Work by Turner Prize-winning artist to go on show in Sunderland in art coup for the city

Work by a Turner Prize-winning artist will go on display in Sunderland in the latest arts coup for the Museum & Winter Gardens.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 9:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 12:13 pm
John Stezaker, Pair V, 2007. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

Pieces by Lubaina Himid - a pioneer of the Black Arts movement in the 1980s who was awarded the famous Turner Prize in 2017 – will go on show as part of free exhibition Received Wisdom, alongside work by artists including Amikam Toren, Phyllida Barlow, John Sheehy, Elisabeth Vellacott and more.

The major contemporary British art exhibition is the first in a three-year partnership with the acclaimed Arts Council Collection after Sunderland was chosen as one of just three places nationwide to be part of the Collection’s National Partnership Programme.

Opening on February 1, Received Wisdom aims to celebrate older artists: Those who have enjoyed long careers and those who discovered their creativity later in life.

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Amikam Toren, Received Wisdom, 2006. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

Rebecca Ball, creative director of Sunderland Culture, said: “We wanted to use the opportunity of our first Arts Council Collection show to challenge what it is to be an artist and dispel some stereotypes about age and ageing.

“From those who have been working as artists all their lives but whose art has only received recognition in their later years, to those who only began producing art in their 60s or 70s, the breadth and range of the artworks on show are incredibly inspiring.”

Bringing together the works of 36 artists, Received Wisdom includes a wide range of art forms including sculpture, painting, photography and mixed media.

Taking its title from a featured artwork of the same name, by one of the UK’s foremost conceptual artists Amikam Toren, the exhibition poses the question – Who is deemed ‘creative’?

Highlights include work by Lubaina Himid who became the oldest ever recipient of the Turner Prize. Her series of small-scale paintings imagining conversations between African slaves and millworkers in Manchester will be shown as part of the exhibition.

Demonstrating that provocative art is not just reserved for younger artists, Received Wisdom presents works from individuals who created radical pieces well into their careers. Acclaimed international pioneer of social art with a purpose, John Newling, and Jacqueline Morreau, who contributed to the feminist art movement in Britain, are represented alongside others including Jo Spence, Hurvin Anderson and Amal Ghosh.

Work from artists who showed a radical change in style as they aged, such as John Stezaker and Margaret Mellis, who in her late 60s began creating abstract art on pieces of driftwood, are also presented in the exhibition.

To mark the start of the three-year programme, a new Art Lounge has been created on the first floor of the Museum where visitors can relax and explore the Arts Council Collection either digitally or through a selection of books and catalogues. Here visitors can also enjoy a specially made film following the journey of a group of people from Sunderland who travelled across the UK to delve into the Collection’s archives, learn more about the art works and share their personal favourites.

Received Wisdom will be accompanied by an extensive learning and engagement programme, from Art Taster workshops for adults and young people to family events and an Easter Art School.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens are working in partnership with Equal Arts to run a Creative Age programme in Sunderland, offering older people living with dementia, their families and carers, and those with long-term health conditions the opportunity to take part in lively and supportive creative sessions led by artists.

From May 1-10, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens will also be joining in the Age of Creativity Festival, which celebrates older people as creative audiences, participants, volunteers and artists across England.