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19th Oct, 2021

Last chance to see major exhibition on Coventry and Warwickshire's post-war heritage

THIS weekend is the last chance to see a major exhibition spotlighting a forgotten part of the region’s heritage.

Modern Mercia: Post-war art in Coventry and Warwickshire 1945-1970, will be coming to a close on Sunday (September 19).

The exhibition 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.

It also explores the emphasis, in 1950s and 1960s Britain, on the importance of art in everyday life, particularly in the home and in schools, and the form this took in the Midlands. This includes textiles and ceramics by the designer Tibor Reich, whose Stratford based textile company, was internationally renowned and produced designs for Coventry cathedral and Concorde among others.

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 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, and is free to attend.

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.

“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.”

Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/royalpumprooms for more information on events.

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