Bluecoat’s summer exhibitions to examine migration, society and the environment

Bluecoat, Liverpool’s Centre for the Contemporary Arts, presents two exhibitions this summer as part of a season examining current issues facing society, and their potential solutions.


You will have walked past it many times, but when was the last time you ventured into the Bluecoat?

Inside you will find the beautiful Bluecoat garden, perfect for unwinding under the summer rays, the Espresso Cafe which is famous in the city for its hearty, warming homemade foods and also a range of free exhibitions, perfect for all the family. This Summer the team bring us two brand new exhibitions which will examine migration, society and the environment.


Shezad Dawood: Leviathan

Sat 6 Jul – Sun 13 Oct

Shezad Dawood’s epic film series Leviathan comes to the gallery, alongside a number of textiles and neon works. Taking inspiration from both Thomas Hobbes’ book Leviathan and the biblical sea monster of the same name, Dawood’s Leviathan follows the migratory patterns of people between Europe and Africa, who are often making the crossing as refugees. The film explores the connection between mass migration and marine conservation, in particular how the turbulent journeys made by human migrants mirror the tumultuous ecological changes in the sea over which they travel. This timely exhibition combines the themes of marine biology, climate change, political systems and mental health, to show how human activity and marine ecologies are intertwined.

The exhibition also features a new interactive virtual reality work which explores what the future may hold for marine biology, in a world heavily affected by climate change.

Dawood intends Leviathan to eventually consist of ten film chapters’, and Bluecoat will exhibit the first five chapters in the series, making it the most complete UK presentation of the work to date. The presentation will also include the UK premiere of chapters four and five.

 The first two chapters of Leviathan premiered at Venice in conjunction with the 57th Art Biennale. The work has developed, been adapted and grown across exhibitions and screenings in Wales, Netherlands and Italy before reaching Bluecoat for this major exhibition charting Dawood’s ambitious project. The series is slated for completion in 2020.


Grace Ndiritu: The Ark 

Sat 6 Jul – Sun 13 Oct

Following exhibitions in 2010 and 2017, Grace Ndiritu returns to Bluecoat with a new exhibition drawing on her 2017 research and live art project, The Ark: Center For Interdisciplinary Experimentation which took place at Les Laboratories Aubervilliers, Paris. Ndiritu’s living experiment drew on the artist’s own experiences of living in New Age communities.

Scientists, artists, gardeners, economists, a chef and spiritual workers joined the artist for an intensive, intimate 9-day experience where they focused on radical new ways of thinking about art, science, spirituality and politics, in order to suggest possible solutions to the problems of the 21st century. To encourage creativity, vulnerability and reflection, The Ark had no audience for the first six days but went public during the final weekend with performances, film screenings, a party and academic roundtable. 

At Bluecoat, Ndiritu opens her research to the public, sharing archival materials generated from The Ark, including a publication made with the participants, alongside protest placards and animal costumes produced for a street parade. Also sharing wider research into spiritual communities, farming, permaculture and ecology, she aims to start a dialogue, suggesting we look to broader perspectives in order to resolve contemporary global issues.

Adam Smythe, Head of Programme at Bluecoat, says “The timing of these two exhibitions feels very appropriate, with stories regarding migration, climate change and our relationship with the environment very much in the news at the moment. Whilst Shezad Dawood’s Leviathan explores where we are in terms of environmental and societal problems, Grace Ndiritu’s work The Arkinvites us to offer potential solutions, and is hopeful that such problems can be overcome. We are delighted to bring these two pertinent exhibitions to the North West and look forward to sharing them with our visitors.”

Both exhibitions will open with a special launch event on Friday 5th July, from 6-9pm at Bluecoat.

For more information on what’s on at Bluecoat head to the website here.

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