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The 20th Birthday Celebrations - 26th - 30th May 1988

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Birthday cake in the form of the BlackiePeople were invited to join the 20th Birthday Party by visiting The Blackie during the day - where they could find Exhibitions, help create a communal sculpture 'Twenty-Twenty Vision', make an origami bird, shop  or relax to Poetry and Music around the Cafe.

Above Wendy & Bill Harpe, Nicky Dewison and Kevin Rowan with a Blackie shaped 20th Birthday Cake

In addition there were special events structured in the form of day long parties  Some of these required booking tickets and some did not.

The three Parties - were hosted on the 26th May by Kevin and Nicky - the 27th May by Sally and Judy and on the 29th May by Stephen and Jimmy. The people hosting the parties were also the people who had selected the performers. 

This page deals with the day-time activities in the Gallery  - to access information about the Parties Click on the links above.

The Gallery/Ground Floor

The Gallery was divided into various discrete areas, including a cafe, the exhibition areas, workshops, a place to watch films and videos, a place for performers, places where albums of photographs were displayed and a shop where people could buy Blackie items.

Long view of the Gallery showing the exhibitions and the are where books were displayedeh A shot down the Gallery from the cafe area showing the exhibitions

Above photos taken from the cafe area showing the vaious exhibitions. Below photo taken showing the cafe area

photo taken towards the cafe area

The ground floor provided a convival hub.  It was a place where people had a chance to do things, a place to watch films and videos, to view the exhibitions,  to listen to music and poetry, to review 20 years of The Blackie and meet the arists. 

Bill Harpe and Jalal froM The Last Poets in the cafe area

Left and right below the cafe area in operation.

Left  Bill Harpe and Jalal Nuriddin (from the Last Poets) socialising. Below  in the background the Cobweb quilt created during in the Caught Up Playscheme and



The Gallery also hosted the Chess Tournament which was part of Stephen's & Jimmy's Party.


One of the Guo Brothers in the cafe playing




Left one of the Guo Brothers playing in the cafe


The Exhibitions

The Exhibitions consisted of work created by the Blackie - works normally exhibited under the title 'The Games Of Art'  :  works commisioned by the Blackie and works from invited artists (local, national and international).

There were also books of photographs of 20 years of Blackie activities  and a poster rack which displayed a range of works created by young people.

Leroy Agatha and friend looking at the booksThe poster rack in use

Above  Leroy Agatha and friend looking at the photo albums and the poster rack in use.

In addition to works in the Gallery, Blackie works were also displayed in the down stairs Studio, on the stairs and in the Dome.

The Pebble box displayed in the basementThe rag mat on the staircase

Above the pebble box displayed in the basement and the rag mat on the staircase

The Blackie contribution's included:-  

'My Room'  : created during Sister To Shakespeare

Eat Your Art Out  : works created during the exhibition of  same name held at the Bede Gallery, Jarrow

The Rembrandt Game : works created at the Blackie during staff games and works created during the show of the same name held at the Walker Art Gallery  

The Rainbows : the photographs of 'Inner City Rainbows', and the RainThe Rainbow Exhibitsbow Table Mats.

Right the Rainbow Exhibits

Socialising the Bird Works and In the backgroundBirds and Flower Works : works created during staff games and in various playschemes around the city.

Above people socialising with Eat Your Art Out and The Bird and Flower Works in the background

Photgraphic works on display in the GalleryOther works created during staff games and playschemes including , 'Doors and Gates';  'Reflections';  'Collages' (all of these are photgraphic works); and 'Streets and Parks'



Above the photgraphic work on display

The Blackie Poster Collage

and a  Collage of Blackie Posters

Left  a photo showing the Blackie Poster Collage, and at the far end the Shop.


Commisioned Exhibitions:-

People viewing Vanley Burke's Positive Portraits

Positive Portraits :  by the photographer Vanley Burke

Thou Shalt Knot : pastels created by Robert Jackson during the Thou Shalt Knot playscheme and showing the playscheme in operations.

Left people viewing Vanley Burke's Positive Portraits

Invited Artists :-

Three works from John Latham 

One of John Latham's works John Latham workThe second of John Latham's works

Above John Latham's works on display

A panel by Judy Chicago from The Birth Project plus associated texts.

Below Judy Chicagos work.

Margaret Seagroat view the text whihc accompanied Judy Chicago's work Judy Chicago's work with associated text.

There were also works by Andrea Foulkes, Jane Schaver and John O' Leary and others whose names are lost.

