Gallery Oldham has three large exhibition spaces plus a community gallery.
We take an innovative and unique approach to exhibition programming, bringing together what were once separate museum and gallery services.
Our programming incorporates Oldham’s extensive art, social and natural history collections alongside touring work, newly commissioned and contemporary art, international art and work produced with local communities.
In addition we have permanent displays around the building.
Gallery 1 – Oldham Stories
Oldham Stories exhibition, features selected objects from our extensive collections to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local communities. From birds and animals to banners and artwork, every object has a fascinating tale to tell. Our Collector’s Case features an array of caps, shirts and memorabilia from Oldham Rugby Football League. The display also highlights local figures such as suffragette Annie Kenney, daredevil speedway rider Clem Beckett and the popular artist Helen Bradley.
Gallery 2 – The Oldham Open
23 September – 26 November
We asked you to pick up your paintbrush, fire up the kiln and get snapping with that camera! This is your chance to see the result as we celebrate the creativity of the people of Oldham.
If you missed out on submitting work in 2022 then don’t worry. The Oldham Open runs every two years so there is plenty of time to prepare for the next one. The exhibition is open to artists of all ages who live, work or study in Oldham.
Visitors can vote for their favorite piece to win the People’s Prize. Some of the work is also for sale so it is an ideal opportunity to pick up an early Christmas present for an art lover.
Gallery 3 – Patti Mayor 150
10 September – 28 January 2023
Artist and campaigner Patti Mayor was born in Preston in 1872. She bequeathed her work, Mill Girl with Shawl, to Gallery Oldham and it has long been a favourite with our visitors. Mayor’s focus on working class subjects, and her active participation in the fight for women’s rights, keeps her legacy relevant to modern audiences. In this exhibition you can find out more about the life and times of Patti Mayor. In addition to Gallery Oldham, Patti Mayor’s work is held in the collections of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, and Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool. The display will include loans of Mayor’s work from these institutions and draw on Gallery Oldham’s wider collections to explore other artists who have used their work to make political points and to campaign for change.
Our Plastic Ocean
10 December 2022 – 11 March 2023
Mandy Barker collects debris from shorelines across the world and transforms them into powerful and captivating images. At first glance, Barker’s images look like sea creatures and corals suspended in the darkness of the sea, but closer inspection reveals a more disturbing reality.
From footballs to fishing nets, cotton-buds to coffee-cup lids, Barker highlights the incongruous plastic items now found across the world in our seas. In one photograph she documents the 276 pieces of plastic found inside the stomach of a 90 day old albatross chick. Currently, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year and if these trends continue, our oceans could soon contain more plastic than fish.
Barker says, “For the past decade, I have researched and documented the impact of oceanic waste, combining art and science to raise awareness. I hope to inspire positive action in tackling this increasing environmental challenge which is of global concern”.
An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition.
4 February – 13 May 2023
Tony Husband is a multi-award winning cartoonist whose work has appeared in numerous publications in this country and abroad. These include The Times, The Spectator and Private Eye for whom he has contributed to every issue for the last 37 years, maybe more! He also co-created Oink comic and the Round the Bend children’s TV show. Tony loves music, nature, fine wines and, er, Man United.
Tony has published over 60 books worldwide including Take Care Son, a book about his Dad’s dementia that touched so many and led him into the dementia world. He has worked all over the country on projects to raise awareness of dementia, including with the Oldham Springboard group. His latest book with dementia activist Gina Awad tells the story of seven different carers of loved ones living with dementia.
This exhibition brings together a range of Tony Husband’s best-known work. Expect to laugh. Perhaps
to cry. And prepare to meet some Yobs while you are here.
Finding the Funny: Sam Fitton
18 March – 17 June 2023
In 1907, he began to contribute a weekly cartoon to the Cotton Factory Times, a newspaper for Lancashire millworkers. Over the next twelve years he drew over 400 cartoons for the newspaper, creating a unique visual record of the cotton industry and its workers. He captured the funny-side of life but also touched on the struggles of workers whose lives were difficult, dirty and often short. As a writer, he wrote hilarious lines in the Lancashire dialect and a book of his poems ‘Gradely Lancashire’ was published after his death in 1923.
This exhibition explores Sam’s creative output, his sense of humour and his ability to adapt to earn a living. Through his eyes and using the collections of Gallery Oldham and Oldham Archives we can reflect on the experiences of millworkers during this time. His dialect writing also raises questions about our identity and the way we speak which are still important today.