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Hurricane Bells: Heong Gallery

8-15 February 2020, Heong Gallery, Cambridge

In this project, Filthy Lucre presents music from across genres, exploring how cultures blend and fuse in migration. It begins with an exhibition of the Hurricane Bells at Heong Gallery, Cambridge.


Artist Peter Shenai has cast five bronze bells based on the structure of Hurricane Katrina. Each bell is a scale model of the hurricane at a particular point in its progression. Bell One represents Katrina as an infant hurricane out in the Gulf of Mexico. Bell Five shows Katrina just as it struck the coastal city of New Orleans at a terrifying strength two days later.


Hung in a line and struck in order these bells produce a series of descending tones, which indicate the growing power of the storm as it built through time.

Audiences are invited to play the Hurricane Bells using the beaters provided. Shenai encourages visitors to “strike them and listen. Turn them over and feel their weight. Investigate Katrina with your eyes, hands, and ears.”


The bells evoke the musical spirit of New Orleans – a place where even at funerals, people might dance and play music. And at a time when bushfires roar, and cities declare climate emergencies, Shenai’s musical instruments offer a meditative sound to memorialise a past tragedy, and they act as an alarm call to the current, unfolding crisis.


Audiences can also explore the artistic process, the climate science, and the cultural context behind the project, through printed materials and audio recordings, and two evening events.


You can find visiting information on the Heong Gallery Website.

Exhibition events


Workshop: Drawing with your ears , led by artist Peter Shenai

Open to all ages – no musical/drawing talent required, just curious ears & eyes.

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Evening talk: Hurricane Bells presentation from artist Peter Shenai, along with co-curator Dr Nicky Kozicharow.

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