The 20th Birthday Celebrations - 26th - 30th May 1988

Submitted by root on Wed, 01/18/2017 - 17:14

Birthday cake in the form of the BlackiePeople were invited to join the 20th Birthday Party by visiting The Blackie during the day - where they could find Exhibitions, help create a communal sculpture 'Twenty-Twenty Vision', make an origami bird, shop  or relax to Poetry and Music around the Cafe.

Above left Wendy & Bill Harpe, Nicky Dewison and Kevin Rowan with a Blackie shaped 20th Birthday Cake

In addition there were special events structured in the form of day long parties  Some of these required booking tickets and some did not.

The three Parties - were hosted on the 26th May by Kevin and Nicky - the 27th May by Sally and Judy and on the 29th May by Stephen and Jimmy. The people hosting the parties were also the people who had selected the performers. 

This page deals with the day-time activities in the Gallery  - to access information about the Parties Click on the links above.

The Gallery/Ground Floor

The Gallery was divided into various discrete areas, including a cafe, (food by Triplicate), the exhibition areas, workshops, a place to watch films and videos, a place for performers, places where albums of photographs were displayed and a shop where people could buy Blackie items.

Long view of the Gallery showing the exhibitions and the area where books were displayedA shot down the Gallery from the cafe area showing the exhibitions

Above photos taken from the cafe area showing the various exhibitions. Below photo taken showing the cafe area

photo taken towards the cafe area

The ground floor provided a convivial hub.  It was a place where people had a chance to do things, a place to watch films and videos, to view the exhibitions,  to listen to music and poetry, to review 20 years of The Blackie and meet the artists. 

Bill Harpe and Jalal from The Last Poets in the cafe area

Left and right below the cafe area in operation.

Left  Bill Harpe and Jalal Nuriddin (from the Last Poets) socialising. Below  in the background the Cobweb quilt created during in the Caught Up Playscheme.

Socialising with the Cobweb Quilt in the background



The Gallery also hosted the Chess Tournament which was part of Stephen's & Jimmy's Party.


One of the Guo Brothers in the cafe playing




Left one of the Guo Brothers playing in the cafe


The Exhibitions

The Exhibitions consisted of work created by the Blackie - works normally exhibited under the title 'The Games Of Art'  :  works commissioned by the Blackie and works from invited artists (local, national and international).

There were also books of photographs of 20 years of Blackie activities  and a poster rack which displayed a range of works created by young people.

Leroy Agatha and friend looking at the booksThe poster rack in use

Above  Leroy Agatha and friend looking at the photo albums and the poster rack in use.

In addition to works in the Gallery, Blackie works were also displayed in the down stairs Studio, on the stairs and in the Dome.

The Pebble box displayed in the basementThe rag mat on the staircase

Above Wendy Harpe and Margaret Seagroat in front of the pebble box displayed in the basement and the rag mat on the staircase

The Blackie contribution's included:-  

People viewing MY Room 'My Room'  : created during Sister To Shakespeare

Right people viewing My Room during the 20th Birthday Celebrations

The Rembrandt Game : works created at the Blackie during staff games and works created during the show of the same name held at the Walker Art Gallery  

The Rainbows : the photographs of 'Inner City Rainbows', and the RainThe Rainbow Exhibitsbow Table Mats.

Right the Rainbow Exhibits - Photographs and the Rainbow Table Mats

Socialising the Flower and Bird Works and In the backgroundBirds and Flower Works : works created during staff games and in various playschemes around the city.

Left people socialising with Eat Your Art Out and The Bird and Flower Works in the background

Eat Your Art Out  : works created during the exhibition of  same name held at the Bede Gallery, Jarrow

Photographic works on display in the GalleryOther works created during staff games and playschemes including , 'Doors and Gates';  'Reflections';  'Collages' (all of these are photographic works); and 'Streets and Parks'


Above left the photographic works on displayThe Blackie Poster Collage


and a  Collage of Blackie Posters

Right  a photo showing the Blackie Poster Collage, and at the far end The Shop.

Commissioned Exhibitions:-

People viewing Vanley Burke's Positive Portraits

Positive Portraits :  by the photographer Vanley Burke

Thou Shalt Knot : pastels created by Robert Jackson during the Thou Shalt Knot playscheme and showing the playscheme in operations.

Thou Shalt Knot pastels


Above people viewing Vanley Burke's Positive Portraits. Right the pastels from Thou Shalt Knot.


Invited Artists :-

Three works from John Latham 

One of John Latham's works The second John Latham workThe second of John Latham's works

Above John Latham's works on display

A panel by Judy Chicago from The Birth Project plus associated texts.

Margaret Seagroat viewing  the text which accompanied Judy Chicago's work Judy Chicago's work with associated text.

Above and below Judy Chicago's work being viewed.

Judy Chicago's work with other works in the backgroundThe African Heads with Judy Chicago's work in the backgroundWooden heads on display


There were also works by Andrea  Foulkes, Jane Schaver and John O' Leary and others whose names are lost in the mists of time.

Right Paul Hutchinson with the wooden heads

The Music

At the side of the cafe area there was a small stage and this was used  by performers  - mainly musicians - but also poets. The musicians were booked for definite times.  Thursday 26th started the celebration of with Brendan MacCormack playing guitar and lute from 12 to 5.

