On display around the gallery this February.
The 2006 – 10 ‘Faces and Phases’ series of black-and-white portraits by Zanelle Muholi focuses on the commemoration and celebration of black lesbians’ lives. Muholi embarked on this project in 2006, taking portraits of women from the townships in South Africa. In 2008, after the xenophobic and homophobic attacks that led to the mass displacement of people in that country, she decided to expand the ongoing series to include photographs of women from different countries. Collectively, the portraits are an act of visual activism. Depicting women of various ages and backgrounds, this gallery of images offers a powerful statement about the similarities and diversity that exist within the human race.
Passion meets purpose in this body of work. Muholi aspires to see black queers – a section of society that includes gay and transgender people – receive the same recognition and basic human rights, in what she deems a heterosexual society. Her purpose is fulfilled by her use of her visual activism – to give a voice and put a face to the plight faced by black queers, especially black lesbians.
In 1996, South Africa’s constitution made it illegal to discriminate against any citizen, based on sexual orientation. This effort means that South Africa has a healthy number of individuals who are out and living their most authentic lives. This is true for some but not for the queers in the predominantly black townships. The constitution does not seem to cover them because according to Muholi, “We experience rape from gangs, rape by so called friends, neighbours and sometimes even family members.”
She decries the lack of police involvement when such cases are reported and the lack of recourse to the justice system. The townships have been plagued by ‘curative rapes’ because some men have taken it upon themselves to ‘teach’ lesbians the ‘African way’ of life. A bulk of black society has not accepted that there are people who are genetically ‘different’.
9 photos from the series are on display at the gallery’s mezzanine level at top of the staircase at Floor 1 and in COSTA COFFEE. Part of LGBT History Month 2012 http://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/.
Featuring the old and new Manor Hospital in Walsall
17 May – 18 June 2011
In 2010 journalistic photographer Gemma Thorpe began to document the changing face of Walsall Manor Hospital as it entered the final phases of its epic redevelopment. The outcome of this photographic exploration is a series of detailed prints that capture the essence and character of the spaces. Gemma’s focus ‘wasn’t so much on architecture and construction but on the people that use the hospital, and the relationship they have with the buildings’. After the exhibition at the gallery, the photos will then be moved for permanent display within the new hospital building.
Although this project was based on a new building for the hospital, for me the focus wasn’t so much on architecture and construction but on the people that use the hospital, and the relationship they have with the buildings. There is a real sense of community at Walsall Manor Hospital; around 3500 people work there every day. As staff member Geoff Hateley said, “It’s like a small town, or like a big wheel, with each department as a cog to turn it”.
I was particularly interested in how people added character, made their mark on the old buildings; the details of murals that had been painted years ago, how patients had peeled away parts of a frosted privacy screen in order to see the new construction going on below. Then, once departments started to move out, I could see where people had been; faded notice boards that had once been full of health advice leaflets, marks where a carpet had been worn down. Although the building was worn, it was full of life; many people working in the East Wing and Sister Dora Outpatients spoke fondly about the buildings and were sad to see them go.
It was a challenge to go from photographing in a building full of character and history, to the new building, which is full of light and space, but felt so big and anonymous at times. I began to highlight the freshness of the architecture and the ways people were interacting with these new spaces. During my last couple of weeks at the hospital I began to notice a real sense of pride developing for the new building, how people were bringing life to it. It’s interesting to think that one day this building too will be layered with memories.
Gemma Thorpe, May 2011
Following the exhibition at The New Art Gallery Walsall, the photographs will be on permanent display within the new hospital building on Pleck Road.
Photo courtesy of Gemma Thorpe.
On Monday 8 November 2010, more than 70 visual arts professionals, artists and curators gathered at The New Art Gallery Walsall to celebrate the strengths of the visual arts in the West Midlands and debate the priorities and challenges for the future following the government’s recent budget cut announcements.
West Midlands enjoy a thriving, vibrant, highly active and promising visual arts scene with many galleries, public or private, showcasing the best of modern and contemporary art in the region and artists, artist-led organisations and collectives creating work of high standard that represent the region nationally and abroad and contribute towards its creative industries. The aim of the event was to find ways of strengthening the visual arts in the region, advocate for the significance of the sector in the cultural, social and economic life of the region by working in partnership in order to maximise resources and foster further creativity.
Voice Your Vision is a Turning Point West Midlands event. Turning Point is a national network set up to deliver a shared vision for growth in the visual arts and is supported by Arts Council England. This event was part of developing a strategy for the visual arts in the West Midlands.
For the feedback notes from the day go to http://www.tpwestmidlands.org.uk
The TPWM network will be developing some of the priorities identified.
TPWM is putting in place an Artists Opportunities Bulletin on its website – at http://www.tpwestmidlands.org.uk/opportunities.
It will list Funding, Commissions, Calls for Work, Courses & Workshops, Job, Residency and Internship opportunities that people tell us about.
To subscribe to the Bulletin or submit details of an opportunity, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout The Cover of a Book is the Beginning of a Journey we’ll be asking you to help us activate some of the artworks contained in the books on display.
Cesare Pietroiusti and Ralf Andtbacka’s book invites us to ‘ask a sample of 100 people to show you something that is certainly not art’.
Send us your images of the things you think are certainly not art to email@example.com and we’ll add them to our flickr stream.
Here’s one to start you off…
A Sense Of Black Community – Walsall 60’s-70’s
by Claudette Chambers
July – October 2010
This artwork was created responding to the exciting exhibition Back to Black held at The New Art Gallery Walsall in 2005.
This project put out a call to the black community across the borough of Walsall to lend us old photographs from their personal collections, which inspired this piece and enabled it to come to life. The photographs were scanned and then made into this digital collage that is currently hung in the gallery’s window box, you can’t miss it!
Not one, not two, not three but 5 brand new exhibitions opening next week! The overall theme is portraiture, that brings together a diverse group of artists and a diverse group of work. From Cindy Sherman, Hew Locke and Gillian Wearing to Jacob Epstein and Faye Claridge.
Join us next Thursday 15 July, 6pm – 8pm for the private view of all these exhibitions.
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2009
Behind the Mask
Epstein’s Portraits Revealed
Antoinette Hachler – Like a Dog with a Bone
Clare Smart – Club Liberty
We always like to spoil you with choice, that’s why this time we are installing not 1, not 2 but 4! brand new exhibition that will open to the public on Thursday 6 May from 6pm – 8pm. Free, your friends, family and colleagues are all welcome! See you next week then!
Adam Dant on Drink: Drawings about Drinking in Britain
Sun K Kwak – Untyimg Space: The New Art Gallery Walsall
Matthew Houlding – The Chemosphere
Matisse – Drawings with Scissors: Late works 1950 – 1954
We just finished unwrapping Yang Mian’s bronze sculpture entitled “Dangerous” of Michael Jackson, part of the PARTY exhibition opening tommorow Thursday 11 February and we thought that we should share this exciting moment with you!!