Celebrating Gloucester’s diversity through brand new Black history art exhibition

The project asks 'when was the first time you saw a person of a different ethnicity to you?'

A brand new art exhibition has been launched in Gloucester to celebrate the city’s diversity.

Hosted at the Museum of Gloucester, the latest exhibition shows work from local artists which helps tell the story of our diverse city’s history.

Inspired by renowned photographer Vanley Burke, the exhibition ‘History, Her Story, Their Story, Our Story’, shows work from two Gloucestershire artists.

Vanley Burke, born in 1951, is a British Jamaican photographer and artist, who has been described as “the Godfather of Black British Photography.”

His iconic photography over the past four decades forms possibly the largest body of work recording the lives of African Caribbean people in post-war Britain.

Vanley’s work has been exhibited extensively at venues including The Light House, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, The Black Arts Gallery in London, Cornerhouse in Manchester and Walsall Museum and Art Gallery, and he has held solo exhibitions abroad in New York City, South Africa and Mali.

Gloucester based lyricist, recording artist and photographer, Rider Shafique and Thembe Mvula, writer and performance poet who grew up in Gloucester, worked collaboratively with the community using the lead question: “When was the first time you saw a person of a different ethnicity to you?”

School pupils and community members were encouraged to ask the oldest person they knew this question and the stories gathered were explored in workshops that took place between pupils, community members and artists.

The artworks were then launched at Gloucester History Festival as part of the City Voices programme earlier this year.

The Museum of Gloucester exhibition hopes to encourage people to pose this question themselves as they explore the artworks, and record their own contribution to the city’s unique history.

The exhibition also features Elle Bry Thomas with her ‘Barber Street’ exhibition, ‘One Street, Fourteen Barbers, Many Nationalities.’ This photography series celebrates 14 of the barber shops of Barton Street in the centre of Gloucester.

‘The History, Her Story, Their Story, Our Story’ Exhibition is part of the museum’s celebrations of Black History Month will be at the Museum of Gloucester until December 31.

Gloucester City Councillor Steve Morgan, former cabinet member for Culture and Leisure at Gloucester City Council, said: “I am delighted that the Museum of Gloucester is able to present some of Gloucester’s most talented artists alongside that of the highly respected photographer Vanley Burke.

“This fantastic exhibition is the result of a city-wide partnership and collaboration between Fresh Air Foundations, Gloucestershire Archives, City Voices and the Museum of Gloucester with funding from Arts Council England.”

For more information about tickets and opening hours click here.

Elle Bry Thomas’s ‘Barber Street’ photography exhibition was funded by OPCC with support from Gloucester City Council’s Community Wellbeing Team.

“History, Her Story, Their Story, Our Story” is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.