Light & Dark Artist Exhibition at the Ooops Pop Art Gallery, Bearwood

Bearwood is a important focal point of creativity in the Black Country, which has very unique shops and is convenient shopping area for the everyday diverse local community. So it was quite pleasant to visit a fantastic pop up art gallery and gift shop.

Ooops Gallery had the combination of local pop up art gallery and gift shop. Ooops Gallery had held workshops and events for people to learn about new crafts and art skills. Including these events was a brilliant way to link creativity within the community.

The final art exhibition was Light & Dark, this exhibition had a phenomenal selection of talented artists who are also tattooists. Including Elle Donlon. Putting this exhibition together is the highly motivated and dedicated curator and founder Jo Farn. The light and dark exhibition had started and continuously exhibiting each year since 2011. Jo Farn does not receive any financial backing or sponsorship. These exhibitions are created from the bootstraps of Jo Farn’s hard work, good collaborations and having a excellent network of versatile artists.

I was very lucky to meet Jo Farn on the last day of the exhibition and the closing down of Ooops Art Gallery and Pop Up Gift Shop. In conversation with Jo Farn:
Jo generally wants to breakdown the stereotypes and stigma relating to people who have tattoos for criminal convictions, gang violence and gang culture. But tattoos do have an association with a tribal inclusion and rituals. Tattoos have links with many interests beyond the dark and traditional path of acquiring a tattoo. But the best people to talk about them are artists and the owners of tattoos. The Light & Dark exhibition is a favourable reason to go and visit. In truth, tattoos in this present day have been upgraded to be acceptable. Even, collected as framed artwork and prints.

It’s good to visit and view a good collaboration between the Ooops pop shop owner Jacqui Chana famed for her wonderland glass artwork and Jo Farn the curator. Ooops Gift Shop had a simplistic shop interior and stocked items including crafted lampshades selling at £99, stain glass artwork pieces, prints and homeware. Having this foothold in the community this business didn’t lack curiosity from passer-by to visit. It is a benefit to have a pop up business based in the urban area on the local high street and away from the city centre.

I’m confident there’s more on offer from Jo Farn and Jacqui Chana. I look forward to hearing about this in the future.

(c) Gina Smith

October 2015

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