Raw Material- Liz Lock and Mishka Henner.
As a finale to the Place, Space and Identity project in Stoke on Trent, the AirSpace Gallery hosted an exhibition of documentary photographs of the events that took place, the people that were in involved and a recording of thoughts of Stoke on Trent throughout the project. The artists were Liz Lock and Mishka Henner, commissioned as part of the Place, Space and Identity project.
From first walking past the AirSpace window you felt the sombre atmosphere that would greet you inside the gallery. Derelict buildings and melancholy portraits are an all too familiar sight in the city during the regeneration. People looking to the past to what the city has lost and is still losing; but you do not have to look to closely to see that hidden amongst the sombre imagery are some light hearted photographs that hint towards the future and a brighter city. Artists dressed in wrestling costumes remind us of what the people of Stoke on Trent are good at and what they enjoy and the cast of The Wizard of Oz in costume tells of the numerous theatres the city boasts.
Although the overriding reputation of Stoke on Trent says that we are 10 years behind other cities, and we cannot help but feel that the regeneration seems to be taking away our history, we are still an existing city. The people of Stoke on Trent are living here and moving forward, glimpses of light speckle the city, from a football team moving up to the premier league to an art gallery bringing in international contemporary artists. Perhaps it is time that Stoke on Trent ceases looking back to what we have been and starts looking forward to what we can be.