Blackpool Rocks

14 October 2019

Region: Headquarters

From Bristol, I headed north to Blackpool to see the “Blackpool Gals” and the exhibition “Representation on the Line: Unframing our Identities”, which moved from Chelsea to Blackpool a couple of months ago.  The exhibition was the result of a call to female artists, to submit work that explored the themes surrounding identity and representation.   It looks really good in Blackpool, where the gals have found a gritty, urban space similar to the one used in Chelsea (Hive, 80-82 Church St).  There really is something for everyone, showing work from seventy artists covering subjects such as self-identity, gender, sexuality, body image, culture, community and heritage.  I was thrilled to be told on arrival, that owing to popular demand (it’s the biggest photography exhibition that Blackpool has ever hosted), the exhibition has been extended for a couple of weeks.  If you want to see the show, an overnight stay is recommended, to enjoy the lights, the Oktober Beer Fest, the pier and fish & chips - why do chips always taste better at the seaside? 

And being out of season, there are plenty of B&B bargains to be had, one in particular at the Art B&B.   I popped in to meet Gareth and Michael, who were on the eve of opening to the first guests, and enjoyed a personal curator’s tour.  Every room has been decorated by a commissioned artist, and they are all very different, but linked by the theme of Blackpool.  Colourful, vibrant and terrific fun – I suspect staying at the Art B&B will be much more of an experience than just a good night’s kip.

Blackpool fascinates me.  A drive through the back streets reveals many empty properties and shows all the symptoms of a town in decline, and yet there is now funding coming into Blackpool for entertainment and the arts, so hopefully a revival is on the horizon, a revival in which the Blackpool gals will play a starring role.  Maybe there’s a walk-on part for the RPS?

The Blackpool Gals © Del Barrett. Polaroid image.  From L to R:  Kate, Libby, Dawn and Marianne.

Read more of Del's blogs here.