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Swiss Cottage Gallery

At Home: A Living Centenary 1914-2014
18 October – 12 November 2014
Preview : Wednesday October 22nd 2014 at 5.30pm

A new exhibition using photography, sound recording and film to explore one family's memory from the declaration of World War One to the present day.

Artist film-maker Nicola Lane’s mother Diana was born in Cyprus on 15th August 1914, the month and year WWI was declared. Her soldier father departed for campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean and France. Diana did not meet him until 1918, after he had been wounded at the Somme.

Recently Nicola discovered a photograph of Diana and her first husband in their house in Cyprus, celebrating Diana’s 20th birthday at a formal 'luncheon' with officers from the Mediterranean Fleet. Research indicates that the photograph was taken when the Mediterranean Fleet visited Famagusta in 1934, as increasing unrest in the Middle East and Europe foreshadowed the conflicts of World War Two.

1934 birthday lunch party

The original 1934 photo

The glamorous lunch guests and that world have vanished. Memory loss has fragmented Diana’s past and present, and in her 100th year the important people in her world are the carers and healthcare professionals enabling her to live at home.

On July 17th 2014, the 1934 photograph of Diana’s 20th birthday lunch party was re-enacted in Swiss Cottage Gallery, the photograph’s table and settings re-created by Nicola and her creative team.  Nicola invited Diana’s carers, District Nurses, London Ambulance paramedics, Accident and Emergency nurses and other healthcare professionals, to celebrate Diana's centenary by re-enacting the lunch party. The re-enactment was filmed from start to finish, visible to Swiss Cottage Library’s public through the Gallery’s glass doors.

Diana with her carer arriving for the luncheon recreation

From this material Nicola will create a ‘Living Centenary’ installation in Swiss Cottage Gallery. Photography, sound recording and the projected film of the centenary lunch party will be accompanied by a programme of talks and events, with the lunch table and its twelve chairs used as a platform for discussion and audience interaction. Archives relating to the exhibition will be uploaded to the Imperial War Museum’s “Lives of World War 1” site.

Through the relic of the photograph and its re-enactment, audiences and participants explore the enduring power of human contact and the power of relics and archive within history and living memory: WWI’s Centenary embodied and mirrored in Diana’s 1914-2014 timeline.

Many thanks to Waitrose John Barnes for their generous donation to the project.

About the artist: Born in San Francisco in 1949, Nicola lived in 7 countries before the age of 16. She has worked continuously as a fine artist since 1972, her practice evolving from painting into sculpture, installation and film-making. Recent projects include Big Lottery funded The Fitting Room, a collaborative film project with a group of amputee women from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, screened in June 2014 at the Wellcome Collection. In April 2014, Nicola was awarded Shrewsbury Museum and Gallery artist’s moving image commission in partnership with Disability Arts in Shropshire (DASH) to explore the life of deaf Romany Bill Lock, who lived, worked and died in a South Shropshire village community, to be delivered in 2015. Nicola lives and works in North West London.

Upcoming Events

KOVE (Kilburn Older Voices Exchange) in conversation with Nicola Lane: 28th October, 2pm - 3pm, FREE

KOVE will facilitate a discussion about the film created and how aspects of time, ageing and care have influenced Nicola's work. The event is open to all and will take place in the Gallery.

Swiss Cottage Gallery Visitor Information

Admission: FREE
Opening times: Mon-Thu 10am-8pm
Fri-Sat 10am-5pm
Sun 11am-4pm

Swiss Cottage Library and Gallery
88 Avenue Rd, London, NW3 3HA

The Gallery Programme

  • Solo exhibitions by artists and arts organisations based and/or working in the borough area - and beyond - reflecting the contemporary visual arts community of Camden and the visual art and design institutions in the borough.

  • Exhibitions that draw attention to the artistic history of Camden and artists that have lived or worked in the borough.
  • Regular exhibitions to mark local or national initiatives such as the WWI centenary or Open House.
  • Annual Open Open exhibition, usually in July, which is open to all including professional and non-professional artists alike.

For more details and to be added to the mailing list, in order to be notified of this year’s Open Open dates, contact

Swiss Cottage Gallery policy and guidance

download: Swiss Cottage Gallery policy and guidance (PDF 53KB)

For more information and to contact the Gallery, email 

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Page last updated Oct 20, 2014 6:20 PM

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