“There's No Place Like Home” – One of the UK most important living artists to be showcased in the county of his birth for the first time in decades.
Conrad Atkinson is hailed as one the UKs most influential political artists with a career that has spanned over 70 years since his first exhibition in the Cleator Moor town village hall when he was just 9. Born in Copeland in 1940, Atkinson’s work has often focused on the injustices surrounding Cumbria and the West Coast’s working class communities, but those communities rarely have a chance to experience this world class work first hand.
This summer will see Atkinson’s first major exhibition in Cumbria for the past 25 years in a series of events entitled ‘There’s No Place like Home’. Work will be exhibited in Egremont, Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal, and beyond, starting in May and running until September. There will also be some surprise shows and special events, with galleries outside of Cumbria also taking part in the celebration by bringing out for public viewing works by Atkinson in their collections.
Atkinson's work has influenced many famous contemporary artists, including Tim Rollins, Group Material, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger and Alfredo Jaar. Within the county, ‘There’s No Place like Home’ Curator, Jeremy Latimer, says of his own artistic practice that with Atkinson, he could make sense of his identity as an artist and a cumbrian; deeply rooted locally but also connected to an international art community that often seemed like a very different world. This project celebrates and extends this legacy by supporting emerging artists at different stages of their career to make new work responding to Atkinson’s practice and the local area.
The Florence Art Centre in Egremont will host 3 artists in residence, founded after the 2008 closure of the Iron Ore Mine where Atkinson’s father worked. Jenni Payne, Chair of the Board at Florence Arts Centre, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the residencies and an exhibition to celebrate Conrad Atkinson, who has his roots firmly planted in West Cumbria. To have an artist of his stature and significance as our patron makes us very proud and we recognise his ambition and accomplishments in challenging the world to become a better place”.