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Last Chance to See: Daniel Lismore

Last chance to see: Daniel Lismore - Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken

“The most extraordinary art exhibition “Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken” by @daniellismore showing @The_Herbert in Coventry. I feel so lucky to have seen it & recommend it to all lovers of art, colour, craft, fashion & style” 

“Saw the @daniellismore exhibition at @The_Herbert in Coventry. Like Westwood, club kids, the British royal family and the terracotta warriors fell into a dressing up box. Marvellous” 

Global icon, artist, designer and activist Daniel Lismore’s first ever exhibition of all his sculptures and mannequins are on display in his home town of Coventry and have already attracted tens of thousands of visitors. This is one of the outstanding highlights of Coventry’s City of Culture year.

Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken, at the Herbert supported by Coventry City of Culture Trust, was opened by influential artist duo Gilbert & George in February and ends on Sunday June 26 - giving people a few more weeks to see the exhibition during LGBTQIA+ History Month. 

Daniel Lismore’s work is rooted in political and social action, from advocating sustainable fashion to campaigning for climate change and LGBTQIA+ rights. During the run his exhibition has attracted stars of the fashion, music and media world, including Boy George.

The artist also made an appearance at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Party at the Palace catwalk show on June 4 amid a performance of Girls on Film by Duran Duran. He was wearing a Queen Elizabeth-inspired outfit by award-winning London College of Fashion costume design MA graduate Rachele Terrinoni.

Ruark Jon-Stevens, of the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: “The breath-taking work on display promotes Daniel’s ethos to unapologetically be yourself – a powerful message which has resonated with the thousands of people who have visited already. As the show enters its last few weeks, I urge as many people as possible to come and enjoy this unmissable exhibition.

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, describes Daniel Lismore as “a true home-grown icon, and superhero, whose distinctive style and artistic creations have been celebrated around the world in galleries, on stage, in TV/film and pop videos, and through fashion houses, but more importantly whose voice and activism are followed by young people and children celebrating difference and questioning what is happening in our world, encouraging a new generation of active citizens”.

Working with schools and universities and delivering online talks, the artist shares his personal story with communities from all backgrounds, genders and sexualities. He has recently been involved in campaigns to reform the 2014 Gender Recognition Act and to ban conversion therapy.

Highlights at the Herbert exhibition include a major installation An Army of My Life, which takes inspiration from the Terracotta Army. These 3D sculptures, each of which are modelled on the 6’4” artist including a cast of his face, are manifestations of Lismore’s life living as sculpture.

More than 60 life-size sculptures are fashioned in Lismore’s elaborate and extravagant ensembles, expressions of body adornment and conceptual thinking. They combine haute couture with items from his personal collection of nearly 7,000 unique curiosities, including charity-shop finds, yards of vintage fabrics and found objects. 

The exhibition also features The Prime Minister, a newly-commissioned sculpture which celebrates and platforms queer culture and made with the colours that make up the most recent rendition of the Progress Pride flag designed by Valentino Vecchietti.

Not only has Lismore exhibited around the world, and designed costumes for the English National Opera, he was also Creative Director of luxury label Sorapol where he dressed Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Naomi Campbell, Cara Delevingne, Adam Ant and Boy George among others. Many of the pieces designed for his celebrity clientele are on display in Coventry. 

Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken was first shown in 2016, co-curated by Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) Atlanta USA and exhibited at SCAD FASH: Museum of Fashion and Film. Exhibitions followed in Basel Miami, Iceland, Naples and Poland. 

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