Review: Every Day Is A New Day at Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary's latest exhibition features artwork by Phyllida Barlow and Michael Armitage

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These articles were written and submitted by young people across Kent, between August 2016 and July 2019. We are no longer adding new articles or maintaining old ones. Read more about Art31.

Jacob, Aphra and Jasmine have recently undertaken work experience placements at Turner Contemporary, Margate and have all completed their Bronze Arts Award. Through this, they have written reviews of the current exhibition at the gallery: Every Day Is A New Day. The exhibition features works by Phyllida Barlow and Michael Armitage, and runs until 24 Sep 2017. Keep reading to find out what they thought of ‘Every Day Is A New Day.’ If you would like to find out more about Arts Award and what Turner Contemporary has to offer young people, get in touch with Molly or check out

‘The new Michael Armitage exhibition at the Turner Contemporary in Margate is part of ‘Every day is a new day’. Peace coma displays over 20 new pieces of his work. Many tell stories of his childhood and what it was like growing up in East Africa. Since moving to London, he continues to paint and draw. Pieces such as ‘Strange fruit’ and ‘Necklacing’ tell particularly hard hitting stories about folk law in Africa and torture methods. The use of vibrant colours and different layers of oil creates a surreal image with odd perspectives. For example, ‘Strange fruit’ has a perspective of someone lying on the ground. This may seem odd, but the longer you observe the work, the easier it is to work out what is happening in the picture. I personally think that this exhibition is extremely interesting and eye opening. It gives the viewer an insight into what happens in different parts of the world, such as Africa. A lot of the work displayed at the Turner Contemporary is recent or 2016. This means that the work is up to date in the stories it tells and the lessons it teaches. Another piece that I was particularly impressed by was ‘Necklacing’. This piece tells the story of an occurrence that Armitage witnessed when he was a young boy in Africa. It tells the story of a man running, with a tyre around his neck. He is running from a group of men who held lit torches. This was in fact a method of torture. Although Armitage had not realised at such a young age, the tyre around his body was filled with petrol, and then set alight. This method of torture happened and continues to occur all over Africa, and other places. These hard hitting real life accounts are what make Armitage’s work special. Overall, I would definitely recommend this exhibition to anyone who is interested in Art or other cultures around the world. Armitage’s work is very eye opening and appeals to anyone.’

Jacob Jackson

‘The art is so different and creative it also all kind of links in through the relationship of their opinions and how they feel where they are. I think the exhibition is new, creative and cool. The colours in this exhibition really draw you to all the different pieces of art whether it is Phyllida or Michael’s work. Normally Turner Contemporary’s art is small proportioned and not really appealing to the public, well this time it is bigger better and the best. This exhibition as always welcomes all members of the public it’s fun for kids because of the shape and colours and fun for adults because it is interesting and always has the history of the work. Michael Armitage paints all different pieces about places for example Kenya his piece Strange Fruit is based around a small part of Kenya, I really like his pieces because he tells a story within his paintings. Phyllida Barlow creates a wide range of sculptures her piece Untitled stage and hanging container is made to look really heavy but is actually reasonably light weight and made from fibre glass, I like this the best because it is the one that doesn’t look like its falling and the colours used are all different and contrast with each other.’

Jasmine Collins

‘Phyllida Barlow, the innovative artists sculptures and paintings are currently being displaced at the Turner contemporary. 10 of her evocative sculptures fill the Turner, including the ‘upturned house’ and one of my favourites ‘Awnings’, a series of vivid dyed fabric draped over dark pillars, which stands centre on the back wall of the south gallery. Throughout her work she uses ‘waste’ materials such are cement, steel and wire. But yet still transforms these discarded gems into marvellous. As you walk into the exhibition you are faced with two giants, the untitled ‘stage and hanging container’ along with the ‘upturned house’, both the scale and graphic colours makes it difficult to notice in the corner the tangle of steel and wool perched on the top of the. The combination of ‘torque’ hung high and the other two sculptures give a clear demonstration that ‘waste’ can be turned into something playful and creative. For these reasons I believe Barlow’s work is key to help inspire the youth to think outside of the box, to put down those watercolours and acrylic and have a look at your environment. Like Lin Evola-Smidt who took the guns from the gangs of Los Angeles, that plagued the city in the 90s and created angels, this is another example that art can be made from anything and still be considered art.’

Aphra Gluck

Jacob, Aphra and Jasmine received their Bronze Arts Award as part of work experience at Turner Contemporary. If you’d like to apply to do a placement at the gallery, please email schools officer Jennifer Scott at for more information and to request an application form.


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