Yours For The Taking - Dec1975/Jan76

Submitted by root on Wed, 09/26/2012 - 13:31

This was the Blackie's  second participatory exhibition to be held at the Walker Art Gallery. It was part of Peter Moores' second exhibition 'Body & Soul' and took place in the last week of this exhibition.

It followed the same pattern as the first exhibition 'Towards a Common Language' in that "what goes up will be made by those who come in".

The Exhibitiion

Steve Bennett on the door to Your For the TakingFollowing the theme of the exhibition "Body and Soul", the Blackie's contribution allowed visitors to take up the invitation "Put Yourself in the Landscape of Your Dreams".

Along the left hand side of the room a series of works - all blank, all rectangular, and all with a small mirror attached to the surface - were hung on the walls of the Walker's Education Room.

Under each work, on the floor, there was a black box containing artists' materials, and in the right hand corner of the room there was a photographic studio.

These blank works were hung and illuminated with the care of an exhibition.Layout of left hand side of the room Visitors could choose to look at the blank works (and see themselves in the mirrors).  Or visitors could choose to work/play on a blank work with the artists' materials provided to create a landscape of their dreams  -  and then replace the mirror with a colour photograph of themselves, in a pose of their choice, taken in the photographic studio.

They could then take away the work they had created, a portrait of themselves in the landscape of their dreams.

Display of works available to be taken by visitorsAny works not taken away were put on display (and could be taken away by other visitors). Throughout the day, completed works were replaced on the walls with blank works.


 The Painters

The  painters came in all ages and with a range of skillsAs in Towards a Common Language, some people shared canvases, some painted by themselves..

One of the pleasing aspects of the event was that at least 50 people who had painted during the earlier exhibition came back and painted in this one.

Below are the painters at work. 

 Three friends painting on one canvasTwo lads share a canvas Eddy Tagoe and Steph Dodds share a canvas  A husband and wife team at work Solo painter nearing the end of his workA study in concentratonA youg girl at workA man and a child paint on adjacent canvases Three youg ladies and their workBill's mum studies her work


During the 7 days of the exhibition 3,000 people visited, of which 1,661 were adults and 1,339 kids. 424 people (123 adults and 301) kids painted and posed for photographs, creating 266 completed works.  By the end of the week all but two had been reserved-most by the painters but some by other visitors. we also photographed the majority of the works and distributed slides as required. 

 The room in full swing

                                 The room in full swing

The Works

The works ranged from dreams of idealised landscapes through nightmares to the surreal. Some chose particular events or places, others specific activities and some are pure fantasies.  . 

Young lad descending by parachute into a flowery meadowtDreamers sailing to wards a pleasant land

Bill's mum in the Scottish HighlandsDreamer floating in the sky above a flowery meadow A diagrammatic map of someone's interestsDreamers surrounded by things that are important to them An inmdustrial landscape with wishes for a Happy New Year Chinese dreamer with stylised version of the Great Wall of ChinaDreamer walking towards the nativityDreamer meditating in a pine forestWoman in a landscape of sea sand and cliffsYoung man and two women Walking naked through the landscape of your dreams Young lad rowing away from a sea monsterYoug lad running away from a dinosaurFamily with Sharks

Dreamer floating in a red mist but attached by a thin line to cliff with a dead tree  Landscape of sundial and cypressesA strange landscape with a cow escaping from where it is not welcoem - with commentaryTwo lads, a coffin, and knife dripping blood with the comment niceWoman looking aghast at a spirit hholding uop two headstA screaming mouth in alandsacpe of Hell, Dead and skullsDramer replaces a flower with himself The painter within a skull painting a stylised head


The Materials

The artists' materials available include traditional oils, modern acrylic paint, water colours, gouache, inks, charcoal, crayon and pencil. All materials were of professional quality.

Materials were donated by Winsor and Newton Ltd (London), Douglas and Walls (Liverpool), Starflex International (Leeds), W.H.Smith (Liverpool). Hamilton and Company Ltd (London), H.G.Benwell & Co (Coulson).

