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Historically public art collections have been presented in a certain way. White-washed by a straight, ableist, middle-class, male gaze. The presentation a product of bias across generations of collectors, donors, curators and directors. People were marginalised; their stories were suppressed and hidden in plain sight. This has led to public collections seemingly not representing all facets of contemporary society. In order to address this issue, and better reflect the people of Walsall today, over the next three years a commitment has been made to ensure more diverse narratives are embedded into our Collections displays. To begin this initiative, Here&Queer has been co-produced with members of the LGBTQ+ community. Community members have had the opportunity to take ownership of the Collections and the stories they tell, re-interpreting works from a queer perspective, and increasing the visibility of queer lives. A steering group explored both the Garman Ryan Collection permanent displays on Floors 1&2, and also delved into our Collections Store and found works they connected with in our Permanent Collection. They have created a trail throughout the collections galleries and dedicated temporary exhibition as part of the project. It aims to show there is no one definitive queer experience, just as there is no one straight experience, we are all complex and multi-faceted human beings and we hope that the displays give the opportunity for people to gain new insights into works in our Collections and that visitors can also begin to find connections with works on an individual personal level. While we can’t ever claim to fully represent everyone, we endeavour for our Collections to connect with as wide a range of experiences as possible and to permanently embed visible change and representation into the displays, allowing different communities to feel a sense of ownership, of belonging, of being seen and being celebrated.

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Exhibition (temporary)

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The New Art Gallery Walsall

Gallery Square, Walsall, West Midlands WS2 8LG England

01922 654400

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