Kate Bilbow, who studied BAHon) Illustration, has animated a film based on University Design Historian Dr Harriet Atkinson’s research into art on the streets in 1943.
The film, narrated by Michael Rosen, is part of an AHRC research project ‘The Materialisation of Persuasion’ by Dr Atkinson which investigates how exhibitions mounted from 1933 to 1953 in public spaces, from church halls to train stations, were designed to communicate messages of propaganda and resistance. For the film, Atkinson focuses on the For Liberty exhibition mounted in 1943 in the bombed-out John Lewis department store on London’s Oxford Street. A trailer for Art on the Streets can already be seen on Vimeo, with details of full screenings available soon.
The film explores art’s role in providing a voice, a platform and a meeting point in the midst of conflict, themes which resonate today with audiences all over the word. The 1943 exhibition For Liberty was created by the anti-fascist artists’ collective, Artists International Association, and was an audacious show aiming to demonstrate the values people were fighting for. Central to the exhibition were many artists who had recently arrived in Britain having fled the Nazi threat. The film follows some of those who took part, including Oskar Kokoschka, Peter Laszlo Peri, Betty Rea and designer F. H. K. Henrion.
Dr Atkinson said: “Art on the Streets is about creativity in the midst of conflict. It tells the story of an exhibition created on a bombsite to signal a better world after war and shows artists – many displaced from their homes – bringing hope and a clear vision”.
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