Life on the Left
At the direction of the Communist Party, to which they were both committed, John and Veronica moved to Liverpool in January 1962, setting up home in Ampthill Road, Aigburth. It became a centre of political education for many, a venue for meetings, a place to stay for visitors from across the globe, and a family home for them and their four children.
Their collection of original art and prints reflects their range of interests, including politics and the working class, the USSR and other socialist countries, and Liverpool itself. Their left-wing associations meant encounters with a wide range of local artists such as Arthur Dooley and Brian Burgess, from whom they purchased items in the early days when money was short.
In addition, Veronica's passion for the city in which she
was born, and from which she was evacuated in 1939, led to a number of
acquisitions related to Liverpool. John and Veronica were married in
Chester in 1954. John died in 2003, and Veronica in late 2015.
The exhibition includes original paintings by Brian
Burgess, Fred Wilde, Frank Hendry, T Weddel, E Scott Jones, East European lino
and wood cut prints, signed prints of Liverpool scenes by
Doug Kewley and Peter Shaw and a diverse collection of other works by East European and other local artists.
A historical highlight in the show is the painting of the
Russian freighter SS YUZHNY BUG berthed in the Old Dock in Garston, painted in
January 1972 by the ships electrician Nikolai and presented to the Gibson prior
to its departure. The ship had been caught up in a Garston Dockers dispute for two months and the crew were unable to leave so the Gibson's helped them obtain some useful 'extra's to help pass the time like a TV, a Christmas tree and plenty of alcohol - needless to say there was a memorable Christmas and New Year party aboard ship in 1971 in Garston Docks.
The show also includes rare posters from the USSR and a number of official portraits of leading Communist figures including one of Lenin which was hung on the wall of the Captain’s Cabin in the film 'Letter to Brezhnev' when it was filmed in Liverpool.
Entry to the exhibition is free most of the work on show is available to purchase.
The show is open from 1– 5pm, Wed–Fri from 23 – 31 March 2016 and from 13–29 April 2016.