The Burton at Bideford has opened one of the biggest shows in its 69 year history with Folk Archive.

The Burryman is a figure in an annual traditional ceremony each year at the South Queensbury area of Edinburgh. Picture: J Deller & A KaneThe Burryman is a figure in an annual traditional ceremony each year at the South Queensbury area of Edinburgh. Picture: J Deller & A Kane

The vibrant visual account of contemporary popular British culture brings together drawing, painting, film, performance, costume, decoration, political opinion and humour, and some astonishing objects.

The exhibition has been put together by Turner Prize Award winner Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane and celebrates activity from a vast range of British pastimes and pursuits, and demonstrates that folk art in the UK is both widespread and vigorous.

Running alongside the show, the Burton will be reorganising the museum to incorporate local North Devon traditions and folklore and will also be hosting an exhibition in gallery three from the Burton’s own Permanent Collection.

A Folk Art Tradition explores the theme of ‘folk’ art found in the Burton Art Gallery and Museum’s ceramic collections.

Tar barrel rolling in Devon is among the exhbits at the Folk Archive being hosted at The Burton at Bideford. Picture: J Deller & A KaneTar barrel rolling in Devon is among the exhbits at the Folk Archive being hosted at The Burton at Bideford. Picture: J Deller & A Kane

Focusing on items that are associated with tradition, celebration, humour and how form and slipware decoration is used in reflecting shared cultural and social traditions.

Deller and Kane have said the Folk Archive exhibition gave an opportunity for a cross section of the community to have their work shown in an art gallery for the first time.

It includes work from prisoners and community groups, gurning and barrel rolling participants, Notting Hill Carnival troupes, protesters, pop fans, bored teenagers, villagers and the homeless.

Treading the fine line to be found between art and anthropology, Deller and Kane have selected more than 280 elements to form an archive which provides a snap-shot of the state of contemporary folk art in the UK.

The Palladium Club in Bideford has been closed since March.The Palladium Club in Bideford has been closed since March.

Ian Danby, director of the Burton said: “It is fantastic, and relevant to our situation now when all the local festivals, events and traditions have been cancelled to have some reference to them here in Bideford celebrating the artworks and craft of those who sit outside the traditional art world.

“This is a unique collection of objects, items and art that celebrate our diverse communities and the things that make us who we are.”

Both exhibitions at The Burton at Bideford will be on display until late January, 2021. To find out more, visit https://www.burtonartgallery.co.uk .