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Tell me the story of all these things

Exhibitions: FREE

(No booking required)

Tell me the story of all these things

Friday 24 July - Sunday 11 October 2020 | 10:00 am - 5:00 pm


Cornelia Parker, Neither From Nor Towards, 1992. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

Firstsite and the Arts Council Collection present ‘Tell me the story of all these things’, featuring artworks made by some of Britain’s best-known artists, including Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Cornelia Parker and Gillian Wearing – each selected by radical women of Colchester.

Civic leaders, community organisers, artists, designers, politicians, mothers and the Colchester business owners have worked with Firstsite to curate this exhibition which examines the role of emotion and soft power in our society and how this can be used positively to connect and empower us. The group had been meeting together to discuss their lives, feelings, priorities and concerns since they witnessed the unveiling of Gillian Wearing’s statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, which Firstsite co-commissioned with the Mayor of London.

Artworks have been specifically selected based on the emotions, stories and memories they provoked, and these are presented in the gallery to explore the group’s question, “How do we create a show about empowerment which is also empowering to experience?”

The exhibition title is inspired by Rehana Zaman’s 2016 film Tell me the story of all these things (included in the exhibition), which revolves around a conversation between the artist and her two sisters as they prepare a meal.

One of the Community Curators explained the significance of choosing the title of this piece to represent the entire exhibition:

It really reflects my life when I came to England. I was very lonely and did not have any idea about life in England. Food, people, culture and language, it is so different from my country.” Community Curator, Jahanara Loqueman.

The exhibition itself takes on an open and engaging atmosphere, encouraging visitors to take part in an ongoing critical dialogue, and inviting them to explore their own emotional responses.

Tell me the story of all these things, the third in our series of National Partners Programme Exhibitions with the Arts Council Collection, continues our collaborative curatorial process designed to create exhibitions that reflect the lives and most pressing issues faced by local people from all sections of society, through incorporating them directly in the exhibition making process.


Find out more about the artworks featured in this exhibition in our Online Studio.

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Please help keep Firstsite fantastic, fun and free

The impact of shutting Firstsite has been huge, for us and the communities we work with. We need your support now more than ever to allow us to continue our work. Please help us continue to bring free exhibitions like this to the people of East Anglia.

Donate now