Friday 27th the Guo Brothers played from 12 .30 to 2pm 

 The Guo Brothers on stage  performing in the cafe area The Guo Brothers performing with the cafe in the backgroundThe Guo Brothers performing with their audienceThe audience in the cafe watching the performance

Above photos of the Guo Brothers performing and the audience. Below Cathy & Chris Ormston  playing Northumbrian Music

Cathy and Chris Ormston playing Northumbrian Music by the Cafe

Chris and Cathy Ormston played from 5 to 7 on the 27th May and on Sunday 29th Pat Rodoway played and sung from12 to 2pm

We do not have photos of all the performances.

The  Poetry

Dave Calder working as a 'waiter' in the cafe area

Windows ( a poetry organisation run by Dave Ward and Dave Calder) was resident in the Blackie during the 20th Birthday.  On Friday 27th (Sal & Judy's Party) and Saturday May 28th from 11am-3pm Windows provided the Menu for the cafe. 

 Above Dave Calder dressed as a 'waiter' in the cafe area.  Below a customer reads the Menu and Dave Ward working in the Cafe area

A customer reading the menu Dave Ward working with customers in the Cafe area

We do not have the full menu they used just the opening page - see below

Menu for 20th Birthday CelebrationsVisitor working on poetry

Above the opening page of the Poetry Menu and a customer working on verses. Below Dave Calder and Dave Ward  waiting to work with visitors.

The cafe in operation with Dave Calder and Dave Ward waiting to work with visitors

Things To do

20:20 Vision

20:20 Vision was a communal sculpture using a box identical to the box which housed My Room. 

People were provided with a huge range of everyday objects including  batteries, tea bags, tooth brushes, straws,  etc..  In all there were some 110 different items and they were all there in multiples.  There is no record as to how the workshop operated however given the Blackie's history it is unlikely that people were simply free to choose.  There was probably some game of chance.

20-20 Vision in operationThe 20 : 20 Vision AreaThe 20-20 Vision areaSaphena leading a 20 : 20 Vision workshopA 20:20 Vision work being made from strawsThe finished 20:20 work ready to be placed in the box

Above the 20 : 20 Vision area, the workshop in operation and someone making a work for the communal sculpture. 

1000 Paper  Birds Bring Eternal Good Luck

A work where people were invited to make origami birds which were then suspended in the Gallery

Making the 1000  birds workshop 1000 birds bring eternal good luck

Above and below the 1000 Birds workshop in operation

The 1000 Bird workshop in operationThe 1000 Bird Workshop in operation

The Birds suspended in the middle of the Gallery


Left  the 1000  Birds work suspended in the middle of the Gallery - and JJ with Dave Ward looking at the books which contain information on Blackie activities


Us Now and How We Were

This work consisted of photos of Blackie people (workers, volunteers and young people) mounted on a wall headed How We Were.  People who visited were invited to find themselves in the collage and then to have a polaroid picture taken.   This was added to a wall headed How We Are Now. We did add to the How We Were Collage during the event as people came and demanded to have their photo on the wall.

Creating the How We Were CollageAdding to the collage during the showYes that's meSam Sloan trying to find himself in the collage

Above the How We Were Collage being created, and visitors  viewing the collages.

Videos and Films

People were able to view videos and films made by the Blackie and films about The Blackie.

The Film and Video room next to Parks and StreetsThe video area being set up

Young people in the video area



Above the Film and Video room (next to Parks and Streets) and the video area being set up. Left and young people getting ready to watch videos.


There was also a separate area where we showed the animated films Showing animated films and the associated art workmade by the Blackie "Three Feary Tales" and "Money Can''t Buy You" plus some of the artwork

Right the animated film area

The Creche

As usual there was a Creche run in the office - which is on the same floor as the gallery.

The CrecheThe Creche in operation

Above the Creche being set up and in operation


The Team  The 20th Birthday was created by Bill Harpe, Sally Morris and Judy Bates (now Gough) assisted by Nicky Dewison, Anne Gleave, Stephen Knox, Tony Mercer, Frieda Nyahoe, Dave Rickus, Kevin Rowan, John Szarkiewicz (photographs) and Jimmy Tagoe.

Visiting Artists and Exhibitors    Bobbs Magic Show; Pat and Hugh Brennan (puppets);  Dave Calder; Shirley Cameron; Judy Chicago; Da Bei Feng;  The Drones;  Andrea Foulkes; The Guo Brothers;  Stuart Kershaw; Surya Kumari; John Latham; The Last Poets; John Littlewood; Brendan MacCormack; Lloyd Massett; Roland Miller;  John O'Leary;  Cathy and Chris Ormston; Radio Doom; Jane Schaver; Ramon Serrano; The Taylors; Triplicate Fireworks; Dave Ward

Thanks To:-    All the people and organisations which helped us celebrate 20 years of work by lending us anything from wine glasses to display boards.

The Anglican Cathedral; The Bronte Centre; The Central Library; Baz Easterbrook;  Harold House Youth Centre; Liverpool Bridge Club; Littlewoods; Liverpool City Council (Litter Abatement Section and Public Relations);  Liverpool Polytechnic: Medici Society Ltd.;  Merseyside Young People's Theatre; Oddbins; Triplicate; Unity Theatre