MK Gallery and community-focused design studio RESOLVE Collective selected local artists Bernicer Sekyere, Esther North, Saint Akua, Lisa Price, Rachael Presky, Robin Clements and Sâde Popoola, from an open call and commissioned them to develop designs for several shutters on Milton Keynes Open Market. This month they will finalise and show off their designs to residents.

The artists have been working directly with traders to creatively interpret the stories, knowledge and global connections of those within the market to create original designs which celebrate the value of the market for the community.

Roisin Callaghan, Producer, Public Programmes (Community & Partners) at MK Gallery said:

“This project is particularly special because it is deeply rooted in the local community. The open market has been here since the birth of Milton Keynes. The artists all have strong links to Milton Keynes and were selected based not only on their creative talents, but also on a written submission of a memory of the market and what it means to them.

“Everyone involved has been so positive and collaborative and soon we will all be able to enjoy the new shutter designs which will, over time, be another layer in the cultural heritage of this incredible market place.”

As part of the original masterplan for the city in the 1970s, Milton Keynes Open Market is an essential part of both its history and its fabric. With more than 100 stalls, the market connects and supports communities both local and from further afield, with shoppers and traders from as far as London and the Midlands making regular journeys to its bustling alleys. Whether it’s fiery kilishi from Nigeria, Turkey’s finest lokums, or Lady Finger bananas that look more congruent with Javanese rainforests than English markets, it has become a hidden landmark for the notable diversity of Milton Keynes.  

Teresa Lane, Interim Special Projects Director at Milton Keynes Partnership said: “MKDP funded this initiative as part of our investment in the market, which, so far, has included painting and better lighting underneath Secklow Gate. This exciting project aims to improve the appearance and visibility of the market with some shutters undergoing colourful and creative transformations.”

As the artists develop their designs, expect to see more colour on the market, and enjoy the final designs from Tuesday 31 May.

Also at the Gallery….

Ingrid Pollard: Carbon Slowly Turning | Until 29 May 2022

Nominated for the Turner Prize 2022.

Vivian Maier: Anthology | 11 June – 25 September 2022

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