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Alumni Reunite at British Art Show 9

British Art Show 9: the UK’s largest touring exhibition from Hayward Gallery Touring, opened for the first time in Wolverhampton this year, launching another big year for culture in the Midlands.

British Art Show 9 (BAS9), curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar, continued its UK tour, from Saturday 22nd January-10th April 2022 at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the University of Wolverhampton School of Art.

The exhibition was themed upon three expansive categories: healing, care and reparative history; tactics for togetherness; and imagining new futures.

While these themes were shaped at the end of 2019, the unfolding impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the protests against racial injustice made them even more pertinent to the show.

An exclusive viewing event specially for our alumni was held on Saturday 29th January. Over 30 alumni gathered in the George Wallis building for welcome drinks, canapés and mingling with a welcome speech from Maggie Ayliffe, head of the School of Art, before exploring the BAS9 exhibition.

This intimate event was the first in-person event hosted by our alumni team in the UK since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and was a great success. Our graduates were also among the School of Art student and graduate volunteers working throughout the exhibition, directing and helping visitors, dealing with enquiries and making sure the artwork was safe and secure throughout the day.

Stephen Andrews, 71, a recent Master’s in Fine Art graduate from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, said. “I volunteered for BAS9 because I wanted to touch base again with the School of Art. It was like coming home as I’d practically lived here for two years while I was studying. I also wanted to give a little bit back, and I knew it would be useful for me giving me the opportunity to meet people and make acquaintances with other local artists.

It’s been very interesting meeting people who have travelled to see the exhibition from all over the country but also local people who might not usually engage with art have popped in to take a look. Everyone has felt quite privileged that we’ve been chosen as a venue and I think it’s been very beneficial for the city.

“We were thrilled to host the second leg of British Art Show 9 in Wolverhampton… welcoming many visitors to the iconic Wolverhampton School of Art, with a wealth of opportunities for new audiences, students, school children and the artist community to engage with some of the most
exciting contemporary art being produced in the UK today.”

Maggie Ayliffe, Head of the School of Art

Alumna’s Artwork Brings a Rainbow to City Centre

Running in parallel with British Art Show 9, a project devised by Offsite 9 aimed to introduce contemporary art to a wider audience from January to April this year.

Commissioned by Creative Black Country as part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places scheme and supported by Wolverhampton-based health and wellbeing company, Paycare, the Offsite 9 project included community projects, guided walks, workshops, poetry and video installations.

Four of the most visually-striking installations at landmark buildings across the city were created by University of Wolverhampton graduate, artist Kathleen Fabre. The draped neon wool designs and rainbow-coloured artwork symbolise a gesture of hope and diversity.

To Heaven and Back outside St Peter’s Collegiate Church, in Lichfield Street, featured strands of wool running from the tower roof to the street level railings. The others were Read Between the Lines outside Central Library; Making Connections at Lighthouse Media Centre; and Lines of Enquiry at the School of Art courtyard garden.