press release

British Art Show 9
January 22–April 10, 2022

Hayward Gallery Touring’s landmark exhibition, the British Art Show, is widely acknowledged as the most important and ambitious recurrent exhibition of contemporary art produced in the UK. Its 9th edition will open at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and University of Wolverhampton School of Art on 22 January 2022, following its launch in Aberdeen in July 2021.

Featuring 47 artists and focusing on work made since 2015, British Art Show 9 reflects a precarious moment in Britain’s history. During this time politics of identity and nation, and concerns of social, racial and environmental justice have pervaded public consciousness. The artists respond in critical ways to this complex context; they imagine new futures, propose alternative economies, explore new modes of resistance and find ways of living together. They do so through film, photography, painting, sculpture, and performance, as well as projects that don’t sit easily in any one category.

The exhibition is structured around three main themes—Healing, Care and Reparative History; Tactics for Togetherness; Imagining New Futures—and will change and adapt for each city, presenting different combinations of artists and artworks responding to the distinctive local contexts.

In Wolverhampton, the exhibition will focus on how we live with and give voice to difference, showcasing 34 artists whose works investigate identity from an intersectional perspective. These works will be presented in dialogue with Wolverhampton’s cultural history. Wolverhampton Art Gallery houses one of the most significant collections of art on the Troubles outside Northern Ireland and collects works linked to the British Black Arts movement, whose members studied at Wolverhampton School of Art. As part of BAS9 there will be a display of selected works from this collection.

The participating artists for BAS9 in Wolverhampton are: Hurvin Anderson; Michael Armitage; Simeon Barclay; Oliver Beer; James Bridle; Helen Cammock; Jamie Crewe; Oona Doherty; Sean Edwards; Mandy El-Sayegh; Mark Essen; GAIKA; Beatrice Gibson; Patrick Goddard; Andy Holden; Lawrence Lek; Paul Maheke; Elaine Mitchener; Oscar Murillo; Grace Ndiritu; Uriel Orlow; Hardeep Pandhal; Hetain Patel; Florence Peake; Joanna Piotrowska; Abigail Reynolds; Margaret Salmon; Hrair Sarkissian; Marianna Simnett; Sin Wai Kin (fka Victoria Sin); Hanna Tuulikki; Caroline Walker; Alberta Whittle; and Rehana Zaman.

Selected highlights, including significant new commissions and site-specific installations, are:

Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Hurvin Anderson presents his vibrant barbershop series—including a new painting Dixie Peach (2020)—which explore his cultural heritage.

Helen Cammock’s new multimedia installation Changing Room II (2021) and elegiac film Changing Room (2014) reflecting on her late father—an art teacher, magistrate and amateur ceramicist—and his experiences of living in Wolverhampton in the 1960s and 70s. Made possible through Art Fund support.

blank verse blanket man (2022), a new immersive installation by Mandy El-Sayegh, incorporates sound, paintings and newspaper-covered walls to create an environment of sensory overload.

Working with students from Thomas Telford UTC, Mark Essen’s pilot programme for an “art school within an art school” is held at Wolverhampton School of Art. School of the Underkraft (2021-22) is made possible with Arts Council England support.

A new audio-visual installation, ZEMEL (2022), from music producer, writer, and artist GAIKA draws on his Caribbean heritage, sound system culture and is a shrine to Windrush-generation deportees.

Oscar Murillo’s new site-specific installation of blackened canvases hung from the ceiling intends to offer a glimmer of hope, presenting the idea of seeds flourishing in darkness.

BAS9 includes a programme of artist films and a dedicated website enables artists to share works online. The exhibition is accompanied by a major publication and a wide-ranging programme of creative learning and engagement, which will further extend the reach of BAS9 beyond the gallery walls.

British Art Show 9 is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition presented in collaboration with the cities of Aberdeen, Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth. Curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar.

BAS9 continues its national tour to the cities of Manchester and Plymouth throughout 2022.