The Tetley, Leeds: 7 October 2015 – 10 January 2016
The Feast Wagon
Curated by Kerry Harker, Zoë Sawyer and Irfan Shah
Artists: Simeon Barclay, Delaine Le Bas, Lubaina Himid and Susan Walsh
In a series of new commissions, the exhibition explores the history of spectacular touring shows and the influence of cultural icons in the formation of personal and collective identity. Ideas of exchange, circulation and migration are considered through large-scale sculptural installations, painting, collage, video and textile works, alongside displays of archive material relating to John Robinson Whitley and an off-site billboard project which runs between the north and south of the city.
Across The Tetley’s First Floor Galleries, The Feast Wagon looks at identity and nationhood against a backdrop of today’s globalised contemporary art scene, with its international biennales and large-scale touring exhibitions such as the British Art Show.
The exhibition includes work developed for the exhibition by artists Simeon Barclay, Delaine Le Bas, Lubaina Himid and Susan Walsh in response to research by Leeds-based researcher and writer Irfan Shah. Shah has extensively researched Louis Le Prince, the moving image pioneer and his brother-in-law, the Yorkshire industrialist John Robinson Whitley.
Whitley was a local manufacturer based in premises just a stone’s throw from The Tetley, who styled himself as an ‘industrial PT Barnum’. He was responsible for bringing Buffalo Bill’s iconic ‘Wild West Show’ to England in 1887, and staging a series of large-scale national exhibitions on a patch of London wasteland that later became the international exhibition centre, Earl’s Court.
The exhibition is accompanied by a curated selection of reading material within The Tetley’s Resource Space and a series of workshops and events. A publication with contributions from the show’s co-curators and exhibiting artists will be published during the exhibition.
Tuesday 27 October 2015, 11am-3pm
Family Art Workshops: Create a collaborative sculpture
Drawing inspiration from The Feast Wagon, create a collaborative paper sculpture with beads, thread, glitter and felt to reflect your personality. Free, drop in anytime.
Thursday 12 November 2015, 6-8pm
Artists in Conversation
Join exhibiting artists and co-curators for a discussion unpacking themes of the project and the newly commissioned art works within in. Tickets are £5/ £4 for members including a glass of wine. Booking required through Eventbrite here.
Thursday 3 December 2015, 6-8pm
Cowboys and Yorkshiremen: Illustrated Talk by Irfan Shah
A fascinating insight into John Robinson Whitley, the Leeds entrepreneur who brought Buffalo Bill and his ‘Wild West Show’ to Britain for the first time in 1887.
Tickets are £5/ £4 for members including a glass of wine. Booking required.
Follow the conversation using #TheFeastWagon
With special thanks and credits to Leeds Libraries and Information Services, Leodis, William F. Cody Archive and Special Collections, Brotherton Library and University of Leeds