Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery acquire group of works by Conrad Atkinson

With our support, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery have been able to further strengthen their contemporary art collections.

The works comprise Wordsworth’s Suit and Socks, 2003, two Ceramic Landmines,1996 and a photo collage Sellafield Happens… no danger to the public,1990.

Conrad Atkinson is noted for his unflinching and often provocative approach to social and political themes. He has a reputation as an activist, and this has always informed his work, making it a good fit for Nottingham Castle, which has its own history of protest and rebellion. His works will have many applications within temporary displays both at Nottingham Castle and its sister site Newstead Abbey, home to another radical thinker, the great Romantic poet George Gordon, the sixth Lord Byron (1788-1824).

For each piece, Atkinson selects the materials best suited to express his ideas at a particular time and so the works include ceramics, photography, collage and textiles. This provides an overview of his artistic practice over several decades, and in particular, demonstrates his ideas about nature and landscape.

Atkinson was born in Cleator Moor, a small mining village on the west coast of Cumbria, which was a centre for the mining of coal and iron ore. This was, to Atkinson, a world away from the Lake District of popular imagination, known for its connection with the Romantic poets and landscape artists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Since the late 1960s, Atkinson’s art has been concerned, therefore, with the problems and hardships experienced by the people of Cleator Moor, thwarted by unemployment, depopulation and illnesses arising from working in local industries such as the iron ore mines.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said: 'We are very grateful to Art Fund, along with the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and to the generous donations from visitors to the Castle which have made it possible for us to purchase these important works of art. These acquisitions will enhance our collections and allow us to explore contemporary rebellious acts and activities that have taken place.'

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