Plymouth confirmed as host city for British Art Show 9

Image Credit: British Art Show 7 in 2011 at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery

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Plymouth will join Manchester, Wolverhampton and Aberdeen for the ninth iteration of this prestigious exhibition, which takes place only once every five years and showcases new and recent works by British-based contemporary artists.

In Plymouth, the exhibition will be led by The Box with a range of other city venues also expected to take part. Plymouth will be the fourth and final destination for the exhibition which will be curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar.

Aristizábal and Nasar were selected by a panel of curators from the Hayward Gallery and the participating cities. They bring international experience to the role and have both worked on major exhibitions in the UK Europe, America and Asia.

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader said: “This is another epic announcement for Plymouth and proof that our cultural profile is the highest it’s ever been. British Art Show is a massive exhibition that gives people a chance to experience the very best that British Art has to offer as well as spot the rising stars of the art world.

“We’ve hosted it once before and it led us to major developments in the city’s cultural offer and developed our confidence to take bold, ambitious risks with our artistic programming. It’s going to be right here on our doorsteps in 2021 and it’s going to be amazing!”

Plymouth previously hosted British Art Show 7 in 2011. Over 75,000 visits were made to the exhibition with another estimated 15,000 people taking part in the associated event, education and Fringe programmes.

It was the first time the city had hosted a cross-venue event on such a huge scale. A number of other multi-site and major partnership projects have followed since including the ‘Walk On’ (2014) and ‘We The People Are The Work’ (2017) exhibitions and the sector-led Plymouth Art Weekender.

Councillor Ian Bowyer, Shadow Leader said: “The last time Plymouth was a host city for British Art Show it proved to be a catalyst for the visual arts. Hosting it again in 2021 will be an ideal opportunity for us to continue the momentum and ambition that was established in 2011 and which has continued ever since. What a proud moment for Plymouth.”

Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery, said: “We are very excited to be taking the latest edition of British Art Show to four exciting cities across the UK. Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar bring a wealth of international experience to the role and a deep understanding of British contemporary art. I am looking forward to seeing what they deliver.”

The artists for British Art Show 9 will be confirmed at a later date but works on display will include painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, film and performance. The exhibition will also be backed by an extensive events programme as it travels the country.

British Art Show 9 is a Hayward Touring exhibition from Southbank Centre, London on behalf of Arts Council England. For more details visit

For more information about The Box, Plymouth visit

Set to open in 2020, The Box is a major new historic and cultural centre which is currently being developed on the site of the former Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library and St Luke’s Church buildings.

The project is led by Plymouth City Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Coastal Communities Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, University of Plymouth, Wolfson Foundation, Interreg, the British Film Institute and Mayflower 400.

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