2015 saw Jo return to her hometown of Sheffield for a major solo exhibition of new work contrasting the Steel Cities of Sheffield and Pittsburgh. Funded by Arts Council England. Steel City, City on the Move brought together an immersive kaleidoscope of murals, painting and film to explore the shared legacy of steel in Sheffield and its American counterpart, Pittsburgh, formerly the steel capital of the world.
The post-industrial landscape of Sheffield is engrained in Jo’s consciousness. In the 1980’s, as the commerce that once made Sheffield a world leader fractured, there was very little to show the evidence of the ‘great’ Steel City. Pittsburgh, the American ‘twin’ to Sheffield, suffered a similar fate. A once great giant of manufacturing, Pittsburgh sits in what is nicknamed ‘The Rust Belt’.
Jo’s journey across the Atlantic, was driven by a desire to discover connections between the environments and also the people within these two cities that have experienced triumph and struggle through the rise and fall of major industry.
These discoveries unfold in eight chapters. Each chapter tells the story of two different residents of each city; each one connected through a profession or shared interest. Jo wants to show the diversity of cultures and communities that form the foundations of a city; the human bricks and mortar that remain long after the revolution of industry. It is this personal shared heritage, although experienced two thousand miles apart, and how it shaped each resident’s sense of identity, that the films bid to uncover, reclaim and celebrate.
Below is one of those stories.
STEL CITY, CITY ON THE MOVE
STEEL CITY, CITY ON THE MOVE
The exhibition ran from July 1st – October 11th 2015 at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery and featured new paintings, a large wall mural, limited edition screen prints and the films made in Pittsburgh and Sheffield.
A limited run book was created to celebrate the show and original works can be viewed in the gallery here.