On Thursday 6th July, the first half of the Project 22 exhibition went on display to the public in The Gallery at St. Georges House as part of the Manifest Arts Festival.

Over 14 hours, John and exhibition curator Emma displayed 270 images, with 211 hung on the walls, and a collection of images that featured a chesterfield armchair in a vintage suitcase.

John has displayed his images in a way which allows it to be a tactile exhibition. The images hung onto the walls are pinned only at the top, allowing the viewer to gently lift them away from the wall and look at them in different lighting, exploring the angles of each image, and the collection in the suitcase are intended to be rifled through.

The preview evening on the Thursday can only be described as a success.

At least 70-80 people came to view and explore the images taken from the 679 faces that were photographed.

Strangers were recognising each other from the displayed images and sharing their thoughts and John himself was the centre of attention. There was a constant circle around him with people lining up to not only congratulate him but also to receive a bear hug!

At one point the staircase was full of people sat down and passing the images from the suitcase back and forth, something which I think made John quite proud. The exhibition really is a must-see (and I’m not saying that because I’m in it…)

Now that I’ve written the serious part, here are a few facts directly from the horse’s mouth about how the exhibition came to be! According to John, it has taken:

– 8 bottles of whiskey and umpteen gallons of coffee (that he adds salt to…)

– Around 130 hours a week of work, across 17 weeks

– One weekend completely lost due to exhaustion. He slept straight through!

– At least one side of bacon, a lettuce (from trying to be healthy) and apparently a cucumber?

– Around £1500 currently raised for Lagan’s Foundation, with more coming in every day, although John recons this would have been easily doubled if he’d had a swear box enforced on him!

– 679 new friends made, 30 people personally offended and 2 who unfriended him on Facebook!

– One accidentally duplicated image in the exhibition – oops! CAN YOU SPOT IT?


This first collection of images will be on display Monday to Friday, 9-5pm, until the 3rd of August, at which point the images will be taken down and the second collection will be hung, ready to be displayed on the 4th August until the 4th September.

The result of the exhibition being split into two viewings being that each run will last for 22 days.

2222 AGAIN!

For more information on the Manifest Arts Festival, visit www.manifestartsfestival.com

Roger Bygott

multidisciplinary visual artist

The images below were provided by Roger Bygott