Liverpool has long been known for being a deeply proud city, and Open Eye Gallery is paying tribute to this with three concurrent exhibitions that celebrate its beating heart: the people who live there. Gathered under the collective title, L – A City Through Its People, the trio of shows look back on the last 70 years of life in the Merseyside region, providing a snapshot of the changes in industry, society and leisure that have occurred.
A collaboration between local photographer Ian Clegg and writer Laura Robertson (co-founder of Liverpool’s The Double Negative), Tell It Like It Is features a series of historic images that have never been seen before after the negatives were left unprocessed for over 40 years. Each one has been brought to life not only through the developing process but also by Robertson’s words that help put them into context. The display evokes a range of emotions, from hope to melancholy, as it looks back on the changing city, and asks new questions about the way those who live there relate to it today. A series of free ‘lockdown workshops’ accompanies the exhibition, open to anyone who wishes to tell their own story of Liverpool.
Alongside, Britain’s longest-running community newspaper, Scottie Press, celebrates the approach of its 50th anniversary in February 2021 with a display drawn from its vast archives. The images have all been taken by local residents or the newspaper’s photographers and reflect Liverpool’s radical spirit, grassroots journalism, and particularly the strength and solidarity of its working-class communities.
Lastly, RED focuses on one of many Liverpublian’s proudest connections to the city: Its football team. The exhibition by photographer Emma Case – daughter of Liverpool FC’s legendary player Jimmy Case – contains highlights from The RED Archive, a community project she founded that gathers portraits, images, interviews and original memorabilia donated by lifelong Reds. Reflecting not so much on the beautiful game as the shared sense of pride, memories, nostalgia and emotions it evokes, the display should appeal to football and non-football fans alike.
A city is made first and foremost of those that call it home. L – A City Through Its People champions this view, telling the story of Liverpool’s recent history through the perspectives of those that know it best.