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Over The Influence: Sidney + Matilda show looks at drugs and art

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A detail from a work by Sebastian Schager

A new exhibition opens on Thursday at the Sidney + Matilda gallery looking at the connection between drugs, street art and the law.

Over The Influence runs from 18 April to 11 May and features work by local artists including Jo Peel, Tom J Newell and Bevan Richardson.

The starting point may seem contentious but that's exactly the reason why exhibitions such as this should exist

"Sheffield has a rich heritage when it comes to street art," co-curator Al Daw said. "I wanted to showcase that alongside internationally recognised artists and begin a wider conversation about outsider art in the gallery context."

The show will feature work that explores themes including the illegality of drug possession, as well as the history of art made under the influence of drugs.

Drug experiences have inspired the creation of art since the early twentieth century. Infamously, both Pablo Picasso and André Masson used opium to create surreal paintings that explored the subconscious.

The exhibition was inspired by rumours that the gallery building used to house a cannabis factory.

"The starting point may seem contentious but that's exactly the reason why exhibitions such as this should exist," said Daw.

Over The Influence also includes work by co-curator Vinnie Nylon, London graffiti artist Ellannah Sadkin, and surrealist painter Fem Sorcell.

Named after its location on the corner of Sidney Street and Matilda Street, Sidney + Matilda gallery is independent and all work shown is for sale.

"I'm immensely excited by the potential of the gallery. This show highlights the ambitions of Sidney + Matilda in housing progressive, completely independent contemporary art exhibitions." said Daw.

Sam Gregory

Over The Influence runs from 18 April to 11 May at Sidney + Matilda. Entry is free.

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