Three art exhibitions to visit in The North this summer.


As a self confessed art history enthusiast there is nothing I enjoy more in my free time then spending the day looking at and learning about great art . Today I'm sharing three of my favourite art exhibitions that I have visited in the north of England this summer.

Susan Hefuna: ToGather @ The Whitworth | 20th June - 3rd September 2017

Presented as part of the Manchester International Festival, ToGather is an exhibition and performance piece created by Susan Hefuna in collaboration with 30 local residents with asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds. Alongside an exhibition of sculptures and drawings by Hefuna, and found objects from the 30 residents; digital moving images of the team’s footsteps have also been created from the dancing in their performance piece which was recorded on the 9th of July. 

An incredibly timely exhibition; ToGather addresses issues of migration, sensations of togetherness and cultural identity. The many parts of this exhibit combine to create an incredibly potent experience exploring layers of cultural representation.


Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects @ Yorkshire Sculpture Park | 4th March - 3rd September

This spring and summer has seen the UK’s biggest exhibition of British sculptor Tony Cragg’s work to date. Covering five decades worth of work this really is a breathtaking exhibition across multiple spaces of the park showing the density of Cragg’s work. Cragg calls himself a ‘radical materialist’ and defines sculpture as a ‘rare category of objects’. He makes use of a variety of materials both natural and man made in order to organise and categorise what we create and what already exists.

Works vary from small scale sculptures to the monumental and are accompanied by Cragg’s initial drawings that he makes before every piece of sculpture he creates. Walking through the spaces takes you on an incredible journey of Cragg’s prolific work and really brings you into his world and explores his vision as a sculptor. 

Shirley Baker: Women and Children; and Loitering Men @ Manchester Art Gallery | 19th May - 28th August

Thought to be the only British woman practising street photography in the post-war era; Shirley Baker’s photographs of the inner city of Manchester and Salford between 1961 and 1981 reveal the people affected by urban clearance programmes. 

During her sixty-five year spanning career Baker’s humanist documentary photographs received little attention. Women and Children; and Loitering Men at the Manchester Art Gallery reveals unseen colour photographs and many of her black and white images depicting the working class communities who were affected by the destruction of these residential areas. 

What is so magical about this exhibition for me is that not only are the photographs beautifully compassionate and a potent testament to the resilience of these communities under threat. But also the way the local community today is interacting with Baker’s work and one another in the space. I have visited this exhibit twice now and both times it has been bustled with locals as well as art enthusiasts who have really connected with Baker’s work.

Thanks for reading; have you visited any stand out art exhibitions this summer? 

lifestyleEmily Allen