Picture the Poet

11 August 2014

Exhibitions, Industry news

From Carol Anne Duffy and Simon Armitage to Benjamin Zephaniah and the ‘Bard of Barnsley’, Ian Macmillan, some of the nation’s leading contemporary poets are set to be celebrated in a new photographic exhibition making its debut the Graves Gallery this autumn.  Opening on Wednesday 3 September, Picture the Poet comes to Sheffield on tour from the National Portrait Gallery.

Picture the Poet will bring together over 50 remarkable portraits from a host of well-known photographers to offer a unique insight into the people who have crafted images for our imaginations out of words.  The portraits cover a variety of themes including sense of place, love, loss, identity and struggle and include over six decades of artistic production from the 1950s to the present day.

Amongst the works on display will be striking images of acclaimed children’s poet, Michael Rosen, Poet Laureate, playwright and children's writer, Carol Ann Duffy, former Poet Laureate and writer, Sir Andrew Motion, and writer, dub poet and musician, Benjamin Zephaniah.  The exhibition will feature works by photographers including Jemimah Kuhfeld, Norman McBeath, Donald McLellan, Peter Everard Smith, Maud Sulter and Madeleine Waller.

Picture the Poet is part of a major three-year partnership project between National Portrait Gallery, the National Literacy Trust and Apples and Snakes.  It is complemented by an extensive programme of events and activities working with schools, teachers and young people from across Sheffield, which will include:

  • Ian Macmillan leading a day of schools poetry workshops in the gallery on Wednesday 24 September
  • A group of young adults working with photographer Chris Saunders over the summer to create their own portraits of Sheffield poets and writers, with the resulting digital photographs going on display in the exhibition.   
  • Teachers from more than 20 schools in the region will take part in special training sessions designed to help them use poetry in the classroom.

Alison Morton, Exhibition & Display Curator at Museums Sheffield said:

‘We’re far more used to the subjects of the photographs being represented by the words they write, but these wonderful portraits offer a really unique insight into the people behind the poetry. It’s a fascinating collection of works and we’re delighted to be working with the National Portrait Gallery to share it here in Sheffield.’

Picture the Poet

opens at the Graves Gallery on Wednesday 3 September and continues until 29 November 2014 – entry to the exhibition is free. See: www.museums-sheffield.org.uk

Image: © Donald MacLellan, Benjamin Zephaniah, August 1996