Sir Antony Gormley Launches The Great Big Art Exhibition

Leading artists and UK museums are asking the public to get involved in The Great Big Art Exhibition, with the hope that it will become the largest art exhibition ever held. The project is being launched by British sculptor Sir Antony Gormley, creator of The Angel Of The North.

Sir Antony said the ambition is to create a UK-wide show of optimism, inspired by the rainbow images displayed in millions of households to support the NHS and other keyworkers during the first lockdown.

“At a time when all the theatres and galleries are shut it is wonderful to somehow tap into the extraordinary reservoirs of creativity in the country and celebrate the diversity of range and thought and feelings that exist,” Sir Antony commented.

Each fortnight, a different artist will choose a subject for budding artists to create artwork to display in their window for inclusion in what the organisers hope will be a rolling nationwide exhibition, ending on 30 April.

Sir Antony has suggested ‘animals’ as the theme for the first two weeks of The Great Big Art Exhibition. “We want to let the inner animal out,” he said. “People will find their inner animal… it could be a whale or a dinosaur”.

The sculptor has chosen several images of animals to act as inspiration, including a drawing of a Rhino by Albrecht Durer and a cave painting of a kangaroo discovered in Australia.

Other artists who will be selecting themes for the exhibition include Turner Prize winner Anish Kappor and Sonia Boyce who is representing the UK at next year’s prestigious Venice Biennale.  Sonia has suggested a theme of portraiture to follow Sir Antony’s theme.

Many directors across the nation’s museums have chosen inspirational sculptures and paintings to help people create their own artwork, including Rebecca Salter, President of the Royal Academy who has chosen Yinka Shonibare’s Cheeky Little Astronomer (2013) mannequin.

It’s hoped that the exhibition will be a unified celebration of national creativity, which will document for posterity what could be the most revealing expression of the British character during the 2020s global pandemic.

If you’d like to take part, visit the FirstSite website, where you can sign and up and download a free activity pack to help you get started.