We The People Are The Work is a major visual arts project in Plymouth that explores ideas of power, protest and the public.
Presented by Plymouth Visual Arts Programming Group and curated by Simon Morrissey, director of Foreground, the project brings six internationally acclaimed artists from the UK, Canada, France and Mexico to Plymouth to create new artworks inspired by the city’s rich heritage, its people, and their aspirations for the future.
A multi-site exhibition, We The People Are The Work runs until 18 November at five venues around the city: The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, The Council House at Plymouth City Council, KARST, Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University and Plymouth Arts Centre.
We’re excited to be hosting artist Matt Stokes’ multi-screen film at The Gallery, poignantly exploring punk’s legacy of protest and resistance, whilst charting the decline of live music venues in the city.
Stokes filmed local bands including The Bus Station Loonies, Crazy Arm, Suck My Culture and The Damerals, performing in musically significant locations across the city including the former Van Dike club on Exmouth Road and the site where Woods nightclub used to be (now the Billabong store at Drake Circus mall).
Exhibitions Manager Hannah Rose said, “Matt Stokes' new commission 'More Than A Pony Show' poignantly focusses on an important aspect of Plymouth's music scene, deals with the impact of regeneration in the city and platforms the talents of five local Plymouth bands.
“The nature of a project like this takes a large number of people to get involved, be part of the process of making the work and ultimately, for the bands, to be the artwork itself. We're really grateful to everybody who took part in the making of this work and to Matt for his ambitious and generous approach to making this project.”
We The People Are The Work expands to other contemporary spaces in the city, with visitors encouraged to explore the entire project taking over the city this Autumn.
At Peninsula Arts, Antonio Vega Macotela and Eduardo Thomas’s newly commissioned film, ‘Advice from a Caterpillar’ explores notions of representation, identity and visibility by focusing on local residents who appeared as extras in Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland, parts of which were shot in Plymouth.
Printmaker and Turner Prize nominee, Ciara Phillips takes over Plymouth Arts Centre with an installation that works as a production space. Working collaboratively with groups of women from the city (Devon WASPI, feminist punk band Suck My Culture, local youth workers & our students) to produce printed textiles that voice their societal concerns, the installation transforms each day as participants create and add their own pieces.
Peter Liversidge’s installation, housed in The Council House, is made up of a series of signs representing ideas from diverse individuals in the city, giving significance to voices who often go unheard, with participants including children from Salisbury Road Primary School, members of The Beacon, North Prospect Youth Club, the Pioneers Project at Tamar View Community Resource Centre, and residents of George House homeless hostel. The installation will culminate in a ritual bonfire on the Hoe (5 Nov).
KARST gallery hosts feminist arts collective Claire Fontaine who have produced a striking series of illuminated text works. These new works, taken from recent political debates including Brexit and lifting quotes from Donald Trump, tackle questions of morality, agency and freedom of speech calling on the viewer to take a stance.
The programme of events for We The People Are The Work will also include talks, workshops, and film screenings, including a special reunion screening of Colin Gregg and Hugh Stoddart’s 1982 film Remembrance. Full event listings available at wethepeoplearethe.work
Missed the opening? Don’t worry you can see the work across all five venues until 18 November 2017.
For reviews of all things art in Plymouth check out Extended Diploma student and zinester Kitty McEwan’s website: midnakit.wordpress.com