Saturday, 6 June 2015

Is your face in a new Wolverhampton Art Gallery exhibition?

Football Fans
Wolves football fans, Wolverhampton © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos. Black Country Stories 2010 to 2014, commissioned by Multistory.
An entire gallery wall filled with hundreds of photographs of Black Country people taken by Magnum photographer Martin Parr has been installed at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

People from all walks of life – from Wolves football fans to Wolverhampton Civic Hall ravers, shop and factory workers all star in the latest exhibition by the award-winning photographer.

Gallery staff are encouraging people to come along and see if they can see themselves in the Wolverhampton archive of images when an entire wall is filled with his beautifully observed images.

Called Black Country Stories, the exhibition is free and opened at the Lichfield Street gallery on May 23 and runs until August 22.

Martin, who has worked all over the world chronicling every day people and the way they live, started the Black Country Stories project in 2010 and it has taken him across the region.  He has created a photographic portrait and archive about the many aspects of traditional and modern life in the Black Country and visited churches, football matches, Diamond Jubilee parties, dances, shops, factories and horticultural shows and many more.

During the four-year project he has photographed hundreds of people from Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall and now they are set to star in the three-month long exhibition.

The exhibition will also include larger prints of Martin’s work especially selected from the Black Country Stories archive as well as 400 archive images, oral histories and four documentary films made by Martin. The films feature Willenhall pensioners on a Turkey and Tinsel coach trip to Weston-super-Mare; glassmakers in Stourbridge; a Moxley pigeon breeder who goes to Mongolia; and Teddy Gray’s famous sweet factory.
Robert Plant Gig
Robert Plant gig, Civic Hall, Wolverhampton © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos. Black Country Stories 2010 to 2014 commissioned by Multistory.
Marguerite Nugent, Senior Curator at Wolverhampton Art Gallery said: “Martin Parr is an internationally acclaimed documentary photographer so to have his work here and for that work to be about local people is a real coup.

“We hope people, who might not always visit, will come into the gallery to have a look to see if an image of themselves or anyone they know is in the exhibition. The exhibition covers such a breadth of Wolverhampton’s communities, from people in church to those on the terraces at a Wolves game. It features factory and shop workers, street parties at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Sikh parades and gig-goers at Wolverhampton Civic Hall. It really is a fascinating glimpse of Wolverhampton and the surrounding Black Country.”  

Martin Parr, Magnum photographer, added: I am looking forward to presenting back, to both Wolverhampton and the wider Black Country, the fruits of my four-year journey around this unique area. Despite the poor local economy, the spirit and determination of the community comes shining through.”

Emma Chetcuti, Director of Multistory, said: “Martin Parr has enabled Multistory to produce a major photographic exhibition and archive, oral histories and films about everyday life in the Black Country. We hope that these stories will speak to local audiences, as the exhibition tours the Black Country, and continue to have value and meaning into the future, through the photographic archives gifted to our Black Country partners.”

Black Country Stories is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Sandwell Council and Arts Council England.

The exhibition, like the rest of Wolverhampton Art Gallery is free. Take a journey through 300 years of art, from Georgian portraits and Victorian landscapes, to Pop and contemporary art. The gallery in Lichfield Street, is open Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm. The café is open Monday to Saturday,10.30am-4.30pm. It is closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Teddy Grays
Making rock, Teddy Gray’s sweet factory, Dudley  
© Martin Parr / Magnum Photos. Black Country Stories 2010 to 2014, commissioned by Multistory

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