Forty Years On, an exhibition celebrating forty years of Newport College of Art is set to take place in the city in 2024, featuring the work of staff and students from the College’s history.
One of the many casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Forty Years On exhibition was originally planned for 2020 and was then transitioned to online. Now, three years later the team behind the exhibition have announced that it will be held in person in a special showing in 2024. The exhibition will celebrate the work of staff and students from the College and will run at Newport Museum and Art Gallery next year.
The exhibition will feature 37 exhibitors and give visitors an insight into what each individual has achieved as they have progressed in their careers since their time in the College. Exhibitors will include animator Graham Bebbington, award-winning travel photographer Cathy Cooper and maker of Welsh, high-back stick chairs, Philip Cumpstone. The exhibition’s opening will introduce the pieces and will feature an address by Dr Peter Wakelin.
At the time Forty Years On was originally postponed, the exhibition’s creator Neil Carroll, talked to Wales Arts Review about what had inspired his selection of artists for the project:
“I wanted this to be as inclusive a project as possible and at its core are a collection of individuals who feature on that original poster. It’s a subjective and personal curation by myself of people who wanted to get involved and who have embraced the idea warmly. It was important to me to have also included the work of some of our tutors, which will give you a very clear indication of the diversity and quality of our educators, the people that have been a very special part of our lives. It’s certainly a diverse cross-section and a wonderful gathering of individuals.”
Newport’s identity as a multi-cultural city, close to both the Welsh capitol and the border as also a key influence in Carroll’s efforts to compile the exhibition:
“Newport as a city certainly had its influence on shaping our views as young people. The ‘Port’ is a multi-cultural city and we lived in areas that were new to us. The eastern valleys and by great contrast, rural Monmouthshire are both close at hand as are the neighbouring cities of Cardiff and Bristol. The Art College provided a launch pad, the green-domed mothership, from which we zoomed out into a myriad of different directions to get a taste of the real world.”
It promises to be a showcase of how an art school experience can enrich the lives of its learners and tutors, with a focus on that creativity feeds out in the communities around each artist.
More information about the Forty Years On exhibition is available via the Festival website.