This landmark temporary exhibition explored how artists have responded to the brutatily of war and the desire for peace and reconciliation. The main exhibition took place in the Herbert’s primary gallery, complemented by two linked displays/events in the Studio – a residency by artists Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillips and a film installation by the artists Jane and Louise Wilson.

Bringing together artworks from the Herbert’s collection with loan items from a range of other museums and private lenders, the exhibition was the culmination of a five year Collecting Cultures project in which the Herbert and Wolverhampton Art Gallery worked in partnership to collect artworks dealing with conflict, peace and reconciliation. On show were historical works alongside contemporary works by Banksy, kennardphillipps, Peter Howson, War Boutique and John Keane.

The project set out to produce an exhibition of modern and contemporary art significance which would be inclusive and responsive to the needs of visitors, as well as inspiring formal and informal learning opportunities for outreach. It provided the museum with the opportunity to appeal to different audiences as well as reflecting the importance to Coventry of the theme of peace and reconciliation.

The design of the exhibition, by Blind Mice Design, was creative and appealing with colourful large scale graphics which provided a sense of dynamism without detracting from the artworks themselves.

Selina Goodfellow of Blind Mice Design, worked with the Herbert on the design and layout of the exhibition as well as the marketing. “Caught in the Crossfire was made up of such diverse elements, from dance and paintings to sculpture and photography, which required a clearly thought-out approach. As well as working on the identity of the exhibition, we also designed it, using impactful but simple graphics to divide up the space.

“We are very proud of the final result. It was a highly effective design which reflected the exhibition content but didn’t overwhelm it. We always enjoy working collaboratively with the Herbert, and it is such a pleasure to have been Highly Commended for this exhibition.”

The external curator, Nicola Gauld, worked with the Herbert’s in-house team to research and develop the exhibition interpretation, and brought a fresh perspective to the project. The close working relationship developed with Peter Kennard and his collaborator Cat Picton Phillipps resulted in a section of the gallery being given over to their work, including largescale images of the Iraq War which had a tremendous impact on the space.

The response to exhibition was overwhelmingly positive, with visitors finding it both moving and inspiring. Deeper levels of engagement with the subject matter were evidenced by the time that visitors spent in the exhibition and the exhibition was praised for its relevance and significance.

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