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New Bluecoat exhibition paints a moving picture

Liverpool’s Bluecoat is continuing it’s The Lives of Artists season with two new free exhibitions in its gallery spaces.

Award-winning British-Sri Lankan moving image artist Michelle Williams Gamaker’s Our Mountains Are Painted on Glass, and Dahong Hongxuan Wang’s film Role Model, will be on show at the School Lane arts venue until June 30.

Williams Gamaker’s Our Mountains Are Painted on Glass explores race, identity, her love of cinema and the power of storytelling over three gallery spaces, with the exhibition title taken from fragile set designs of 1940s Hollywood film.

Thieves, playing in the central gallery space, is a fantasy adventure based on The Thief of Baghdad with the actors Anna May Wong and Indian-born American Sabu taking the leading roles.

Above and top: Michelle Williams Gamaker's Our Mountains Are Painted on Glass exhibition

Props, costumes, photographs and sculptures from the making of the film are on show alongside a wall-hung work Dome, Exploded, created by Thieves production designer Tara White.

The Bluecoat’s first floor gallery shows Williams Gamaker’s 2021 film The Bang Straws, which focuses on one of cinema’s most notorious cases of casting discrimination.

Meanwhile Dahong Hongxuan Wong, a performance, installation and moving image artist currently based in Beijing, has played the role of Anna May Wong – Hollywood’s first Asian American star - in several of Williams Gamaker’s films.

Above: A still from Dahong Hongxuan Wong's film Role Model.

This icon of black and white silent films found her career derailed by the arrival of the ‘talkies’ in the late 1920s and the restrictive Hays Code in the 1930s which listed relations between characters of different racists among its ‘don’ts’.

Role Model, being screened in one of the Bluecoat’s galleries, follows Anna’s story in the aftermath of her rejection by Hollywood including a behind-the-scenes documentary shot on a tour of China.

The Bluecoat’s The Lives of Artists programme asks audiences what might be uncovered about ourselves when we listen to the testimony, history and stories of artists reflecting on their lives.

Our Mountains Are Made of Glass and Role Model are at the Bluecoat until June 30.



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