list down to a short-list of thirty items, identifying seven or eight main themes and then picking out the work we felt best exemplified these different strands of Tagzee's creativity. Everything was now in place for the 'hanging day' on Tuesday 2 February. Mark proved to be a wizard with a power-drill and as one piece of work after another took its place on the wall, the exhibition gradually started to take shape. Naomi Taylor came in to lend a hand and also brought a Visitors Book she had made. By the end of the day the work was all on display and the exhibition was ready to open. On Thursday 11 February, Tagzee's family and friends gathered for a Private View to pay tribute to the man we had lost so suddenly last December. Clare Norton, CEO of the Peter Bedford Housing Association, opened the exhibition and Tagzee's sister, Marion, talked about the plans for a website featuring his work. Otherwise, formalities were kept to a minimum as Tagzee's work took centre-stage. Tagzee Remembered was always going to be a bitter-sweet exhibition. We hope that, in the process of turning the idea of an exhibition into reality, we managed to select a representative body of work that provides a fitting reflection of Tagzee's creativity. If you are in the locality of Outpost any time before Sunday 6 March, please call in and take the chance to see Tagzee's remarkable work for yourself. Simon Richardson Tagzee Remembered Private View on 11 February:

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