Coventry exhibition explores post-World War One imagery of iconic poem - The Coventry Observer

15th Aug, 2022

Coventry exhibition explores post-World War One imagery of iconic poem

AN EXHIBITION in Coventry is exploring the imagery of one of the best-known literary works of the 20th century.

T.S. Eliot’s epic poem The Waste Land was written in the aftermath of World War One and depicts a fragmented world of different voices, cultures, myths and emotions.

The University of Warwick’s Mead Gallery and the Herbert Art Gallery have enabled a group of volunteers from the Coventry area, who all share an enthusiasm for the poem, to curate the exhibition which runs until Sunday, November 18.

Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’ includes a range of sculpture, photographs, prints and paintings which span the centuries.

There are works by artists RB Kitaj, David Jones and Bernie Tan which are directly inspired by the poem.

It also includes other works by Eliot’s friends and contemporaries such as Henry Moore and Wyndham Lewis and works which evoke the imagery of the poem by artists including Elisabeth Frink, Peter Blake and Hannah Starkey.

Cultural and creative director of the Herbert Francis Ranford said: “T.S. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 for his outstanding contribution to poetry and literature and is considered one of the most important poets of the 20th century.

“His work continues to resonate with readers today.

“The themes that he explores in his poem of journeys and fragmentation really connect with Coventry as a city which was once fragmented and has been rebuilt from the damage caused by two World Wars, into the UK’s only City of Peace and Reconciliation.

“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome people to engage with Eliot’s words alongside the impressive artwork on display and the feedback so far has shown the exhibition is provoking thought and conversation with visitors.

“We’ve even had messages left on a 1930s typewriter that we’ve provided for visitors to use – which has been a fantastic way of receiving feedback.”

Led by independent curator Michael Tooby, this free exhibition has been made in collaboration with Turner Contemporary in Margate by the Mead Gallery and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

Coventry Cathedral hosts part of the exhibition with a specially commissioned work by John Newling titled Eliot’s Notebooks and Eliot’s Soil.

For more information on Journeys with ‘The Waste Land’, visit

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