This is a short list of some of our previous exhibitions. For more information or a full list of past displays please contact the gallery.
October 2020 – 26 June 2021
This exhibition has a very watery feel, exploring water from the start of its journey in the clouds through all freshwater aquatic environments using objects chosen from across the Gallery’s collection.
Water is an essential element for all life that has ever lived on the planet and makes up important part of our local wildlife habitats. Come and see beautiful paintings portraying rivers, lakes and canals displayed alongside ancient fossil fish and an array of present-day aquatic creatures. A special attraction is the fossil skeleton of an Ichthyosaur a dolphin-like creature from Jurassic times. This is the largest fossil in our geological collections.
Oldham became the most important spinning town in the world because it is nestled high in the hills making the most of the damp climate so necessary to spin the best cotton yarn. Water collected in newly constructed reservoirs was important for an expanding human population to ensure good health and hygiene as well as textile processing.
Water has a special attraction to us for leisure activities, swimming, boating and fishing to name just a few. Amazing fish trophy mounts donated by Oldham Central Angling Club will be displayed together with swimming memorabilia.
View the online exhibition, click here.
Sounds Like Her
14 December – 7 March 2020
Sounds Like Her is a touring exhibition curated by Christine Eyene and produced by New Art Exchange. It brings together six artists to explore what sound can mean in different contexts.
The exhibition includes the latest version of Sonia Boyce’s Devotional Series, an ongoing piece that documents the input of influential black women in the music industry.
Christine Sun Kim has been deaf since birth. Her contribution to Sounds Like Her investigates how sound can be experienced when you are unable to hear – primarily through sight and touch.
The exhibition also includes pieces by Ain Bailey, Madeleine Mbida, Magda Stawarska-Beavan and Linda O’Keeffe.
The Oldham Open 2019
20 September- 30 November 2019
This show is held every two years to showcase work by artists living, working or studying in the borough of Oldham. From drawing, painting and photography to ceramics, jewellery and sculpture, the exhibition features a wide range of artists with a huge array of styles.
The exhibition is always incredibly varied – from people who may have recently retired and joined their first art class, to the professional artists who are based in our borough. As ever, there will definitely be something for everyone.
5 October – 30 November 2019
See paper in a new light. From collage to sculpture, corrugated card to blotting paper, this Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition features a huge range of approaches. The show features works on paper which have been burnt, torn and cut by artists such as Roger Ackling, Cornelia Parker, Tim Davies and Simon Periton. Artists have also long used paper to construct three dimensional objects, such as Lesley Foxcroft’s two tone corrugated bricks.
From Waterloo to Peterloo
25 May – 21 September 2019
In 1819 a peaceful political meeting in Manchester ended in violence, confusion and death. This notorious event quickly became known as the Peterloo Massacre and today is recognised as an important step in the development of democracy in Britain.
Thousands of people walked from Oldham and the surrounding areas to attend the meeting. Dozens were injured and several were killed. Oldham became the scene of a notorious inquest into the death of one local man, John Lees. This exhibition explores what life was like in 1819 using the collections of Gallery Oldham, Oldham Archives and Local Studies Library and a selection of images from the new graphic novel about Peterloo. Who were the Oldhamers at Peterloo and what ideas were they fighting for?
13 January – 12 May 2018
A family can be made of any number of individuals and consist of many different relationships. The common link is the shared experiences of people or animals who live together as a unit. This exhibition
looks at families in its widest sense using our extensive collections of social history, natural history, art and archives.
The Big Big Camera
22 January – 22 April 2017
The big big camera has long been in the collections of Gallery Oldham. Photographer Ian Beesley has been working to repurpose this industrial relic. This exhibition of new photographs also features poems by Ian McMillan and charts the journey to reuse the camera and take it out on the road.
This exhibition of large scale photographs that will make you think again about the whole process of taking a picture.
Art Forms in Nature
14 October 2016 – 7 January 2017
The German photographer Karl Blossfeldt (1865 – 1932) was celebrated by the Surrealists and early modernists for his pioneering close-up images of plants and flora. Trained as a sculptor he was also an amateur botanist, fascinated by the underlying structures of nature.
This Hayward Touring exhibition consists of 40 photogravures from an original German portfolio, ‘Wundergarten der Natur’ 1932, edited by Blossfeldt and published in the year of his death. This exhibition also featured a selection of larger than life plant models from Gallery Oldham’s natural history collection.
The Current Situation by Yara El-Sherbini
July – September 2016
Yara El-Sherbini creates contemporary art which is accessible, playful and can be enjoyed by all. Over the last 10 years her artworks have used recognisable formats, such as quizzes, game shows and jokes.
In her current exhibition she invites people to navigate the world’s borders using her giant buzz-wire game, where it will be nearly as hard to travel across the world’s borders in theory as it is in practice.
The Current Situation by Yara El-Sherbini is a touring exhibition produced by New Art Exchange, Nottingham.