The New Art Gallery Walsall has taken an innovative approach to capturing the significant events of the past 12 months in order to commemorate a period of time which has impacted on everyone’s lives. Following an open call, which received 220 submissions, the gallery has acquired 33 works by 31 West Midlands based artists, to create the new Twenty Twenty Collection which represents a ‘moment in time’.
The works, spanning a variety of media from collage and photography to drawings and paintings, respond to world events over the last tumultuous year; from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, to the Black Lives Matter movement and Brexit.
The chosen artists' work will be profiled on the gallery’s website and social media channels during this year and be exhibited at the gallery in a dedicated exhibition in its community gallery in early 2022. This will coincide with a solo exhibition by Keith Piper — whose work Surveillance: Tagging the Other was also acquired with funding from Contemporary Art Society, in response to the events of last year — and the British Art Show taking place in Wolverhampton, bringing significant attention to the region and further increasing the profile of West Midlands artists.
In addition, over the last year the New Art Gallery has supported five artists through remote residencies. A work produced from each of the 2020 ‘Stay At Home’ residencies is being acquired, including a sufra (or prayer mat) made by Birmingham-based artist Farwa Moledina. The New Art Gallery is currently working with national charity Outside In, which supports artists who face significant barriers in participating in the arts, through disability or social circumstance, on providing two residencies to artists they support. The gallery remains committed to continuing to support West Midlands artists, creatives and freelancers during this difficult period.
Subject to updates from the government, the New Art Gallery will reopen from Tuesday 18 May 2021.
Note to Editor
Quotes for Press
Sherrie Edgar, Isolation Series 11, 18 April 2020, photograph (image courtesy the artist)
Isolation Series is a reflection of people's thoughts and experiences during the first lockdown. My approach was to reconnect with others, capturing the essence of how we coped during a difficult time. To be selected as part of this call out means this work can help others to identify and understand what we went through.
Adele Mary Reed, Instant Dreamscapes in Isolation, Easter Day, 12 April 2020, instant photograph (series of 32, image courtesy the artist)
It means a great deal to me that NAGW have acquired my body of work around cycling, solitariness and spatial exploration locally. There was a very particular feeling in the air at the start of the pandemic which felt very meaningful to capture somehow, and for the work to now be part of the permanent Twenty Twenty Collection is a perfect conclusion. As a mother of a young child during lockdown, partaking in daily exercise and finding space in the city was absolutely crucial to my mental wellbeing and creative thought and I hope this resonates with people who view the work.
Rachel Magdeburg, Expired, 2020, Acrylic on Ipad insert card (image courtesy the artist)
It is hard to express how delighted I am that my painting will be part of this new collection. I have long since admired the exhibition programme at the NAGW and its rich collections, and the space and building are truly inspirational.
My painting Expired was initially triggered by the wrangles of the Brexit debate, but also became more and more about travel and the complexities of this during the pandemic.
Vincent Louis Stokes, A Family under Lockdown, 2021, pencil on paper (image courtesy the artist)
As a visual artist and resident of Walsall, to have my work belong to such a prestigious and renowned institution is truly a great honour. These past twelve months have been incredibly arduous and wearing, though through art I believe we all have the opportunity to escape, if only for a moment, and discover a world of comfort, solace and intrigue.
The Twenty Twenty Collection Artists
Adele Mary Reed
Lucy Fiona Morrison
Sally Claire Payen
Vincent Louis Stokes
Artists’ Social Media