‘To the South, There is a Great Land’
Saturdays 12-4pm by appointment, contact Nat: firstname.lastname@example.org
Division of Labour Gallery, E Philip St, Salford, M3 7LE
Dominic Allan ‘To the south, there is a great land’
Curated by Andrew Hunt
‘To the south there is a great land’ considers community support in relation to contemporary art, football, and Luton Town Football Club by repositioning specific local culture in the south within the context of Salford, Greater Manchester.
Dominic Allan and curator Andrew Hunt are taking banners, flags and physical ephemera from Luton’s Kenilworth Road (the club’s home for nearly one hundred years - soon to be replaced with a new stadium) with political intent, by making new flags and banners. Based on growing up in Luton (Allan and Hunt were both born in Luton and Dunstable Hospital and grew up in the area), this new work considers personal geography as underdog, post-industrial youth – Luton is often seen as a northern town transposed in the south, due to its hat-making heritage – social mobility, together with post- or late-Marxist rhetoric. The commission at Division of Labour is a bespoke installation of everything collected and made.
Essentially, this project transposes the ‘minor ‘into the ‘major’ in the sense of a stuttering, stammering language becoming primary in the line of thought from Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘Towards a Minor Literature’. In this sense, the celebrated agency of Luton Town Football Club (a medium-sized community facing club, run prudently on the lowest squad budget in the Football League’s Championship) is placed incongruously into the global, commercialised pond of Manchester’s football elite. At this moment, ‘The Town’ rises again, through football’s cyclical ways: the promised land sits within reach: Luton Town currently lie, against the odds, fourth in England’s Football League’s second tier.
This is a full frontal archaic art installation as intellectualised, extended ‘away day’. With the honest ‘village voice’ repurposed within Salford. These are two towns as ‘new best mates’: sky satellites on the shoulder of giants, beyond the wink of the metropolis.
This is art made on a budget, for everyone, forever. As a migratory, politicised comment. Pound-land Warhol. The language of the everyman with fifteen minutes elsewhere. Karl Marx and Eric Morecambe. Our day in the sun.
Notes to Editors on the recent history of Luton Town Football Club
‘Luton 2020’ is an organisation that comprises a board of lifelong Luton Town Football Club (LTFC) supporters. The group took over the management of LTFC in 2008, when it was facing bankruptcy and oblivion. They inherited a club that were previously punished by the Football Association and the Football League for financial irregularities with a combined thirty-point deduction, an unprecedented punishment in English Football that led to a five-year hiatus in non-league football. Astonishingly, in the eight years since the club re-entered the Football League, it has risen phoenix-like to a championship play-off semi-final in May 2022, and the unthinkable reality of entering the Premier League. During this entire period, Luton 2020 have been instrumental in marshalling the rise of LTFC with prudent financial care and community spirit as core beliefs.
Currently playing on the lowest squad budget in the Championship – LTFC’s £1.5m effectively represents 1% of Fulham’s squad’s worth of £150m, the Champions of the division in 2022 – the football club achieved an incredible amount in the 2021-2022 season, with the club’s manager Nathan Jones being awarded Championship manager of the season. LTFC were also the first club in the football league to be nominated as accredited Living Wage employers, winning the People’s Choice Award at the Living Wage Champions Awards 2019.
Together, Luton 2020 and the club’s fans have undertaken a huge amount of community work in the past fourteen years, with a very strong commitment to local social engagement with young people, those from Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, and many others from south Asian backgrounds who live near Kenilworth Road, the club’s home since 1905.
After decades of planning for a new home, the club has also confirmed that Power Court, an area next to Luton railway station in the town centre, will be the site for their new stadium. Due to open within three years, this development has been led by LTFC’s visionary CEO Gary Sweet, who has been influential in the club’s growth for many years.
Dominic Allan curated by Andrew Hunt