Mark Power’s Black Country Stories Preview Night at The New Art Gallery Walsall

July 20, 2012

Last night saw the long awaited, and highly anticipated, opening of Mark Power’s Black Country Stories exhibition at The New Art Gallery Walsall (further information here). The night was a huge success with approximately 200 people turning out (even in the rain) to come and celebrate this inspiring new work by Mark that centres around revealing the beauty of the everyday and the overlooked in the Black Country.

It was great to see so many people who were integral to the success of the project who came out to see the work. People such as Samantha Beet (lady in the red shoes); Lisa Rozgonyi (Tat-a-Holics, Oldbury); and Fozia Mahmood (Serenity Salon, West Bromwich) were exceptionally supportive throughout the project in allowing Mark into their private and working lives to produce this wonderful exhibition.

This exhibition brought new audiences through the people who were involved in Mark’s project – people who might not ordinarily attend gallery spaces. Black Country Stories is about celebrating local people and the everyday.

Here are a few of the comments:

“When you come in and see all of his work together with the sounds – I love that sound down there – I get it.  Put together as a collection, I definitely get the shoes, and people are still trying to look good. I like the greyness of the cobbles with the shoes. I didn’t get the shoes at first but I really like them now.” Angela

“One of the most exciting things about the exhibition for me is the inclusion of the films. We’d seen the images and the films in separation but actually seeing them together in the space for the first time and understanding how well they complement each other has been great. I think the spray tan film especially fits in with the rest of the images so well; it’s like a moving portrait.”
Neil Ledbetter – Exhibitions Assistant at The New Art Gallery Walsall

“I always look at our area and I see a lot of things that I think should be photographed so having a project come up, enabling me to go out and actually photograph and get it seen has been a great opportunity. It’s been a privilege to be involved with Mark. I never would have thought to be honest that we’d get Magnum photographers to work with us and to be involved in it has been huge. It’s the first exhibition I’ve had as well.”
Ashley Bourne, Sandwell College winner of the photography competition, ‘Power and Beauty’ (inspired by Mark’s work) that is also being shown at the gallery.

Lucy Ling is the ‘Power and Beauty’ competition winner from Walsall College.