The Lives of Artists – Babak Ganjei: Thanks For Having Me at the Bluecoat

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
Babak Ganjei
Babak Ganjei

Babak Ganjei: Thanks For Having Me at Bluecoat, City Centre Until 14 April 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

This winter Bluecoat opens The Lives of artists, an exciting new season of four exhibitions and related events, residencies and commissions. Babak Ganjei: Thanks for having me is one of the two shows that open the season.

The Lives of Artists considers what we can learn about ourselves when we listen to the testimony, histories and stories of artists reflecting on their lives and practices. It puts the existence and work of artists into a larger context and demystifies the lingering idea of artists creating in their own individual bubbles, away from society.

Thanks for Having Me presents scenes from Babak Ganjei’s life and career. He began selling his work at market stalls, which he has restaged for the exhibition – it became a method of sharing his work with the world that he no longer participates in but can’t quite let go of. The artist sees himself as operating on the fringes of the art world and is never quite settled, uncertain of where he belongs. 

Ganjei is an artist, writer, musician and filmmaker and his mediums of choice are often simple and direct – posters with painted slogans on a white background are then often made into mirrors, t-shirts or other merchandise. With a very recognisable tone of dark, deadpan humour, the artist communicates the reality of life as an artist (this is also perfectly illustrated in his 2023 film Freelancer). His work can be described as stemming from inner monologue that has now physically spilled onto any imaginable surface.

Daily life is Ganjei’s greatest inspiration, from a walk around a supermarket to having debt. His work is often a self-deprecating commentary on the day-to-day as a creative professional. In 2014 he sold a set of twigs from his neighbourhood on eBay for £62 and has turned books by Jeremy Clarkson, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump into works of blackout poetry.

It isn’t very often that we can enjoy humour in the context of art (something the Bluecoat has been leaning into recently); it’s a field that is often guilty of taking itself just a little bit too seriously. For this reason alone Thanks for having me is sure to delight audiences with its playful offerings and witty insights into the artist’s life.

Babak Ganjei: Thanks For Having Me at Bluecoat, City Centre Until 14 April 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

What's on at Bluecoat

Where to go near The Lives of Artists – Babak Ganjei: Thanks For Having Me at the Bluecoat

Photo of the shop's front window
City Centre
Bluecoat Display Centre

The Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool is a contemporary craft shop – and it’s been doing its thing for over 50 years – despite funding cuts and recessions.

Probe Records record shop in Liverpool
City Centre
Probe Records

For more than 40 years, Probe Records has stocked an immense selection of music and provided a hangout for vinyl addicts and musicians alike.

Mamasan Liverpool
City Centre
Mamasan Liverpool

Mamasan is a new three-floor South East Asian inspired restaurant and bar based in Liverpool One. It also has exciting cook-at-home options.

City Centre
Epstein Theatre

The Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, formerly known as the Neptune Theatre, was renamed in honour of The Beatles’ Manager Brian Epstein.


Bacino pizza and cicchetti bring a slice of Naples cuisine to Liverpool. With tasty dishes and lots of drinks options.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.