UWTSD senior BA Photography in the Arts lecturer Holly Davey unveils new sculpture to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Blitz


A new sculpture at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Blitz, as well as highlight the museum’s imminent expansion.

Holly Davey sq feature

Here is Where We Came From by UWTSD senior BA Photography in the Arts Lecturer and artist Holly Davey is a Plymouth Arts Centre commission delivered in partnership with Plymouth City Council’s Arts and Heritage Service.

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery was one of the few buildings to survive the World War Two bombing and is about to embark on a major redevelopment currently known as the History Centre.

For Here is Where We Came From, the delicate pottery usually displayed in one of the large glass cabinets on the museum’s balcony will be replaced with rubble.

The violence of this shift in contents reflects the layers of history the museum has witnessed and the central role it has played in shaping the city’s futures, from post-war reconstruction to a new vision of Plymouth as a city of culture. The work will be launched at the start of this year’s Plymouth History Festival on May 7 and will remain on display throughout the summer, until September 3.

Holly Davey’s practice involves working closely with ideas around objects, collections and memory, especially hidden social histories. As well as Plymouth’s wartime experiences, Here is Where We Came From is inspired by her own family history and by female wartime photographer Lee Miller’s photograph of a bombed-out chapel.

Plymouth Arts Centre’s Artistic Director Ben Borthwick said:

“Holly Davey’s commission explores the role of the museum in making sense of Plymouth at times of radical change. The museum contains the city’s histories and relationships to the past, but also articulates the possibilities of the future. Here is Where We Came Fromlinks the museum’s civic role following the Blitz, when it was one of the only buildings left standing amongst the devastation, to its upcoming expansion that is the centrepiece of a cultural renaissance in the city.”

Following on from this sculpture, Holly Davey will work on a major public art commission for the facade of the Museum and Art Gallery when the building closes in September for the History Centre redevelopment. Here Is Where We Came Fromis the beginning of a series of partnerships that will take place between the Arts and Heritage Service and various organisations and venues across the city and beyond while the Museum building is closed.

Judith Robinson, Arts and Cultural Development Manager for Plymouth City Council said:

“The Museum and Art Gallery was established in 1910 and, just over a century later, is about to embark on an exciting journey that will alter the cultural landscape of the city once more. Here is Where We Came From takes its inspiration from both the personal and the historical and makes a statement about our past, present and future. Working with Holly Davey and Plymouth Arts Centre on this commission is an extremely fitting way to mark the end of one chapter and the beginning of another - as well as commemorate an important anniversary for an episode in history which changed the face of Plymouth forever.”

This project is funded by Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Culture, The University of Wales, and Arts Council of Wales.

Davey is also currently working on a project with The National Trust at a la Ronde in Exmouth, Devon.

Here is Where We Came From runs from 7 May – 3 September. Holly Davey will give a talk at the Museum and Art Gallery on Tuesday 21 June, 1.10pm-2pm. A related Art Bite talk will also take place at the Museum on Wednesday 22 June, 1pm-1.40pm. Further events will take place in the autumn.

Plymouth Arts Centre's 2016 programme of exhibitions and public art commissions is dedicated to female artists and curators.


26 April 2016

Notes to editors

Holly Davey b. 1974, currently lives and works in Cardiff, graduated from Goldsmiths College, London. B.A. Hons. Fine Art, 1998; University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. MA Photography, 2014.

Previous solo exhibitions include: The Nameless Grace, The Holburne Museum, Bath, 2014; Nothing Is What It Is Because Everything Is What It Isn’t, Colwinston Trust Commission at the National Museum Wales, Cardiff, 2013; I Told You So, Lightbox Commission, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 2010. 

Previous group exhibitions include: Bath and Bristol Weekender, 2015; Cornucopia, Syson Gallery, Nottingham, 2015; Fragments, Rathaus, Stuttgart, Germany, 2015; If Only I Could Remember, Experimentica, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 2013; URRA Residency Exhibition, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2012; Telegrams on the Table, World Financial Centre, New York, 2012; Arles Photography Festival, Arles, 2012.