DRAWINGS by leading artists Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and David Hockney are part of a national touring exhibition making its first stop in the region.

A British Museum touring exhibition, Pushing Paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now, is opened at Durham University’s Oriental Museum.

It shows how contemporary artists are increasingly returning to drawing, one of the oldest forms of human creativity, to examine the modern world, on topics ranging from gender and political activism to belonging and human sexuality.

The exhibition opened at the British Museum in London from September 2019 to January and will also take in Orkney, Wales and Yorkshire.

In a first for the British Museum, its curators worked with counterparts from partner museums to choose the exhibition’s themes and content, including those at Durham University.

The exhibition comprises 56 works from the British Museum’s collection, alongside works from Durham University’s collection.

Leading artists featured include Rachel Whiteread, Sol LeWitt and Anish Kapoor. There are also pieces by emerging artists Hamid Sulaiman and Rachel Duckhouse. Many artworks are on display for the first time, including work by Gwen Hardie, Jonathan Callan and Jan Vanriet.

Also included will be art by students at Durham Sixth Form Centre, who were invited to submit drawings inspired by the themes of the exhibition.

Isabel Seligman, Bridget Riley Art Foundation Curator of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, said: “Over the past 50 years the definition of drawing has continually expanded, pushing the limits of what a drawing can mean and be. Drawings in the exhibition encroach on territories traditionally associated with mediums including sculpture, land art and even performance.

“This exciting opportunity to see a lesser-known aspect of the British Museum’s collection demonstrates the significance of drawing to some of the most important contemporary artists from across the globe.”

Liz Waller, director of library and collections at Durham University, said: “We are very proud to be welcoming this inspiring exhibition to Durham University and the Oriental Museum. It includes works by household names of the contemporary art world and we are pleased to be hosting them here in the North-East.”

Alix Collingwood-Swinburn, Curator of Western Art at Durham University, co-curated the exhibition. She said: ‘The opportunity to work so closely with the British Museum’s Prints & Drawings department and their outstanding collections through the National Programmes has been an absolutely invaluable and unparalleled experience. The collaborative process created a supportive environment in which to research, curate and learn.”

Grayson Perry, who is a Trustee of the British Museum, added: “Since the dawn of time, drawing has been and still is, a vital and central component of visual art. How else would I get an image out of my head and into the world?”

Pushing Paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now is generously supported by the Bridget Riley Art Foundation. It is at Durham University’s Oriental Museum until Sunday May 17.

The Oriental Museum is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, and weekends and Bank Holidays, 12pm to 5pm.

Entry costs £1.50 for adults, 75p for over 60s and children aged five and over. Family tickets for two adults and three children are priced £3.50. Entry is free for children under five.

A range of learning and engagement activities are planning during the exhibition period, including a drawing weekend and family activities.