Midlands Art Papers and ‘Wanting to Say: Finding a Place in the Past’ Exhibition Launch

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Last Thursday The New Art Gallery Walsall hosted the official launch of Midlands Art Papers as well as the exhibition ‘Wanting to Say: Finding a Place in the Past’. The turnout was fantastic and we would like to thank everyone who came along to support – gallery staff, UoB staff, students and general public!

The MAP website has launched with four Object in Focus articles for Issue One. These are short articles which concentrate on a work of art in detail. Various other articles will be published over the coming month, including In Depth – longer articles including more extensive research and On Exhibit – reviews or discussions about exhibitions or collections in the Midlands.

The afternoon of the launch Midlands galleries and University of Birmingham staff took part in a workshop to discuss and plan future projects. The original aim of Midlands Art Papers was to encourage collaborations between gallery staff and academics, therefore this was an opportunity to facilitate discussions about further projects of this kind. With the launch of MAP Issue One, there was also discussion about content for Issue Two and how those involved would like to see MAP progress and develop. The New Art Gallery conference room remained alive with enthusiastic conversation into the early evening as the sun set over Walsall.

Sunset over Walsall from The New Art Gallery’s conference room.
Discussions during MAP Issue One workshop.

The evening launch included a drinks reception and speeches, introducing the project and the exhibition. The exhibition is located on the first floor, outside the Garman Ryan collection. It includes artworks by artists from marginalised communities, such as black, LGBTQ, Jewish and Irish artists. It focuses on the idea of storytelling and memories as ways of thinking about identities across time.

Crowds enjoying the launch and drinks reception.

One work out which stood out in the exhibition was Yinka Shonibare’s Diary of a Victorian Dandy (1998). Shonibare reinserts blackness into Western art history by placing himself in a 19th century style portrait, commenting on how black people have been sidelined, both as artists and as models, in the canon of art history.

Yinka Shonibare, Diary of a Victorian Dandy, 1998.


‘Wanting to Say: Finding a Place in the Past’ is open until 22nd December 2017.

To read about recent research into Midlands galleries collection in Issue One of Midlands Art Papers, click here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/historyofart/research/projects/map/index.aspx

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