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Summer exhibitions to examine migration, society and the environment

We're excited to present two new exhibitions this summer as part of a season examining current issues in society and potential solutions.

Set in an imaginary future, Shezad Dawood's epic film series Leviathan explores the connection between mass migration and marine environments, showing a world heavily affected by climate change. Grace Ndiritu returns to Bluecoat with her new exhibition The Ark which showcases the creative output from a live art project, suggesting ways in which we can live, work and communicate better with one another. 

Accompanying these two exhibitions will be Rise Up!, a gallery offering children and young people a space to creatively express their vision of the future.

Shezad Dawood: Leviathan

Sat 6 Jul - Sun 13 Oct 

In its most complete presentation to date, Shezad Dawood’s film series Leviathan will be exhibited alongside a number of textiles and neon works, together with a new virtual reality piece.

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. 

Dawood intends Leviathan to eventually consist of ten film chapters’ and we're excited to exhibit the first five in the series, including the UK premiere of chapters four and five.

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.

In her exhibition here 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, acting 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 Ark invites 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.


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