She has opened an art gallery in a Maryhill high-rise. But artist Angharad Llewis’ inspiration came from a fish shop in the Renfrewshire countryside.
The 45-year-old designer’s lockdown walks led to her throwing open a bizarre installation in a new art space in the unlikely location of a tower block in the north-west of Glasgow.
The Kitchen Sink Gallery, which opened last week, is currently playing host to Welsh-Mancunian Lewis’ own exhibition, Messages.
The show, an interactive exhibit featuring piles of fish and lines of gossip plastered on the walls, was inspired by a visit to a fishmonger.
She said: “It’s called Messages because I love that Scottish thing about ‘Going for the messages’. It’s not just about going for the shopping, it’s also about going for the chat.
“I moved from Glasgow to Quarrier’s Village during lockdown, and I did a lot of walking. I was in the local fishmonger’s a lot and it made me think about the value of independent shops and about small communities that spring up around them.
“It wasn’t just about what I could buy, it was about getting the local chat, which is an easy way to feel part of the community.”
The gallery’s first show has seen the space transformed into a fishmonger’s, with an actor playing the shopkeeper, interacting with punters.
The morsels of gossip on the walls are lifted from classic TV series from the ’80s and ’90s, such as Dallas and Keeping Up Appearances.
Llewis said: “I want people to think about how we all have the same stuff going on, we all have our troubles. People are people regardless. We’ve all got stuff going on. I want folk to have a bit of fun and maybe be nicer to each other, because we’ve all got our own dramas. It’s really straightforward, it doesn’t need anyone to translate it.”
The artist chose the unusual location for her new gallery, because she wants art to be less exclusive.
Having grown up in Timperley, Greater Manchester, her practice is inspired by Mancunian acts like Happy Mondays, and Frank Sidebottom, as well as legendary Factory Records boss Tony Wilson and Alan Partridge actor Steve Coogan.
Other artists have been lined up to exhibit shows in the Torridon Court block.
Llewis’ show, which runs until the end of the week, will be followed in the coming weeks by an installation by Glasgow artist Brian McFie who will turn the space into an ophthalmologist’s lab.
Llewis said: “I didn’t grow up with the idea that culture was for other people. So, for me, it’s not about why there’s an art gallery in a tower block in Maryhill, it’s why wouldn’t there be.
“I grew up in an environment where it was good to make things up as you go along. And we just did things we wanted to do.”
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