Every Day is a New Day

26 May 2017 - 24 Sep 2017

‘Every Day is a New Day’ asks that we start from scratch and look at the world differently.  A celebration of the capacity of arts to pioneer change, challenge perceptions and embolden society. It includes work by Phyllida Barlow, Michael Armitage and JMW Turner shown alongside teachers and pupils from Kent, Medway and Kenya.

Phyllida Barlow’s playful, large-scale sculptures physically transform the gallery, using pieces of plywood, cement, plasterboard - traditionally materials that artists might overlook. Her work, often poised between growing and shrinking, going up or down, folding or unfolding - on the point of collapse, invites audiences to look beyond the norm and experience the space in a completely different way.

A series of new and recent works by Michael Armitage - incidentally a former pupil of Barlow’s at the Slade School of Art - will be shown for the first time in a public gallery. Playing on Western art history’s treatment of places that are seen as ‘other’  and drawing on personal and collective memories of life in Kenya, as well as news and images circulating online, his paintings challenge social attitudes and inequalities. Often dealing with prejudices in Kenyan society, Armitage’s powerful and lyrical paintings on Ugandan lubugo bark cloth are full of East African cultural references, lush vegetation and animal life, painted in a fluid and expressive style. At the heart of what he makes lies his belief that “we are all fundamentally the same.”

Alongside the work of Barlow, Armitage and a selection of watercolours from JMW Turner, the exhibition will include artworks by school children, young people and their teachers from Kent, Medway and Kenya. Regardless of age, cultural background, or relationship to, and experience of art, the exhibition celebrates the importance of creativity in all of our lives, and its capacity to create a better society.  The artworks made by the young artists and teachers explore the theme Making a Change, and were entries submitted to Turner Contemporary and Canterbury Christ Church’s Portfolio art competition and the MASK Prize for young Africans.

At the same time, 80 primary school children will take the lead by transforming neglected sites in Margate this July after 18 months of work with local politicians, council officers, a Philosopher, Turner Contemporary’s learning team and their chosen artist. Art Inspiring Change, is designed to inspire continuous renewal, by harnessing children’s leadership and connecting the community with arts and culture to bring about positive change. 

Funders: Artist Rooms, Arts Council England

Supported by: ArtFund

Partners: SouthEastern





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