Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Martin Parr’s Black Country Stories

A free exhibition of Martin Parr's Black Country Stories from Walsall will take place at The New Art Gallery Walsall from 20 January 2012 to 7 April 2012 (Tuesday to Saturday - 10 am to 5 pm). A special evening viewing will take place on Thursday 19 January between 6 pm and 8 pm; everyone welcome.

West Bromwich’s Multistory, one of the UK’s leading community arts agencies, has commissioned one of the country’s most important and influential Magnum photographers, Martin Parr, to document everyday life in the Black Country.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Black Country Stories brings Martin Parr, on a photographic journey across the Black Country visiting markets, temples, factories, social clubs, tea dances, dog training classes, summer fetes and a whole mixture of other places in Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Dudley.

This special display showcases some of the photographs Martin has taken in Walsall throughout 2011.

Over the last 12 months, Martin has visited local leather and metal factories and met the people that keep these industries alive as well as various places of worship that reflect the cultural diversity of the borough; he's also experienced Walsall's vibrant social scene; sampled traditional Black Country foods and joined the local Royal Wedding celebrations!

You can also listen to a selection of stories from Walsall residents talking about their lives, work, families, and experiences of the Black Country and share your own experiences in the ‘memory wall’. A final exhibition will take place at the gallery in 2014, followed by exhibitions in Wolverhampton and Dudley.

Martin Parr:

“We decided to focus on the revitalisation that the many immigrant groups have brought to the area and, at the same time, look for examples of traditional Black Country life that are in good health. As the lid was slowly eased open, we realised the power of the material that we were unearthing.“

Emma Chetcuti, Director of Multistory:

“When we thought about developing this project, Martin Parr was the obvious choice. It has been a fantastic experience working with Martin and the project has developed and expanded in some really exciting and surprising ways as Martin has uncovered more stories for us to celebrate and document.”

Multistory and The New Art Gallery Walsall are grateful to Launer London, Kirkpatrick Tradtional Ironwork, J&E Sedgewick & Co, and Pat Gorman Pies for donating some of their products for the display.

Black Country Stories is a multi-commission programme, produced by Multistory, that invites outstanding artists to document and record life in the Black Country. Black Country Stories commissions internationally renowned documentary photographers, film makers, and authors to tell amazing stories that celebrate everyday life in the Black Country.

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