Gallery Oldham has three large exhibition spaces plus a community gallery.
We take an innovative and unique approach to exhibition programming, bringing together what were once separate museum and gallery services.
Our programming incorporates Oldham’s extensive art, social and natural history collections alongside touring work, newly commissioned and contemporary art, international art and work produced with local communities.
In addition we have permanent displays around the building.
Gallery 1 – Oldham Stories
Oldham Stories exhibition, features selected objects from our extensive collections to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local communities. From birds and animals to banners and artwork, every object has a fascinating tale to tell. Our Collector’s Case features an array of caps, shirts and memorabilia from Oldham Rugby Football League. The display also highlights local figures such as suffragette Annie Kenney, daredevil speedway rider Clem Beckett and the popular artist Helen Bradley.
Gallery 2 – Carboniferous Monsters: 150 Million Years before the Dinosaurs
Step back to the Carboniferous period. Visit tropical forests and swamps teeming with bizarre and ferocious ancient monsters, some of which had larger teeth than Tyrannosaurus rex! Meet the dinosaurs’ distant ancestors, the very first reptiles, the largest creepy-crawlies ever to live, and prehistoric animals unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
This blockbuster national touring exhibition features stunning 350 million year-old original fossils, reconstructed giant prehistoric animals, and skeleton casts from museums around the world, many of which have never been displayed in the UK before.
This exhibition shows what Oldham was like 300 million years ago and explores how the remains of these prehistoric plants were the source of the carbon which eventually formed coal. Suitable for prehistoric monster fans of all ages!
Image: Edaphosaurus 6
Gallery 3 – Saddleworth Group of Artists: Points of View
16 September – 2 December
The Saddleworth Group of Artists was formed in 1950 by Ellis Shaw, with fellow artists who had studied in evening classes at Oldham Art School. Exhibitions were held in an old weaving loft in Uppermill where L.S.Lowry was a frequent visitor. Today the group has 40 members, whose preferred subjects range from abstract and still life, to landscape and figures.
This exhibition will celebrate the wealth of artistic talent we have in the area and will be an opportunity to buy some original art by some of our best-known artists. Look out for a programme of events alongside this
exhibition. Details will be available on the gallery website and also the Saddleworth Artists website.
9 December 2023 – 9 March 2024
This exhibition uses beautiful images to examine colour in the animal kingdom. From the stunning blue plumage of the hyacinth macaw to the multicoloured iridescence of a jewel beetle there are many reasons why colour is so important in nature.
Discover how colours such as red, yellow and green affect the way animals live and communicate and also how patterns and changing colours can be beneficial in the animal world. Some colouration has evolved to provide protective camouflage. Other topics explored include biological variations such as the absence of pigment in albinism and the black-form colouration in melanism.
Species featured in the photographs include a mandrill, an hourglass treefrog, a scarlet ibis, an oleander hawkmoth caterpillar and a panther chameleon. Complimentary colourful specimens from Gallery Oldham’s own natural history will be displayed alongside these stunning images.
Image: Burchell’s Zebra
In Which Language Do We Dream?
10 February – 11 May
We are all familiar with news headlines and images of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’. But what happens to those people displaced by war as they try to rebuild their lives? What about personal stories, and new relationships formed with friends and neighbours? And how do people hold on to loved ones and a past life that they have had to leave behind?
In Which Language Do We Dream? offers fresh insights into these issues through the eyes of the al-Hindawi family, who were forced to flee Syria due to the ongoing civil war. Rescued family photos are presented alongside contemporary photographs by Rich Wiles, and by al-Hindawi family member Ruba and her children. There is also a specially commissioned film of Whats App photos sent by their extended family.
An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition.
Image: Ruba, Flamborough, East Yorkshire, December 2020 © Rich Wiles
The Song by Bani Abidi
23 March – 1 June
Bani Abidi is a Pakistani artist who works with video, photography and drawing. She studied fine arts at the National College of Arts in Lahore and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2011, she was invited to the DAAD’s Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme and has lived in Berlin ever since.
The Song draws on Bani Abidi’s interest in sound and migration, and on what it means to be acoustically displaced. An older man, who is a recent arrival to Europe, confronts the silence of his allotted Berlin apartment, finding his own way to settle down.
Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Contemporary Art Society, John Hansard Gallery and Salzburger
Kunstverein. Supported by Arts Council England. Presented by Contemporary Art Society to Gallery Oldham.
Image: Bani Abidi, The Song, 2022, film still. Courtesy of the artist and Film and Video Umbrella.