We The People Are The Work


This autumn a major visual arts project comes to Plymouth that explores ideas of power, protest and the public.

‘We The People Are The Work’ is presented by Plymouth Visual Arts Programming Group and curated by Simon Morrissey, director of Foreground. The project brings six internationally acclaimed artists from the UK, Canada, France and Mexico to the city to create new artworks inspired by the city’s rich heritage, its people, and their aspirations for the future.

A multi-site exhibition, ‘We The People Are The Work’ launches to coincide with the Plymouth Art Weekender on 22 September and runs until 18 November at five venues around the city: The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, the Council House, KARST, Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University and Plymouth Arts Centre. The exhibition is the fi rst major commissioning project of Horizon, a collaborative two-year programme of contemporary visual art aimed at strengthening and growing Plymouth’s dynamic arts scene.

‘We The People Are The Work’ features six high profile contemporary artists and is one of the biggest events on the city’s cultural calendar this season.

Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University

Antonio Vega Macotela and Eduardo Thomas’ (Mexico) newly commissioned film ‘Advice from a Caterpillar’ is housed in Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University. It explores notions of representation, identity and visibility and focuses on the local residents who appeared as extras in Tim Burton’s 2010 fi lm ‘Alice in Wonderland’, parts of which were shot near Plymouth.

The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art is the venue for Matt Stokes’ (UK) multi-screen film. Stokes has filmed local bands including The Bus Station Loonies, Crazy Arm, Suck My Culture and The Damerals, performing in musically significant locations across the city. These include the former Van Dike Club on Exmouth Road and the site where Woods nightclub used to be (now the Billabong store at Drake Circus).

The film poignantly explores punk’s legacy of protest and resistance, whilst charting the decline of Plymouth’s live music venues.

Plymouth Arts Centre

Printmaker Ciara Phillips’ (Canada) installation is a production space, occupying multiple galleries and social areas at Plymouth Arts Centre. Phillips, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2014, has worked collaboratively with groups of women from the city to produce printed textiles that voice their concerns about society.

Participants include Devon WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality), BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing and Printmaking students from Plymouth College of Art, local youth workers and Youth Parliament members.

The Council House

Peter Liversidge’s (UK) installation at the Council House is made up of a series of signs representing ideas from diverse individuals in the city. The signs give signifi cance to voices that often go unheard. Participants include children from Salisbury Road Primary School, members of The Beacon, North Prospect Youth Club, the Pioneers Project at Tamar View Community Resource Centre and residents of George House shelter. The signs will be distributed around the city by the public and will also be included in a bonfire burning on the Hoe on 5 November led by local school children. Liversidge will also have a temporary public artwork on the fl agpoles on the Hoe throughout October and November.


Feminist arts collective Claire Fontaine’s (France) series of illuminated text works are displayed in the KARST gallery in Stonehouse. These new works, taken from recent political debates such as Brexit and lifting quotes from Donald Trump, tackle questions of morality, agency and freedom of speech, calling on the viewer to take a stance.


A wide-ranging programme of events runs alongside ‘We The People Are The Work’ and includes talks, tours, workshops and film screenings. Curator Simon Morrissey also leads a free walking tour between the five venues on Saturday 23 September.

For full details about the artists, venues, projects and event programme visit: wethepeoplearethe.work

You can also follow the project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.