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 has been making large-scale sculptural works for 5 decades, as well as being an inspirational teacher to many young artists at the Slade School of Art. Barlow is renowned for her experimental use of materials such as plywood, scrimp, concrete and polystyrene to create seemingly precarious sculptures and installations that invade the gallery space. This exhibition brings together works from the ARTIST ROOMS collection, alongside other sculptures and a selection of drawings from throughout her career. One of the art world's most esteemed international artists, the exhibition coincides with Barlow representing Britain at this years Venice Biennale.
A series of new and recent works by Michael Armitage - incidentally a former pupil of Barlows at the Slade School of Art - will be shown for the first time in a public gallery in his exhibition Peace Coma. Playing on Western art historys 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, Armitages 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 includes 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 Churchs 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 Contemporarys learning team and their chosen artist. Art Inspiring Change, is designed to inspire continuous renewal, by harnessing childrens leadership and connecting the community with arts and culture to bring about positive change.
I feel that my kind of teaching and there are a lot of us around is that every day is a new day. You feel you have no history as a teacher, you almost feel you have no history as an artist. You enter the studio and the tutorial almost starts from scratch each time, and therefore youre in a process of constant renewal. Phyllida Barlow, 2009