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Deputy Vice-Chancellor showcases artwork alongside Yoko Ono at UK’s oldest art centre anniversary exhibition


Professor Bashir Makhoul, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, is exhibiting once again at Liverpool’s Bluecoat, as the art centre beings a 300-day programme celebrating its tercentenary.

Public View’ (4 February – 23 April 2017) features work by over 100 artists who have previously exhibited at Bluecoat, many at the beginning of their career, and several now high profile artists, including John Akomfrah, Sonia Boyce, Jeremy Deller, John Latham, Mark Leckey, Imogen Stidworthy and Yoko Ono

Vice-Chancellor's Office

Birmingham City University

A wide range of work is being shown, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and video, with many pieces previously exhibited in the gallery, some re-made especially for the exhibition, and others completely new.

From Roger Fry’s seminal Post-Impressionist exhibition in 1911, to showcases of the next generation of artists like the recent ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries’, Bluecoat has developed a reputation as an important venue for new art in England’s north west.

Professor Bashir Makhoul has worked in higher education for 20 years, while still maintaining his work as an internationally recognised practicing artist.

His artwork often features his signature cardboard houses seemingly floating in air, representing unsettlement and the continuous displacement of people across borders and nations. They ultimately reference his homeland of Palestine, with the boxes depicting refugee houses and all those who have been disenfranchised by conflict.

In ‘Public View’, Professor Makhoul’s houses are gold plated, suggesting the preciousness of home.

Professor Makhoul has exhibited his art at the 2013 Venice Biennale, Hermitage St Petersburg and at the Aichi Biennale in Japan. He exhibited at Bluecoat early in his career in 1993 with ‘Al-Hijara’, an installation of paintings and wallpaper, and Professor Mahhoul said he is delighted to be back:

“Like Birmingham, Liverpool is a magnet for art and culture from all around the world, and I never fail to be inspired when I visit.”

Prior to working at Birmingham City University, Professor Makhoul was Rector of the University of Southampton’s Winchester Campus and Head of School, Winchester School of Art. He was previously the founding Head of the School of Media, Art and Design and the Director of the Research Institute of Media, Art and Design, University of Bedfordshire.

Bluecoat’s anniversary programme sees 300 days of celebration, from 4 February until 30 November in 2017, comprising exhibitions, performances of music, dance and live art, literature events, commissions, a sociologist in residence, and a major heritage participation project, 'My Bluecoat'.

Bluecoat Chief Executive Mary Cloake said:

“We are delighted to be celebrating Bluecoat’s 300th anniversary in 2017, and look forward to an exciting year that showcases our achievements while also looking to our future.”

The Bluecoat building, a fine example of Queen Anne style architecture, began life as a charity school in 1717, before housing an arts community in 1907 and formally becoming an arts centre in 1927, making it the oldest of its kind in the UK.

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