Materials were  supplied at concessionary rates by Daler Board Co Ltd (Wareham), George Rowney and Co Ltd (Bracknell), Aquatec (London), J.Davey & Sons (Manchester), T.J.Hughes (Liverpool), L.G.Harris and Co Ltd (Bromsgrove), Bluecoat Art Gallery (Liverpool), Littlewoods Stores (Liverpool), W.F.Hallway and Bros (Liverpool), Armitage and Rigby Ltd (Warrington), Henderson Stores Ltd (Liverpool), Polaroid UK Ltd (St. Albans.

The Photographic Studio

Visitor looking at the book of photgraphsThe photographic studio, using a Hasselblad camera with a Polaroid back, this provided instant Polaroid colour photographs (or black and white on request), 31/4 x 41/4. 

There were a range of special effects filters - so photgraphs could be taken which had multiple images of the one person, etc. Before the Exhibition we took a  photographs to give people ideas of how they might want to pose. These were then put in a book. 

During the exhibition we took straighforward head-and-shoulders shots in colour and black-and-white to poses which fitted into the painted landscape: a close up of a scream, someone shaving, five overlapping green heads and so on.

              People gathering in the photgraphic studio for a group photograph

       Visitors and staff in the photographic studio getting ready fo a group shot 

The photographic studio was run by Wendy Harpe and Jane Langdon-Davies. Some of the equipment on free loan was supplied from from Hargreaves Photography (Liverpool).

The Film Shows

We also contributed to Body and Soul by showing films and video tapes at the Blackie  where the music was Soul and the body was dance. The screenings started on Saturday 17th January and went on 4 weeks.

We started with:-:-

          Reggae - based on the reggae festival at Wembley Stadiun,

          Simple Songs - Billy Preston, Joe Cooker and Bill Withers.

          Short films of Ike & Tina Turner and Dorothy Morrison,

          2 films of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

          Rock My Soul - a performance by the Alvin Ailey Dance Co,

           A new Soul Train TV recording just arrived from the Staten

Films in following weeks included:-

Soul to Soul - filmed during the 14th Ghanaian Independence Celebrations with Roberta Flack, Santana, Voices of East Harlem, Wilson Pickett and Ike & Tina Turner.

Jazz on a Summers Day

Monterey Pop - Eric Burdon, Country Joe, Jimi Hendrix, Canned Heat, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin and Sly and the Family Stone.

The Harder They Come - Jimmy Cliff,

Rhythmetron - a film of the Dance Theatre  of Harlem,

Short promotional films from record companies of various artists including Labelle, Curtis Mayfield, Three Degrees, 01Jays, Supremes..

People who were interested  in any particular film could phone or call for details of dates and times. The seating was very limited so only a few people could watch at anyone time. 

The Filmshows were staffed by the Blackie and Radio Doom.


The mailing, posters,radio and press annoucements clearly worked since we achieved 3,000 visitors

During the Exhibition Granada made a short film for Garanda Reports which we hope finally might be added to this site.  We made our own video.

After the Exhibition we sent out a Report covering the programme, attendances and costs - this was also a way of raising the £137 overspend which otherwise bill, as prson responsible, woudl have to pay himself.

The Team

The Exhibition was created by Bill Harpe, Wendy Harpe, Marloeke Jacobs, Christopher Jones, and Jane Langdon Davies with advice from Reg Cox and Dave Kilburn. 

It was staffed by them along with Terry Baker, Mo Bates, Steve Bennett, Carl Blye, Stuart Clark, Laurence Cox, Chris Furby, Joan Geoffrey, Trevor Griffiths, Zabov Herouard, Dave Kay, Tina Kilbride, Stella King, Anna Leon, Dave Lipsky, Joanna McGregor, Stephen Marsh, Kathy Pinnington, Yousef Rakis, Dave Rickus, Kathleen Room, Len Reid, Howard Steel, Ray Williams, Pamela Williams, Dorothy Williams.

With the help of the staff of the Walker Art Gallery