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Art and culture in its many guises

Sunderland's City Library and Arts Centre in Fawcett Street will soon be hosting exhibitions illustrating the wide reach of art and culture.

The Wor Women Exhibition running from Monday 7 March – Friday 26 March 2016 is the result of a project partnership between Tyneside Women’s Health and Curiosity Creative to explore the impact of the First World War on women and their families in the North East of England.

Starting later in the month The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, also located in the Sunderland Library Building, presents ‘Baldock Pope Zahle’. Running from Saturday 19 March until Saturday 18 June 2016 the exhibition presents a new sculptural installation by Jonathan Baldock, and newly commissioned works by Nicholas Pope and Maria Zahle. Housed in the spacious main gallery this exhibition brings together artists of different generations who each explore an inquisitive relationship to materials and making.

Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: “Events such as these show the huge variety to be found in art and culture. From recent social history to artistic interpretation, here in Sunderland we are proud to continue making such exhibitions accessible to everyone.”

Hosted by Sunderland Library Services and celebrating International Women’s Day 2016 (Tuesday 8 March) the Wor Women Exhibition event aims to promote the importance of the role of women to a wide and varied audience. Participants accessed records within local archives as well as collecting previously untold personal stories to raise awareness of the role of women in the North East during the First World War.

The lives of many North East women changed during this time as they had to adapt to living without men of fighting age, taking on work opportunities previously held by men. The installations help visitors explore how family life changed as women went to work and were left to bring up families on their own while men were away fighting some never to return.

Cllr Kelly added:” Culture is an intrinsic part of our city, our past, present and future. Not only do we host touring exhibitions of national importance we also have a vibrant live music scene, Glass Centre, stadium concerts and many award-winning parks and gardens.

I encourage everyone to visit the exhibitions and take a little time to appreciate these current elements of the fantastic cultural offer our city has.”

In 'Baldock Pope Zahle' the artists use materials such as glass, textiles and ceramics, translating their own circumstances and lived experiences into exuberant and highly emotive work.

Within the exhibition Jonathan Baldock will present a carpeted installation including domestically scaled figurative sculptures. The artist’s enigmatic sculptures and objects are like characters from an imagined theatrical production. His sculptures are luxuriant and sensual and inspire the imagination.

This commission is the first time Nicholas Pope has worked with glass. This was a technically demanding project. With the artist’s original drawings displayed alongside the chalices, audiences are offered a unique opportunity to see the translation from design to production.

To accompany the exhibition, Pope’s ‘Yahweh and the Seraphim’ (1995) will be presented in the UK for the first time at Sunderland Minster. Last displayed at the Stedelijk Museum in Holland, the sculpture articulates Pope’s theological interests, leading on from the artist’s recent installation of ‘Apostles Speaking in Tongues’ at Salisbury Cathedral in 2014.

Maria Zahle has created a work that will traverse the 30 metre expanse of the main gallery. Using rip-stop nylon, the sculpture will zigzag from floor to ceiling across the exhibition cutting the space in two. By responding to the architecture of the gallery, with its expansive floor space and low ceiling, the artist’s work frames the both the building and the spectator’s movement through the exhibition.

The exhibition will be supplemented with new writing, events, talks and workshops across the NGCA and Sunderland Minster engaging the public in the themes of the exhibition. Nicholas Pope’s glass chalices will be touring to Chapter in Cardiff, opening on the 8 July and will be accompanied by further commissions in an exhibition curated by Hannah Firth.

Find out more about exhibitions at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

Find out more about exhibitions in Sunderland libraries.

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Did you know?

Sunderland is home of the National Glass Centre - the only UK centre celebrating the history of glass making and providing a world focus for glass. The centre reopened in 2013 after undergoing a major refurbishment.

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