Amongst Heroes, supported by the Arts Council, presented the most significant grouping of Cornish artworks to be displayed outside Cornwall in recent decades, and included the work of many celebrated, though often under-appreciated, artists. The exhibition repositioned the work of Newlyn and St Ives artists in a new and original context to create a fascinating insight into the imagery in Cornish art.
It explored artistic representations of the Cornish figure at work, primarily between 1880 and 1920. These powerful depictions of working Cornish men and women played a significant role in the development and recognition of Cornwall as a centre for the production of a particular kind of realistic, rural art. The exhibition examined a keen and longstanding artistic interest in the working landscape and the characteristic industrial activity taking place along its coastlines whilst offering a new insight into Cornish art that focuses on the geography of place as well as the history and narrative of the paintings displayed.
Original objects brought the pictures to life as copperware, a miners hand cart and even a real oyster dredging boat sat alongside the paintings. Amongst Heroes was curated by Roo Gunzi, who during the exhibition, was completing a PhD at the Courtauld Institute on Newlyn painter Stanhope Forbes, many of whose works were included in the show.