Culture at the heart of city’s recovery as prestigious British Art Show 9 heads to Aberdeen

The City of Aberdeen is putting culture firmly at the heart of its Covid-19 recovery plans as it prepares to host the prestigious British Art Show at Aberdeen Art Gallery this summer.

This is the 9th edition of British Art Show, which began in 1979 and is presented every 5 years. Organisers are delighted that this important survey of contemporary art is coming to Aberdeen for the first time. Following its Aberdeen launch the exhibition will travel to Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth.

Hayward Gallery Touring, the organisers of British Art Show 9 were so impressed by the redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery when they first visited, that the decision was taken to present the entire exhibition under one roof. Visitors to BAS9 at Aberdeen Art Gallery will be able to enjoy artworks by 33 exhibiting artists in the special exhibition galleries and throughout the whole building.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Councils culture spokesperson said: Aberdeen continues to develop a reputation for being a vibrant cultural destination and British Art Show 9 is an expression of our commitment to putting culture at the heart of the citys Covid-19 recovery.

“We are very much looking forward to introducing people to the best contemporary art in the UK. We hope that it will be enjoyed by local people rediscovering culture on their doorsteps and as we become able to travel more freely around Scotland - also by art fans living further afield. British Art Show 9 is a great reason to plan a visit to Aberdeen this summer.

The curators of British Art Show 9 are Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar. They said: In framing the exhibition, we have grouped practices into three expansive categories: healing, care and reparative history; tactics for togetherness; and imagining new futures. While these themes were shaped at the end of 2019, the unfolding impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the protests against racial injustice make them even more urgent."

Aberdeens presentation centres on exploring different forms of knowledge including spirituality to heal the earth, to resist the injustices of extractivism, and to develop non-exploitative ways of living with the non-human. Aberdeen is undergoing major transformation within its offshore energy sector, as the city works towards realising its Net Zero vision. This iteration of BAS9 proposes to put care at the heart of our relationship with nature, and all beings, moving away from the hierarchical interaction that puts humans first.

Exhibition organisers will soon be recruiting a number of local Ambassadors to introduce the exhibition to Aberdeen audiences. A number of cultural organisations in the city will present associated activity, including Look Again who are offering professional development opportunities for emerging artists in Aberdeen and Plymouth - the first and last host cities for the British Art Show 9 tour.

The exhibition is supported Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland, who recently announced a grant of £85,000 from its Open Fund. Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland said: "Were looking forward to welcoming the British Art Show to Scotland in summer 2021 when its 9th edition is presented at Aberdeen Art Gallery. This is a significant opportunity for the public to experience the diversity and vitality of contemporary art and to develop their own creativity. With the generous support of National Lottery funds through Creative Scotland the show will provide new opportunities for community engagement through an ambitious creative outreach programme."

British Art Show 9 opens at Aberdeen Art Gallery on 10 July and continues until 10 October 2021. For information about British Art Show and the national tour go to www.britishartshow9.co.uk

Aberdeen Art Gallery will re-open to the public on Monday 26 April 2021. For further information go to www.aagm.co.uk

Images show: 

Marianna Simnett, Blood in My Milk, 2018,video still.© the artist. Courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery. 

Elaine Mitchener,Sweet Tooth, 2020Courtesy: the artistPhoto by Brian Roberts

Alberta Whittle Celestial Meditations, 2018  © the artist. Courtesy of Alberta Whittle and Copperfield, London