Hurvin Anderson and Rana Begum artworks go on display in the shop windows of Coventry
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Hurvin Anderson and Rana Begum artworks go on display in the shop windows of Coventry
W Fold by Rana Begum at Coventry City Arcade © Theo Deeprost.

COVENTRY.- Coventry Business Improvement District have revealed the artworks from the Government Art Collection that feature across the shop windows in Coventry City Arcade for The Show Windows: Reflections as part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

Launched in November, the exhibition features artworks by artists including Hurvin Anderson, Rana Begum, Mahtab Hussain, Mohammed Sami, Julian Trevelyan, Evelyn Williams and Christine Wilkinson. The chosen selection from the Government Art Collection spans the mediums of photography, etching, paint and drawing. The Show Windows is a flagship public art programme co-produced by Coventry Business Improvement District with Coventry City of Culture Trust, which sees artists, architects and designers exhibiting in shop windows around the city centre.

The Show Windows: Reflections is supported by Historic England and celebrates the post-war architecture of Coventry City Centre, working with local communities to select artworks and transform Coventry City Arcade into a public museum. Following the devastation of the Coventry Blitz, a new vision for the city was set out according to a master plan by the City Architect, Donald Gibson. The redevelopment of Coventry city centre by Gibson and his successors provided an intensely urban and civilised centre, embodying new planning principles. Post-war Coventry was hugely influential, and Gibson's ideas helped to shape the rebuilding of other city centres, the post-war new towns and developments in Europe. Retail was at the heart of this vision, which includes the city’s acclaimed pedestrianised precincts, the Grade II listed Coventry Retail Market, and Coventry City Arcade.

Community interest company Quiet Down There has worked with Carriers of Hope, a local charity that provides support for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in the Coventry area, to curate the exhibition. Three Coventry-based socially-engaged artists - Jo Gane, Frankie Robson and Lorsen Camps - have also been commissioned to create new pieces that respond and are inspired by the objects from the public collections.

After the Government Art Collection, exhibitions featuring work from the British Museum and Crafts Council will take place in the coming months. The Show Windows is curated by Charlie Levine and for Reflections she has worked with Indira Lakshmi and Rahma Mohamed.

Lorsen Camps says: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work on The Show Windows: Reflections project. It’s always exciting to be able to promote art and creativity, and to be part of a programme that is bringing art to the people of Coventry right in the heart of the city is fantastic.”

Esther Springett, Artistic Director at Quiet Down There, says: “We loved working with Carriers of Hope and through a series of conversations the women in the group shared their reflections on the importance of these works. They hope the artworks welcome people to the city, offer reassurance and give hope and can’t wait for them to be in the windows for others to see as part of their everyday journey.”

Charlie Levine, The Show Windows Curator says: "It was the ambition for The Show Windows to bring art to Coventry's shopping streets and through the Reflections section we're able to extend this and create a museum in City Arcade. Quiet Down There, co-produced with Historic England, are bringing public art collection objects directly into Coventry's public space. I am so thrilled to be working with this team and to launch this part of the programme with some incredible works from the Government Art Collection and see City Arcade animated this way, a new museum in Coventry for UK City of Culture."

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said: "I'm delighted that these works from the Government Art Collection are going on display in Coventry as part of the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 programme. This brilliant initiative is bringing artwork to people in the heart of the city and celebrating all of those who have made Coventry their home."

Director, Government Art Collection, Penny Johnson said: "I'm thrilled that the Government Art Collection has been invited to share some works from our collection as part of Show Windows: Reflections during Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. As one of the most dispersed art collections in the world, we are used to our works being on display far and wide. This is a wonderful opportunity for our artworks to be displayed in Coventry city centre where many people will come across them as part of their daily lives."

Tamsin Silvey, Cultural Programme Curator at Historic England, said: “We’re delighted to be working with local artists and communities alongside national partners to give these wonderful artworks a platform in an unexpected place for the people of Coventry to discover. This project is shining a light on the city’s rich post-war heritage, linking it to art and culture, and we hope it inspires curiosity and conversation.”

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust “It’s great to see these key works from the Government Art Collection arrive in Coventry as part an ambitious project celebrating the built heritage of the city from the perspective of all those who call it home.”

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