Tyne & Wear

Grayson Perry tapestries go on show in Sunderland

Grayson Perry, with three of the women featured in "Adoration of the Cage Fighters
Image caption Grayson Perry at Sunderland Museum with three of the women featured in Adoration of the Cage Fighters
The Agony in the Car Park, 2012
Image caption The Agony in the Car Park was inspired by Sunderland

Tapestries created by Turner-prize winning artist Grayson Perry have gone on display in Sunderland.

The city is the first venue in a national tour of the works, which were created alongside a Channel 4 series of his exploration of British taste.

It was the subject of his first visit and provided the setting for Agony in the Car Park and Adoration of the Cage Fighters.

They can be viewed at Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden until 29 September.

It is the first stage of a national exhibition, which also takes in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds.

The collection of six tapestries, entitled The Vanity of Small Differences, was inspired by William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, and depicts many of the characters and experiences Perry encountered while travelling through Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and the Cotswolds for the series.

'Sparks debate'

He said he chose tapestries because he always worked with traditional media, and enjoyed the idea of using the "costly and ancient medium to show the commonplace dramas of modern British life".

The six pieces, which each measure 6ft 6ins (2m) by 13ft (4m), were woven in Flanders on a computer-controlled loom to designs created by the artist.

Perry said: "Of all the pieces I have made, this was the one I conceived from the outset as a public artwork.

"I hope that wherever it goes it not only delights the eye but also sparks debate about class, taste and British society."

Jo Cunningham, manager of Sunderland Museums, said: "We are delighted to be chosen as the first venue on the UK tour to display these treasures.

"The fact that the tapestries will be accessible to the very people who inspired the work is fantastic and we're excited to find out how our visitors will respond to them.

"A huge thank-you to the artist, the Arts Council, British Council and partners for the opportunity to be involved in this."

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