We Are Illuminated
1 May – 26 July 2015
Fairs, carnivals and pageants, theatres and cinemas, the travelling bio-scopes of Pat Collins and the famed Walsall illuminations; an exploration of the Borough of Walsall at leisure and in celebration…
Over the past 12 months, West Midlands based artist Siân Macfarlane has immersed herself in the history of Walsall at leisure and in celebration from the 1800s to the present day. The culmination of Siân’s research is a multi-layered film; rich in references to the variety of pastimes enjoyed and experienced by residents of the Borough across the ages.
Central to the film is the 1951 script, ‘The Pageant of Walsall’, written by Charles Bardell. The play charts poignant events and characters from Walsall’s history, from its origins as Wealshall in AD 916 to 1900. First performed in the Town Hall as the finale to Walsall’s Festival of Britain celebrations, extracts from the play are re-enacted by local students, with tableaux recalling stories of Margaret Paynell, Sister Dora and the Bayard Colts.
Rarely seen artefacts and memorabilia accompany the film. Audiences are invited to reminisce, be enlightened and become illuminated.
Image credit: Siân Macfarlane, We Are Illuminated (film still), 2014-15, HD video, Courtesy of the artist.