Press release

Revolution in the air as Dundee gallery reopens

Published on 27 August 2021

An art exhibition by internationally celebrated Scottish artist Ruth Ewan will open to the public next week at the University of Dundee’s Cooper Gallery

On this page

We Could Have Been Anything That We Wanted to Be and It's Not Too Late to Change’ brings together artworks considering revolutionary time, inspired by Dundee's historical connection with the 1789 French Revolution.

The exhibition offers a transcendent moment resonating with dissent and solidarity and will encourage audiences to embrace liberty and freedom, when it goes on display on Friday 3 September 2021.

Sophia Yadong Hao, Cooper Gallery Principal Curator, said, “We are thrilled to have a body of new work by Ruth Ewan, an artist who is internationally renowned for shining new light on the vital and ever-present connections between history, radical politics and the lived experience of resistance.”

The exhibition is part of Cooper Gallery’s major five-chapter exhibition and event project ‘The Ignorant Art School: Five Sit-ins towards Creative Emancipation,’ that brings together creative groups to examine the histories and future possibilities of art education.

“Marking the reopening of the gallery with the first ever public art sculpture installed on the Cooper Gallery building - a revolutionary decimal clock - Ewan’s exhibition broadcasts a strong and pertinent message of emancipatory thought in all its glorious hope,” continued Sophia.

“Comprised of an indoor meadow of dried grasses and living plants featuring an immersive sound installation, a virtual and physical perpetual Republican Calendar and a lightbox sculpture called Heckle, Sit-in #1 of The Ignorant Art School challenges us to reconsider questions of collective time and invites everyone to savour the energy and possibilities of grassroots imagination.”

‘We Could Have Been Anything That We Wanted to Be and It's Not Too Late to Change’, featuring an immersive sound installation,  ‘How Many Flowers Make the Spring?’, will be open to the public on Monday - Saturday between 11am - 4pm. Time slots must be booked in advance via Eventbrite.

Expanding and complementing the exhibition is a public event series, ‘Sit-in Curriculum #1’. Returning after its spring term that took place between February – April, this new autumn term will bring all the energy of an unconstrained classroom to the exhibition. Including both in-person and online events, the classes will be facilitated by activists, artists, designers and playwrights.

Ruth Ewan is an internationally celebrated artist whose research-led and critically engaged practice has drawn attention within contemporary art and socio-political history.


Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878
Story category Events and exhibitions