The Fire Within ready to blaze with art again

A Wigan arts and culture hub is preparing to unveil its latest spectacular exhibitions putting the borough’s talent centre stage.
The birth room at The Fire WithinThe birth room at The Fire Within
The birth room at The Fire Within

The Fire Within, which is located on the upper floor of The Galleries Shopping Centre, will open its latest display Love Is A Rebellious Bird on Saturday November 2.

The new attraction is in four of the six units and have been comprehensively revamped from the artworks that were in there when The Fire Within opened earlier this year.

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The new exhibition brings together activists, poets and artists from Wigan and the surrounding region to explore perspectives on the world and issues including climate change and equality.

In the birth room artist Ghislaine Howard’s paintings explore the journey from birth alongside portraits of a mother’s breastfeeding, while her work on her mother’s struggle with Parkinson’s Disease is on show in the Re-birth room.

The Rebel room contains an array of pieces including Wigan artist Jane Fairhurst’s environmentally-conscious work, a film by renowned artists and exhibition curators Al and Al about their grandfather, local artist Liz Chapman’s look at her consumption of packaging, paper and plastic and punk silhouettes from young Wigan fashion designer Callum Clint.

In the Love room, meanwhile, Ince poet Louise Fazackerley reflects on feminism and the future her daughter has to look forward to in the wake of Me Too.

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Al and Al said: “This is an extraordinary and innovative moment for Wigan. Love is a Rebellious Bird celebrates and ignites The Fire Within all of us. Wigan empowers and inspires people to produce social justice through the culture it makes.

“The four new exhibition spaces take visitors on a breath-taking journey from the tender, precarious moment we are born to the hour of our death. Ghislaine Howard’s intimate, exquisite paintings capture her own family’s journey through life.

“Exploring the amazing work at the exhibition you will witness the emotional events, experiences and dreams which drive the artists passions and desires to shape and make a better world for each other. This exhibition has been created in the spirit of love and rebellion.”

The exhibition space is the focal point of Wigan’s five-year cultural strategy.

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Coun Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities and culture, said: “The success of The Fire Within has been incredible. We have more ambitious plans for the launch of the manifesto’s second year next May, but it is important the space remains up-to-date and innovative in the meantime. The new exhibition is even more refreshing as it has been created by a mostly-female collection of artists.

“We want to keep momentum going and are excited about working with our future artists to explore the themes in the manifesto.”

The opening is from 11am until 3pm on November 2.