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Sharing Our Histories

Posted May 17, 2021 12:00 am by Laura Page under Exhibition

Sharing Our Histories presents a selection of objects and artworks from Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s collection to begin exploring how the legacy of Empire has shaped the world around us and our histories.

17 May 2021 - 5 December 2021

Objects evoke different feelings and have different meanings depending on the viewer’s background and perspective. Items in gallery and museum collections are often  interpreted by the curator, telling only one side of the story. Sharing Our Histories aims to move away from this approach by presenting short, factual labels and at the same time inviting you as visitors to offer your own insights and responses to the items on display. It’s a place to write your own labels and tell your own stories. We hope the items on show will open-up conversations. The exhibition includes ornamental objects that reflect how growing consumerism of the colonial era led to the exploitation of many people under colonial rule. Along with these are items that reveal the role of Black Country industries in the colonial economy. We have also displayed items brought back from countries that were once colonies of the British Empire, reflecting Britain’s curiosity with ‘otherness’ during that era. Similar objects are also exhibited in our Victorian Galleries alongside. We encourage you to look at these displays and question the imperial histories behind them that are often brushed aside.

Sharing Our Histories also presents a small number of works from our collection of contemporary artworks by Black and Asian artists. These begin to examine personal identity in the twenty-first century, shaped by the legacies of Empire.

This display is the beginning of a wider plan of development for the Gallery to ensure our exhibitions are relevant, inclusive and reflect our multi-cultural city. It is intended to start a crucial conversation about the legacy of Empire and we hope visitors share their own histories and thoughts as part of the display. The display has been shaped by the gallery’s on-going collaboration with a working group formed of members of City of Wolverhampton Council’s Race, Religion and Belief Forum.


Disclaimer: Sensitive material presented containing themes of violence and racial injustice. We believe it is important to acknowledge and understand the stories explored in this display.


Wolverhampton Art Gallery

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Lichfield St
West Midlands