Joanne Coates | The Vasseur Baltic Artists' Award | Middle of Somewhere

11 May - 17 November 2024
10am - 6pm
Free to all

Working class artist Joanne Coates tells stories of rurality, hidden histories and inequalities relating to low income.

Joanne Coates is a working-class visual artist working in the medium of photography who lives and works across the North East of England. Her work explores rurality, hidden histories and inequalities relating to low income through photography, installations, and audio. Coates uses photography to question the concepts of power, identity, wealth, and poverty, by exploring the social histories of land, gender, and class to narrate stories that have long been forgotten – or simply never told.

Participation and working with communities are an important aspect of Coates’ work, and in 2022 she was announced the winner of the Jerwood/Photoworks award. Following this , Coates collaborated with 12 women identifying as working-class to produce the timely exhibition, The Lie of the Land. Coates produced a series of portraits that represented the individual lived experience of the women, within the rural and agricultural setting.

Over the years Coates has worked with various groups and organisations to investigate themes of class, inequalities, rurality, and community cohesion. Whilst in residence at The Maltings and in collaboration with Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) and institute for Creative Arts Practice, she developed Daughters of the Soil which explored the role of women in agriculture in Northumberland and the Scottish Boarders.

This exhibition and research will build on themes around class, gender, inequality and the rural explored previously in Daughters of the Soil and The Lie of the Land. Again, Coates will collaborate with participants to explore parallels between people and places, the exhibition will delve into questions around climate change, cost of living crisis, disparities of wealth and the impact on low-income communities.

The Vasseur Baltic Artists’ Award, is titled in memory of the late Isabel Vasseur, an admired figure who inspired a generation of curators and artists with her fearless approach to putting art in the public realm. Through the 2024 Award, Baltic Legacy Patron, Vasseur continues to support the growth of contemporary art.

Vasseur's career spanned more than thirty years, encompassing photography and experimental film, important curatorial initiatives at festivals in Glasgow, Gateshead and Edinburgh, and through her London agency, Art Office, she commissioned public art projects throughout the UK. Vasseur served on the Board of Trustees for Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2004-08) and lectured on the influential Curating Contemporary Art MA at the Royal College of Art (1993–2003).

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Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead, Tyne And Wear, NE8 3BA
01914 781810

Free to all

Opening times

Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-6pm.

Visitor information

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