Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here
Suzanne Lacy is a pioneer of socially engaged art and public practice, promoting dialogue and collaborations with communities — artists, activists, organisations, schools — throughout her prolific career. Since the 1970s, she has used community organising strategies and media interventions to galvanise discussions about pressing social issues including feminism, violence against women, racism, immigration, and labour rights. These projects often culminate in large-scale, highly choreographed performances that bring together diverse groups of participants to share their stories.
Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here is the first full retrospective of the Los Angeles–based artist. At the Whitworth visitors can explore Lacy’s entire career, from her earliest feminist work to her latest immersive video installations. This includes an in-depth focus on The Oakland Projects (1991–2001), a series on youth empowerment, media education, and policy, which will be revisited through a project working with local Manchester youth and The Circle and the Square, 2017, an installation bringing together the traditions of Shape Note singing and Dhikr chanting as part of an exploration of the effects of the demise of the textile industry in Pendle, Lancashire on local communities.
27 March – 23 August 2020
Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here is also on show at Manchester Art Gallery (27 March – 3 August 2020). It was co-organised by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), San Francisco.
At the Whitworth, Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here will include the institutional premiere of Across and In-Between in association with 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, which co-commissioned the artwork with Belfast International Arts Festival, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Government of Ireland through the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Reconciliation Fund).
The Circle and the Square was commissioned by Super Slow Way and realised with local organisations in Lancashire: In-Situ, The Free Spiritual Centre, Building Bridges Pendle and Brierfield Action in the Community.
Image: Suzanne Lacy, The Circle and the Square, 2017 (production still); filmed performance, Brierfield Mill, Brierfield, Lancashire; courtesy Suzanne Lacy; photo: Chris Payne