Exhibition exploring representation to open at The Beaney

The Beaney’s Mirror Mirror exhibition is set to open after a year-long National Skills Sharing Partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.

The project sought to reflect on the gaps, omissions and forgotten histories in Canterbury’s historic collection to ensure the museum is inclusive, representative and relevant to local communities.

The display will feature works from both The Beaney and National Portrait Gallery collections that have celebrated Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay’s notable associations and residents and will look back over time to discover who they have revered and why.

As part of the exhibition, three early career artists have been commissioned to develop portraits of publicly nominated local heroes to be accessioned into Canterbury Museums and Galleries’ permanent collection.

Visitors will have the chance to create their own portrait, see themselves reflected in the exhibition at the mirror wall, as well as view work capturing local people and their stories by a commissioned photographer.

Edward (‘Eddy’) Sackville-West by Graham Sutherland, 1957 © National Portrait Gallery, London

“Museums and galleries are often vital community spaces and therefore reviewing how well they represent local people is crucial to ensure they continue to support the communities they serve.”

Cllr Barbara Anne Flack, Cabinet Member for Place which includes responsibility for museums and culture, commented: “It is fantastic to see The Beaney contributing to national conversations surrounding representation through their recent partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.”

“As the Cabinet member with responsibility for our museums who also has a disability, I look upon this project as an enlightening and enriching experience.”

“I have no doubt it will be a thought provoking exhibition bracing some important yet difficult subjects in a way that is accessible to all.”

Mirror Mirror opens in The Beaney’s Special Exhibition Gallery on Saturday 19 November 2022 until Sunday 29 January 2023 (closed Mondays). Admission will be free, with donations encouraged.

Notes to editors

National Portrait Gallery 

The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to encourage, through portraiture, the appreciation and understanding of the people who have made and are making British history and culture. Today it promotes engagement with portraiture in all media to a wide-ranging public by conserving, growing and sharing the world’s largest collection of portraits. 

The Gallery in St Martin’s Place, London is currently closed until 2023, while essential building works take place on the Inspiring People redevelopment project, which will transform the Gallery, including a complete refurbishment of the building and a new learning centre. During the closure period, the Gallery will continue to share its Collection through its digital channels and a series of nationwide partnerships and collaborations. 


The National Skills Sharing Partnership Programme

The National Skills Sharing Partnership Programme is a collaborative project which sees the National Portrait Gallery partner with colleagues across the UK to share its Collection while it undergoes its own major transformation. Funded by The National Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund, these ambitious partnerships with museums, local community groups and schools aim to bring the Gallery closer to communities across the UK.

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Artefacts in exhibition case The Beaney Museum

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