Art / Features

Bristol Best of 2016: art

By Steve Wright  Tuesday Dec 20, 2016

1. Shrouds of the Somme, College Green
November 11-18

This deeply moving installation commemorating the soldiers who fell on the first day of the Battle of the Somme visited Bristol after captivating visitors in Exeter. The display was created by Somerset artist Rob Heard, who created a figure (wrapped and bound in a hand-stitched shroud) to mark each of the 19,240 British soldiers who fell on the first day of the Somme – the worst day in British military history.
www.thesomme19240.co.uk

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2. Artspace’s 40th Anniversary, Spike Island
April 30-June 19

Photo by Spike Island Artspace

This fascinating archival display traced the history of the artists’ collective that later became Spike Island. Artspace was founded in the mid-1970s by a group of painters, sculptors and printmakers who sought out and administered affordable studio spaces for artists in Bristol. 
www.spikeisland.org.uk/events/exhibitions/artspaces-40th-anniversary/

 

3. Art from Elsewhere, Arnolfini/Bristol Museum
April 22-July 17

A major exhibition of international contemporary art, hosted jointly at Arnolfini and Bristol Museum. Video, installation, photography and sculpture, predominantly by artists from Africa, Asia and the Far East, explored themes including migration and life in conflict zones. 
www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/art-from-elsewhere-international-contemporary-art-from-uk-galleries

 

4. Upfest
July 23-25

In its eighth incarnation, Europe’s largest free street art and graffiti festival lured more than 300 artists to paint 28 venues across Bedminster and Southville over a weekend in July. This year’s roster featured artists coming from 40 different countries, from Russia to South America and beyond and including local faves Inkie, Jody, Cheba and Cheo plus returning artists Sokar Uno, Dan Kitchener, Dale Grimshaw, Louis Masia and Irony. The festival also spread its reach, colonising Ashton’s Red Point Climbing Centre and partnering with The Other Art Fair at Arnolfini over the festival weekend.
www.upfest.co.uk/page/upfest-festival

 

5. Bristol Biennial, various venues
September 2-10

This nine-day ‘festival of art and ideas’ made a triumphant return, boasting 13 new artist commissions including exhibitions, performances, walks, talks and dinners; eight satellite projects featuring Bristol artist-led projects and partnerships; and a global pull of artists from Australia, Germany, Russia, Estonia and beyond. All of it at venues from Hengrove to Eastville.
www.bristolbiennial.org

 

Read more: Amazing photos of Upfest in new book

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