Skip to main page content.

Gallery II

Past Caring | Dec - 20 February 2015

Past Caring Allison detail

Image: detail of 'Emma Rosalyn Symes' (1991), oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm, courtesy of the artist Jane Allison and Royal College of Nursing

Jane Allison, Katherine MacBride, Tracey Moffatt, Lucy Parker, Jo Spence

 Past Caring is an exhibition that brings the concept of care into focus, for discussion and consideration in different ways. Care is often overlooked and undervalued, but is in fact a rich source of emotional, intellectual and political possibilities.

Caring work is integral to the social and economic order. It underpins our day-to-day lives (in both paid and unpaid domains), but is often invisible, hidden in plain sight. Who undertakes caring work—cleaning, nursing, child-minding, emptying the bins? How enduring is this question of politics and power?

Care is also a sentiment or an ethos. It describes a way of being with others, binding us to family, friends, co-workers, teachers, carers, and many others, maybe even animals or places. Caring for and listening to others implicates us in their lives, their experiences and struggles. But what does this look like? Are there recognisably ‘caring’ acts or gestures that reveal deeper currents of love and anxiety for those closest to us? Of knowing ‘what’s best’ for someone?

Lastly, care invokes ‘cure’, in respect of healthcare and other forms of comforting, nurturing and healing. Is there actually a great deal of power involved in this form of care, which counters the vulnerability of birth, youth, age and death?

Some works exhibited blur the boundaries between caring for love versus caring for money or livelihood, when shifts in the global economy have made caring big business. Threaded through the exhibition are questions of who is therefore ‘past caring’ for others... And alternatively how are we already caring for each other every day.

Past Caring is co-curated by Amy Charlesworth and Sibyl Fisher 

With thanks to Richard Saltoun Gallery, The Royal College of Nursing and the National Health Service 

Read a feature on the exhibition in This is Tomorrow

Standard opening hours: Monday - Friday 11am - 5pm, Thursdays until 6pm. Or by appointment (contact

Gallery II will be closed over the Christmas period - Monday 22nd Dec 2014 - Tues 6th Jan 2015


 Arts Council Logo (JPG, 34KB)  ‌