Arts Council Collection Print Display: Selected by We Make Culture’s Young Musicians Project

As part of our three-year partnership with the presitigious Arts Council Collection for their National Partners Programme, we have been working with local community groups around Sunderland to select a series of three print displays from the Arts Council Collection’s print collection.

The Arts Council Collection is primarily a collection of modern and contemporary British art, but early on in its history it also acquired prints by major 20th-century European artists alongside British artists, forming an outstanding collection of more than 1,500 printed works by over 500 artists.

This display, the second in the series, has been chosen by We Make Culture’s Young Musicians Project – a dynamic group of young musicians from Sunderland who have been exploring the vast and extraordinary collection. The group have selected a range of prints by female artists in the Arts Council Collection to display alongside some of their own artwork.

Artists included in the print display: Gillian Ayres, Fiona Banner, Vanessa Bell, Mary Fox, Paula Rego and Young Musicians Project members, Sara Heraoua, Paige Smith and Charlotte Stothard. 

Meet the Young Musicians Project

Although Young Musicians Project has a music-focus, one of the things we love about it is that we have young people coming along who are interested in all sorts of creativity.

We’re lucky to have a number of talented artists in the group to design posters and project artworks and it’s brilliant for them to be able to show their work alongside such amazing artists.

“The group were particularly inspired by the Paint the Town in Sound exhibition currently on show at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens (also an Arts Council Collection exhibition) which explores the interconnections between art and music both in Sunderland and more broadly.

We immediately talked about The Bunker group photos from the 80’s which they’d seen when we used to meet in Pop Recs on Stockton Road. They’re such a distinctive record of a time, that we hoped our photos of ourselves would not only be a record of what (some of) the young musicians in Sunderland look like now but also be a nod to the past.

“In keeping with the original photos, photographer Andy Martin chose to take the photos on film in black and white.”

Laura Brewis, Founder and Director, We Make Culture

Discover more about the Young Musicians Project in the video below:

Here are the prints the group chose from the Arts Council Collection:

From left to right:

Mary Fox (1922-2005), The Widows, 1952, Linocut

Young Musicians Project member, Sara Heraoua:

“In this very detailed lino print I love the way the artist showcases the emotions of the widows.

There is a deep sadness and loneliness resonating from both the expressions and body language of the widows. The artist has cut fluid lines in the clothing of the widows communicating how devastated and pulled away from others (who perhaps don’t understand) they are.

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Girl Reading, 1945, Colour lithograph

Young Musician’s Project member, Joe Middleton:

“The thing I like about Vanessa Bell’s print is that she’s managed to show everything that she wanted to convey in the photo without giving it massive detail, without the context of the rest of the photo you would have no idea what the plants in the background are. I like that she knows exactly how to get her points across.”

Fiona Banner (born 1966), Swarm (from Bugs Portfolio), 2000, Etching

Young Musician’s Project member, Paige Smith:

“What I really like about this piece is the way the artist has represented a swarm through the use of what looks like scattered dots of black ink. This could represent many things such as bugs, thoughts, people or animals.

“It manages to capture the fear through the black coloured ink when it is built up in the centre, creating this shape of darkness on the page.

Gillian Ayres (1930 – 2018), Untitled, 1964, Screenprint

Young Musicians Project leader, Rebecca Young:

“To me, this image evokes an unfinished candy landscape, all dripping pastel colours and cascading swirls. I also like the inclusion of the perspective lines to show the starting point.

Paula Rego (born 1935), How many miles to Babylon? (from the Nursery Rhymes series), 1989, Etching with aquatint

Young Musicians project member, Eve Cole:

“I love the way the figures are repeated in a weird mirror image. The top figures are like strange angels. It’s very unsettling.

Here are the artworks the group have created:

This exhibition is part of our Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme. Find out more about the programme here.

NPP logo

Photos: Michael Davidson
Film by Wycombe 89 Media – Chris J. Allan and Grant Robson
Portrait Photographs by Andy Martin 

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