A NEW exhibition which tackles life in post-Second World War society has opened in Coventry – and the artist behind it described the city as the perfect location for the work.
Visitors can experience the fictional journey of William Henry Quinn as he travels across post-war Britain in an exhibition exploring grief, loneliness and parallels with modern society.
The exhibition is at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum until May 31 and shows the multi-dimensional story of Quinn as he walks the length of the country through fragmented post-war communities.
Lottie Davies, the artist behind the new exhibition – which is a mix of photography, artefacts and short video clips – said Coventry’s historic links to the Second World War made it the natural home for Quinn: A Journey.
She said: “The city of Coventry has become a symbol of what happened during the war, and as a centre of peace and reconciliation it could not be more appropriate for showing ‘Quinn’.
“The cathedral, such a salutary reminder of the destruction war can bring, as well as a showcase for the potential of rebirth, is so close that it feels almost part of the work, and I feel privileged to have been invited to exhibit my work here.
“I first started working on this project in 2014 with Samuel J Weir, the actor who plays Quinn. We travelled to numerous places, following Quinn’s journey and walked for many hours to find the perfect locations – those that haven’t changed since the 1940s and which resonated with me and with the character.
“Through a mixture of videos, still images and installations showing some of Quinn’s personal belongings which visitors can interact with, the audience can uncover the clues as to why he is walking and where his journey might end.”
There will also be the chance for visitors to experience a Performance and In Conversation event on May 17 at Coventry Cathedral from 2pm to complement the exhibition.
Francis Ranford, cultural and creative director of Culture Coventry: “Quinn’s journey is one that explores such a variety of themes that are relatable to the modern audience, and the ability to interact with his possessions through the installations gives a much closer look inside his story.
“Coventry is the UK’s official City of Peace and Reconciliation, so to have the exhibition which explores these themes of peace and loss shown in a city which has experienced first-hand what the war was like, is a crucial way of highlighting our history and reconnecting with it.
“This is a brave, bold exhibition which explores issues around mental health and loneliness that are as pertinent today as they were in the immediate aftermath of the war.”