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Gallery Oldham has three large exhibition spaces plus a community gallery, Gallery 4.

We take an innovative and unique approach to exhibition programming, bringing together what were once separate museum and gallery services.

Our programming incorporates Oldham’s extensive art, social and natural history collections alongside touring work, newly commissioned and contemporary art, international art and work produced with local communities.

In addition we have permanent displays around the building.

Current Exhibitions

Gallery 1 – Oldham Stories

Oldham Stories features selected objects from our extensive collections to tell and show the stories of Oldham and its local and natural communities.

From mountain hare and moorhens to banners and artwork, every object has a fascinating tale to tell. Our Collector’s Case features an array of caps, shirts and memorabilia from Oldham Rugby Football League.

The display also highlights local figures such as campaigner Marjory Lees and the popular artist Helen Bradley, as well as Sir Winston Churchill who started his political career right here in Oldham.

If you want to know more about Oldham’s unique range of wildlife habitats, you’ll find it here.

Gallery 2 – In Which Language Do We Dream?

10 February – 11 May 2024

We are all familiar with news headlines and images of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’. But what happens to those people displaced by war as they try to rebuild their lives? What about personal stories, and new relationships formed with friends and neighbours? And how do people hold on to loved ones and a past life that they have had to leave behind?

A woman wearing a black headscarf stands on a pebbled beach with a white cliff edge in the background

In Which Language Do We Dream? offers fresh insights into these issues through the eyes of the al-Hindawi family, who were forced to flee Syria due to the ongoing civil war. Rescued family photos are presented alongside contemporary photographs by Rich Wiles, and by al-Hindawi family member Ruba and her children. There is also a specially commissioned film of Whats App photos sent by their extended family.

An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition.

Image: Ruba, Flamborough, East Yorkshire, December 2020 © Rich Wiles

Gallery 3 – The Song by Bani Abidi

23 March – 1 June 2024

Bani Abidi is a Pakistani artist who works with video, photography and drawing. She studied fine arts at the National College of Arts in Lahore and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2011, she was invited to the DAAD’s Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme and has lived in Berlin ever since.

The Song draws on Bani Abidi’s interest in sound and migration, and on what it means to be acoustically displaced. An older man, who is a recent arrival to Europe, confronts the silence of his allotted Berlin apartment, finding his own way to settle down.

A bearded in a grey suite man sits looking to the side in front of a blank white wall with a white lamp next to him.

Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Contemporary Art Society, John Hansard Gallery and Salzburger
Kunstverein. Supported by Arts Council England. Presented by Contemporary Art Society to Gallery Oldham.

Image: Bani Abidi, The Song, 2022, film still. Courtesy of the artist and Film and Video Umbrella.

Coming soon….

Ocean Drifters
18 May –  7 September

Oldham is a long way from the sea so we are bringing the magical world of the ocean to Gallery Oldham this summer.

You are invited to step into the underwater kingdom and immerse yourself in the world of Ocean Drifters.

Set your imagination free and join the giant jellyfish in this new, fun interactive exhibition.

These extraordinary animals have drifted along on ocean currents for millions of years, even before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Pulsing along across the worlds oceans they can be found in deepest darkest depths and along shallow tropical coastlines.

We promise that they won’t sting but they may tantalize you with their tentacles.

One Seven Five: An Incomplete history of Oldham in 175 objects

15 June 2024 – 11 January 2025

2024 sees the 175th anniversary of the founding of the borough of Oldham. To celebrate, a variety of today’s Oldhamers have selected objects which tell fascinating stories about our area through the years. We’ll be showcasing stories of Olympic glory, a pet wasp, and some gems from Oldham’s art and natural history collections which you may not have seen.

The Oldham Open 2024

20 September – 23 November

Photo of a empty ornate gold frame

It’s that time again…the Oldham Open is here. This exhibition showcases the extraordinary range of talented artists living, working or studying in the borough of Oldham.

There is always a wide variety of artists and styles, across drawing, painting, photography, ceramics and sculpture. Work is for sale, so it’s a great opportunity to pick up some Christmas presents while supporting artists in our area.

There is a £5 non-refundable charge for each entry. Watch out for further information on our website and a leaflet soon. You can also email galleryoldham@oldham.gov.uk or call 0161 770 4653 for more information.