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Joy is the fullest expression of happiness, experienced in connection with a force beyond oneself. Feeling this level of positivity and connection in 2020 feels, to many, like a distant dream, which is precisely why this exhibition is needed. Finding Joy was curated by students from one of City Lit's Introduction to Art History courses. Each work chosen reflects an individual's conception of joy. We interpreted thematically, grouping diverse works to find their commonality. The exhibition moves through togetherness, carefree physicality, the subtly of movement and ends with celebration of human life. Our hope was to create a communal space of joy that allows for both the broad and the specific. May you find joy in our selection.

20 artworks
The Seaside
© estate of John David Roberts. By courtesy of The William Roberts Society. Photo credit: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

The Seaside c.1966

William Patrick Roberts (1895–1980)

Oil on canvas

H 61 x W 76.2 cm

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Drumsheugh Swimming Pool
© the artist. Photo credit: Art in Healthcare

Drumsheugh Swimming Pool 1992

Emily Learmont (b.1969)

Oil on canvas

H 184 x W 152.5 cm

Art in Healthcare

Cheese Rolling on Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Gloucester Museums Service Art Collection

Cheese Rolling on Cooper's Hill, Gloucestershire 1948

Charles March Gere (1869–1957)

Oil on canvas

H 62.5 x W 75.3 cm

Gloucester Museums Service Art Collection

The Christening Party
© the artist. Photo credit: Art in Healthcare

The Christening Party 1996

Emily Learmont (b.1969)

Oil on canvas

H 182.6 x W 121 cm

Art in Healthcare

Primrose Hill
© the artist. Photo credit: Imperial Health Charity Art Collection

Primrose Hill 1991/1992

Peter Burgess (b.1952)

Oil on canvas

H 119 x W 140 cm

Imperial Health Charity Art Collection

Hanging Figure
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: University of Southampton

Hanging Figure 1977

Mel Charles

Acrylic on canvas

H 216 x W 143 cm

University of Southampton

Hanging Figure
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: University of Southampton

Hanging Figure 1977

Mel Charles

Acrylic on canvas

H 216 x W 143 cm

University of Southampton

Untitled
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Art & Heritage Collections, Robert Gordon University

Untitled 2000

David Storrie

Oil on canvas

H 183 x W 212.5 cm

Art & Heritage Collections, Robert Gordon University

The Three Dancers
© National Museums Northern Ireland. Photo credit: National Museums Northern Ireland

The Three Dancers 1945

John Luke (1906–1975)

Oil & tempera on canvas on board

H 30.7 x W 43 cm

National Museums Northern Ireland

Boy Eating a Hot Dog
© Peter Blake. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Boy Eating a Hot Dog 1960–1965

Peter Blake (b.1932)

Acrylic on board

H 36.5 x W 40.7 cm

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Happy Days
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Glasgow Museums

Happy Days 1924

John Daniel Revel (1884–1967)

Oil on canvas

H 101.6 x W 76.2 cm

Glasgow Museums

Bird
© the artist. Photo credit: Peace Museum

Bird 2008

Natasha Light (b.1976)

Ceramic & fishing line

H 46 x W 20.5 x D 6 cm

Peace Museum

Magdalen Green, Dundee
© the artist's estate / Bridgeman Images. Photo credit: The Fleming Collection

Magdalen Green, Dundee

James McIntosh Patrick (1907–1998)

Oil on canvas

H 62.8 x W 78 cm

The Fleming Collection

Gymnast
© the artist. Photo credit: Hinckley Academy and John Cleveland Sixth Form Centre

Gymnast 1988

Bill Bate (b.1962)

Oil on canvas

H 122 x W 91 cm

Hinckley Academy and John Cleveland Sixth Form Centre

Sir John Barbirolli (1899–1970)
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: Royal Academy of Music

Sir John Barbirolli (1899–1970) 1975

Byron Howard (b.1947)

Fibre glass & steel

H 61 x W 60.9 x D 45.7 cm

Royal Academy of Music

Mary Jane Seacole, née Grant
Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

Mary Jane Seacole, née Grant 1869

Albert Charles Challen (1847–1881)

Oil on panel

H 24 x W 18 cm

National Portrait Gallery, London

There's Joy in Remembrance (Portrait of a Lady at Her Desk)
Photo credit: Burton Art Gallery and Museum

There's Joy in Remembrance (Portrait of a Lady at Her Desk)

Walter Dendy Sadler (1854–1923)

Oil on canvas

H 56.5 x W 41 cm

Burton Art Gallery and Museum

African Dancer
© the artist. Photo credit: Cardiff Council

African Dancer

Elga Rabe (b.1949)

Acrylic on canvas

H 88.5 x W 118 cm

Cardiff Council

Joie de vivre
© the copyright holder. Photo credit: East Dunbartonshire Council

Joie de vivre

Arthur R. Griffith (1904–1992)

Oil on canvas

H 75.5 x W 101.5 cm

East Dunbartonshire Council

A Birthday Bouquet
© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Royal Birmingham Society of Artists

A Birthday Bouquet c.1995

Joy Honigsberger (b.1928)

Acrylic on paper

H 55 x W 42 cm

Royal Birmingham Society of Artists