A FORGOTTEN part of the region’s heritage is being given its time in the spotlight at a major exhibition in Leamington.
Modern Mercia: Art and design in post-war Coventry and Warwickshire, 1945-1970, is showcasing the best of the region’s post-war creativity as part of the University of Warwick’s Resonate festival.
The multimedia visual arts exhibition is inspired by the post-war rebuilding of the city, and celebrates the artistic ambitions of a forward-thinking region, as well as its emergence from troubled times, across 60 exhibits including sculpture, homeware, photographs and archive film borrowed from local collections and private lenders.
The wide-ranging works, which each reveal a unique aspect of 20th century life, thinking and politics, have been assembled at Leamington Art Gallery and Museum thanks to a collaboration across a number of local collections including The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Cathedral, the University of Warwick and private lenders.
The exhibition, which has been curated by Jane Simpkiss, Visual Art Curator at Leamington Art Gallery and Museum, and Louise Campbell, Professor Emerita of History of Art at the University of Warwick, is free to attend and will run until September 19.
Professor Campbell said: “Modern Mercia has been curated with a view to encouraging people to reflect on an era of art, design and creativity that could soon be lost to redevelopment, and represents a vital but often overlooked chapter in Coventry and Warwickshire’s history.
“The exhibition showcases the surge of creativity which took place in the Midlands after World War Two. It reveals the optimism and growing affluence of this area and shows how it underpinned artistic experiment during this period.
“It is a perfect opportunity, during the Coventry City of Culture celebrations and the University of Warwick’s Resonate festival to get people thinking about their connections to the region and its fascinating post-war past and in turn consider the history being left behind by today’s art.
“As well as the rebuilding of Coventry, it will also detail the emergence of Stratford-upon-Avon as a cultural centre, and the growth of the Midlands as a prosperous manufacturing centre.
“Not only is it for locals throughout Coventry and Warwickshire to appreciate, it is also fascinating prospect for students and secondary school age pupils, who will have the chance to see the art left behind by their predecessors across the city’s colleges and institutions more than half a century ago.”
As a principal partner supporting Coventry City of Culture 2021, the University of Warwick is hosting Resonate Festival, an innovative 12-month programme of public events including talks, public conversations, film festivals, walking tours, debates and much more. It will culminate in a multi-day festival on campus in April 2022.
For more information visit warwick.ac.uk/about/cityofculture/news/modern-mercia
For more information on The Resonate Festival visit warwick.ac.uk/about/cityofculture/get-involved/programme/