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Art Sheffield – Millennium Galleries

March 10, 2010

As you may have seen from some posters here and there about town, there’s a big art event going on at the moment called ‘Art Sheffield’. I had mainly been made aware of this as my bus goes past the Millennium Galleries every day, but unfortunately is usually shut by the time I finish work, so I hadn’t yet had a chance to go in.

Jo Spence

Jo Spence

However, due to my previous post you will notice that I was on strike this Monday and Tuesday, and so after leaving the picket line and going for a veggie breakfast at Sarni’s (in the ginnel between the cobblers and the pub on the tramline near Black’s) with my union branch plus kiddies, I headed off to the Millennium Galleries for a cuppa with my bloke, and then a wander round the exhibition there.

The focus was mostly on films and slideshows, of which one was of particular interest to me. It was a slideshow with accompanying soundtrack from a talk by two women at a French high school, called ‘Après la reprise, la prise’ by Wendelien van Oldenborgh. The women were ex workers from a Levis jeans factory in France which had been closed down with very little notice, and hundreds of workers had been made instantly redundant. The female workforce, now unemployed, went on to write and stage a theatre production called ‘501 Blues’ about their struggle. To find out more about the history of these closures, I’ve found the original notes made by the artist before the production of the piece.

Jo Spence

Another highlight was the posters of Jo Spence – some more works many of which were also concerned with women workers’ struggle. It was refreshing to see two such pieces in a mainstream exhibition intermingled with other things and not annexed into a ‘socialist’ or ‘feminist’ part of a gallery as so often happens.

I won’t spoil the rest for you. It’s small but free, and the films are engaging and often very funny, as in the case of Katarina Zdjelar’s film ‘Shoum’ – I’m not sure how many time something’s touched me enough to make me giggle in a quiet art gallery, but noone seemed to mind.

Having been impressed with this I’m planning on heading to some of the other venues too. Have a look at the Art Sheffield site for more details.

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