Wooden heads on display

The Music

At the side of the cafe area there was a small stage and this was used  by performers  - mainly musicians - but also poets.

 The Guo Brothers on performing in the cafe area The Guo Brothers performing with the cafe in the backgroundThe Guo Brothers perrfoming with their audienceThe audience in the cafe watching the performance

Above photos of the Guo Brothers performing and the audience. Below Cathy & Chris Ormston  playing Northumbrian Music

Cathy and Chris Ormston playin Northumbrian Music by the Cafe

The  Poetry

Windows ( poetry organisation run by Dave Ward and Dave Calder) was resident in the Blackie during the 20th Birthday.  On Saturday May 28th  Windows provided the Menu for the cafe.  So you could choose to write poetry or have it read to you.   

Things To do

20:20 Vision

20:20 Vision was a communal sculpture using a box identical to the box which housed My Room. 

People were provided with huge of everyday objects ranging from batteries to tea bags.  In all there were some 110 different items and they were all there in multiples.  There is no record as to how the workshop operated however given the Blackie's history it is unlikely that people were simply free to choose.  There was probably some game of chance.

The 20 : 20 Vision AreaThe 20-20 Vision area20-20 Vision in operationA 20:20 Vision work being made from strawsThe finished 20:20 work ready to be placed in the box

Above the 20 : 20 Vision area, the workshop in operation and someone making a work for the communal sculpture. 

1000 Paper  Birds Bring Eternal Good Luck

A work where peopel were invited to make origami birds which were then suspended in the Gallery

Making the 100 birds workshop 1000 birds bring eternal good luck

Above and below the 1000 Birds workshop in operation

The 1000 Bird workshop in operationThe 1000 Bird Workshop in operation

The Birds suspended in the middle of the Gallery


Left  the 1000  Birds work suspended in the middle of the Gallery - and JJ with Dave Ward looking at the books which contain information on Blackie activities


Us Now and How We Were

This work consisted of photos of Blackie people (workers, volunteers and young people) mounted on a wall headed How We Were.  People who visited were invited to find themselves in the collage and then to have a polaroid picture taken.   This was added to a wall headed How We Are Now. We did add to the How We Were Collage during the event as people came and demanded to have their photo on the wall.

Creating the How We Were CollageAdding to the collage during the showYes that's meSam Sloan trying to find himself in the collage

Above the How We Were Collage being created, and visitors  viewing the collages.

Videos and Films

People were able to view videos and films made by the Blackie and films about The Blackie.

The Film and Video room next to Parks and StreetsThe video aea being set up

Young peopple in the video area



Above the Film and Video room (next to Parks and Streets) and the video area being set up. Left and young people getting ready to watch videos.


There was also a seperate area where we showed the animated films Showing anuimated films and the associated art workmade by the Blackie "Three Feary Tales" and "Money Can''t Buy You" plus some of the artwork

Right the animated film area

The Creche

As usual there was a Creche run in the office - which is on the same floor as the gallery.

The CrecheThe Creche in operation

Above the Creche being set up and in operation


The Team  The 20th Birthday was created by Bill Harpe, Sally Morris and Judy Bates (now Gough) assisted by Nicky Dewison, Anne Gleave, Stephen Knox, Tony Mercer, Frieda Nyahoe, Dave Rickus, Kevin Rowan, Jimmy Tagoe.

Visiting Artists and Exhibitors    Bobbs Magic Show; Pat and Hugh Brennan(puppets);  Dave Calder; Shirley Cameron; Judy Chicago; Da Bei Feng;  The Drones;  Andrea Foulkes; The Guo Brothers;  Stuart Kershaw; Surya Kumari; John Latham; The Last Poets; John Littlewood; Brendan Macormack; Lloyd Massett; Roland Miller;  John O'Leary;  Cathy and Chris Ormston; Radio Doom; Jane Schaver; Ramon Serrano; The Taylors; Tripplicate Firewoorks; Dave Ward

Thanks To:-    All the people and organisations which helped us celebrate 20 years of work by lending us anything from wine glasses to display boards.

The Anglican Cathedral; The Bronte Centre; The Central Library; Baz Easterbrook;  Harold House Youth Centre; Liverpool Bridge Club; Littlewoods; Liverpool City Council (Litter Abatement Section and Public Relations);  Liverpool Polytechnic: Medici Society Ltd.;  Merseyside Young People's Theatre; Oddbins; Triplicate; Unity Theatre