A PROJECT by a critically-acclaimed artist telling the story of the Longbridge car factory will open to the public in March.
Stuart Whipps will be restoring a 1979 Mini 1275 GT as part of his new project looking at the history and heritage of Longbridge, and a selection of his on-going work will be exhibited in an all-day event at Greenlands Select Social Club in Longbridge on March 13.
Work on the car will be completed on site and in the region, with the engine being rebuilt in Bromsgrove, and students from Bournville College helping with wheel hubs and suspension.
The restoration project will draw upon expertise from two former Longbridge workers, Keith Woodfield and John Baker, who will be helping the artist repair and improve the 1979 vehicle.
“I chose a 1979 model for several reasons – it was a pivotal moment with the election of Margaret Thatcher, the sacking of Derek Robinson – and I was born in 1979 as well,” said Stuart.
“There are a lot of ramifications of what happened politically and socially in 1979 which I think we’re still unpicking – we’re now having a polarisation between left and right, which is very similar to what we saw back then.”
The artist is also collecting photographs, newspaper cuttings and and cartoons from the period, using the different layers of information and resources to unlock stories.
Stuart says the project is not simply about making pictures or rebuilding cars, but instead focuses on uncovering stories and narratives.
He has created work in Longbridge previously, producing an extensive series of photographs of the MG Rover Factory between 2004 and 2007.
Whipps has been commissioned to support the ongoing regeneration of the former factory site as part of Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP) by WERK, who specialise in contemporary site-specific public art projects involving history and transformation.
Go to http://www.stuartwhipps.com/ for details.