Bluecoat to host Liverpool-based artists’ exhibition programme, opening with Josie Jenkins and Kiara Mohamed

Bluecoat is delighted to launch a new programme that will support and promote the work of Liverpool City Region artists. The programme will launch with exhibitions from selected artists Josie Jenkins and Kiara Mohamed, before new opportunities for local artists are announced in the new year. 

In December, Arena Studios based artist Josie Jenkins is presenting Assembled Worlds, a collection of recent paintings that try to find order in a chaotic world. Josie said: “It is a huge privilege to exhibit at Bluecoat, following in the footsteps of so many great artists, but even more so as an artist who lives and works in Liverpool. I’m always keen to engage a local audience with my work and this is a fantastic opportunity to do that, through exhibiting in one of the city’s major public art galleries.”

January will see Kiara Mohamed’s new film The Lives We Lead (2020), which captures the everyday events of the first lockdown in 2020, against the global backdrop of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter. Kiara said: “Showing The Lives We Lead in the gallery is important to me because Bluecoat is the second oldest building in the city and by default an old colonial space. The film is a celebration of the Black and Brown lives in Liverpool but also an acknowledgement of how far we have yet to go in the UK to bring justice for the lives of Black people. The UK gets to get away with comparing themselves to America and say that we are not racist. The truth is, we are and Black Lives Matter movement is not just for the American people but across the world.”

The exhibitions come as Bluecoat renews its focus on showing work from artists living and working in the Liverpool city region, which will result in a series of exhibitions in the summer. The programme will have a fast changeover to allow for a greater number of artists to be shown. The emphasis is on existing art works made recently that haven’t been shown in a public gallery or museum before, with support at every stage in mounting their exhibition. 

Marie-Anne McQuay, Bluecoat’s Head of Programme said: At Bluecoat we bring together artists from all over the world but we need to renew our efforts to nurture local talent. Josie Jenkins and Kiara Mohamed are testament to the strength of the Liverpool arts scene and we’re delighted to be able to show new work from them. We also want to make more spontaneous opportunities and slots available as we change the dynamic of our exhibition making in the coming months and years”. 

Confirmed exhibitions include:

Josie Jenkins 
Assembled Worlds 
Saturday 05 December – Sunday 10 January 2021 

For her solo exhibition at Bluecoat, Assembled Worlds, Liverpool based artist Josie Jenkins presents a number of paintings which have been made in her studio at Arena Studios over the last three years, alongside more recent work made at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Josie Jenkins uses large scale paintings to re-imagine the world we live in. Her ‘exteriors’ borrow scenery from romantic painters like Thomas Cole, the 19th century American painter known for his epic landscape and history paintings. Jenkins pairs the foreboding grandeur of these landscapes with elements of the everyday such as plastic barrier fencing and clusters of discarded furniture. Her canvases are layered with unruly objects that disobey context and scale. In one painting, Jenkins has blown children’s building blocks to the scale of a neo-classical ruin and landed them onto a sprawling plane before a mountain range. 

Her ‘interiors’ take a similar approach to composition, creating an invented scene from borrowed objects and backdrops. Through painting, Jenkins is able to wrestle the chaotic world around her into some kind of order. She uses painting as a virtual space in which she can place things into the world, move them around, and play with scale. 

Kiara Mohamed
The Lives We Lead 
Wednesday 20 January – Sunday 21 February 2021 

Bluecoat is honoured to present a new video from Kiara Mohamed. The Lives We Lead (2020) was filmed during the first lockdown and throughout summer 2020. It captures video calls between Kiara as he catches up with Black people, contrasting what was happening in their lives against global events. It captures moments of shared humanity, exploring the way Covid-19 has impacted on our lives and the effect of the global uprising of Black Lives Matter. 

A series of photographs from the same project has also been acquired by the Art Collection of the University of Salford, having been commissioned by Open Eye Gallery, with images shown on a screen at Museum of Liverpool autumn 2020.