18 May 2019 – 12 January 2020
Arriving in the UK from Jamaica in 1958 with £5 in her pocket as part of the Windrush generation, Alcock moved to Brixton to realise her dream of opening a boutique dress shop on Railton Road – an area famous for connecting with London’s LGBTQ+ community.
A loved member of her neighbourhood, below her shop, she ran a ‘shebeen’ – an illegal drinking club for her friends, and popular with the local black gay community, and she later opened a café on the same street.
Following the Brixton riots in the early 1980s, trade in the café ceased and Alcock was forced onto the dole. Unable to afford a birthday card for a friend, she made one instead. This simple act sparked an outpouring of creativity that lasted her entire lifetime, as she realised her ‘visions’ and ‘moods’ in the form of drawings and paintings. These abstract tangles of colour and texture caught the attention of Monika Kinley and Victor Musgrave who purchased a number of works for their collection of Outsider art – now part of the Whitworth’s collection and displayed in this exhibition together for the first time.
Caption: Pearl Alcock, Celebration of the Night, (detail) 1987. Gifted to the Whitworth by the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Trust, 2010
- Opening hours: daily 10.00 am-5.00 pm (until 9pm on Thursday)
- Location: The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER
- Getting there: By foot: 20-30 minures from Manchester city centre; By Bike: Sheffield stands and lockers (£1 coin, refundable) both available at the gallery; By Bus: 15, 41, 42, 43, 140 – 143, 147 – ask for bus stop nearest MRI, Oxford Road; By Metrolink: St Peter’s Square (plus 10 minutes on the bus or 20 minutes on foot); Train: Oxford Road (plus 10 minutes on the bus or 20 minutes on foot); By Car: On-street parking (maximum stay, 2 hours) on Denmark Road. Nearest car park Cecil Street
- Admission is free