by Oldham Gallery
October 2013 – March 2014
This season we have an extensive programme for your enjoyment including three new exhibitions and an exciting Community Gallery programme.
As well as our new permanent gallery, Oldham Stories: Encounters with our Collections, we also welcome exhibitions from Albert Adams one of South Africa’s greatest artists, displays from our collections about marine life and fish and an exciting new body of work from Leeds-based artist Jack Chesterman.
The ever-popular Oldham Open exhibition is also back.
We also hold events, courses, talks and concerts as well as popular schools workshops and family activities.
We have more exhibitions, activities and events for families this season, so look out for the Family Friendly logo on exhibitions and events that are particularly suitable for families with young children.
Gallery Oldham, Cultural Quarter, Greaves Street, Oldham OL1 1AL. Gallery Oldham is part of the Library and Lifelong Learning building.
‘Oldham Stories: Encounters with our collections’
In response to feedback from our visitors we launch a new permanent exhibition packed full of Oldham stories. This is your chance to see some of our most treasured artefacts alongside items that might just surprise you. We bring together objects from our Natural History, Social History and Art collections to look again at Oldham’s past and present. We tell the stories of a range of local figures such as suffragette Annie Kenney, the pioneering natural history collector James Nield and popular artist Helen Bradley. Oldham Stories features the breadth of our extensive collections. From birds and shells to archaeology and embroidered samplers, every object has a tale to tell. Artwork on show includes important British paintings from the Charles Lees Collection as well as paintings by artists that illustrate local scenes and characters.
The Oldham Open (28 September – 16 November)
The ever-popular Oldham Open exhibition is back! The show is held every two years and is a celebration of creativity, showcasing work by artists living or working in the borough of Oldham. The exhibition promises to be a visual feast and always includes work in a diverse range of media. From drawing, painting and photography to ceramics, jewellery and sculpture, the exhibition features a wide range of artists with different interests expressed through their work. The exhibition is also a great opportunity for visitors to view and buy a range of artworks by local artists
Jack Chesterman Boat Stories (23 November – 29 March)
Leeds-based Jack Chesterman’s monumental painted canvases and sculptures examine themes of journeying, history and loss. He has been depicting boats and
ships for many years exploring their colour, structure and material, as well as the stories they contain. More recently he has created a series of large scale boat sculptures that lie upturned on plinths like tombs. These sculptures are extraordinary visual objects but are also vessels for stories that span 500 years of history, from El Gran Griffon, a supply ship in the Spanish Armada, to the battleships of the Second World War.
Albert Adams (30 November – 19 April)
Albert Adams (1929-2006) was one of the greatest artists to emerge from South Africa in the 20th century. His work explored not only the specific trauma of Apartheid, but broader issues of abuse of power, justice, and personal expression through art. This show is on loan from the University of Salford who received a gift of over 70 works following Adams’ death. In addition to paintings, drawings and prints the exhibition includes objects from his collection, including Indian embroidered textiles and wood carvings from Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Gone Fishing! (14 December – 14 June)
You’ll be amazed by how many fishy objects we have in our collection! This exhibition explores marine and freshwater environments and the fish that live in them. It includes landscape paintings portraying rivers and maritime scenes, and images of people fishing, by artists such as William Stott, John Constable and
local painter John Houghton Hague. Objects from our exceptional Natural History collection take centre stage, with ancient fossil fish, biologically accurate fish models and trophy mounts donated by Oldham Central Angling Club on display. There are some unexpected objects too. As Oldham was the birthplace of fish and chips we are including our splendid 1930s Mallinson’s fish and chip range, and Arthur Dooley’s bronze fish commemorating a strike at the Fisher Bendix factory in 1972.
Many objects are displayed for the first time.
Last chance to see…
‘Spindleopolis! When Cotton was King (Until November 30)
In 1913 Oldham boasted more cotton spindles than any other town in the world and the town brimmed with confidence and certainty about its future. A century on, Spindleopolis revisits this time of economic boom using contemporary paintings,
photographs and objects to explore the lives of ordinary Oldhamers. Cotton helped to create a prosperous working class whose cash fuelled a market for seaside holidays, football, music hall and fish and chips. The display uses the cartoons and words of local man Sam Fitton to recreate this lost world. This dialect writer and entertainer chronicled the lives of the working men and women of the town in the pages of the Cotton Factory Times, the operatives’ own weekly newspaper). This exhibition is curated by historians Alan Fowler and Terry Wyke and includes objects from Gallery Oldham’s collections alongside loans from various North West institutions.
The Community Gallery features work by groups or individuals who live or work in Oldham, or anyone whose subject matter relates to Oldham. Do you have an exhibition proposal? Please contact Joy Thorpe on 0161 770 4663 or email
Positive Light (24 August – 19 October)
Take another look at Oldham through the lens of photographer Mina Ahmed. Taken at night, these images show the beauty, vibrancy and colour of our town, encouraging us to explore a little further and think a little deeper.
Fifty Years of Oldham Symphony Orchestra (26 October – 4 January 2014)
Oldham’s amateur orchestra has been performing since 1863. This exhibition celebrates their many performers and performances.
The Language of Silk (11 January – 8 March)
In partnership with the Workers Educational Association, Gallery Oldham has provided a series of arts based classes to widen the learning opportunities available to local ESOL students. This exhibition of silk paintings created by the learners is a fantastic showcase of creativity and imagination.
We’ll show you ours…(15 March – 10 May)
Hidden in Gallery Oldham is a talented community of artists – within our staff! Take a look at this exhibition including photography, drawing, textiles, prints, paintings and sculpture and find out what we get up to in our time off.
The North West and the Spanish Civil War 1936 – 1939 (5 October – 4 November)
We are delighted to host this touring exhibition as part of Oldham’s celebration of Local Democracy Week. Produced by the International Brigade Memorials Trust, it includes the stories of Oldham men who joined the fight against fascism in Spain.
Our monthly lunchtime talks are a great way to find out more about exhibitions. Talks are free, informal and last around 30 minutes with time for discussion afterwards. There is no need to book.
Children and Families
Children must be accompanied by an adult for all family activities.
Holiday fun at Gallery Oldham Free family activities take place during all school holidays. These are linked to our exhibitions so please take a look around the galleries before you come along. Face painting and craft activities at each session. Most suitable for ages 4–10 years.
Free – no need to book, just drop in from 1– 4pm.