Kevin Coyne exhibition at Déda

Oh%20BabyMusician, painter and writer Kevin Coyne was a cult figure able to command great loyalty in his fans, family and friends.

It is the tenth anniversary of death of the Derby born creative force next month and as a celebration of his life a major exhibition of his work is being launched in the city.

Happy Little Fat Man – The Art of Kevin Coyne, is the idea of a group of enthusiasts and supporters including his lifelong friend Paul Warren and his artist pals David Manley and Doug Smith.

They raised money, largely from fans, via a crowdfunding website to bring over 50 paintings and drawings from Germany where Kevin was living when he died aged 60 and they are staging an exhibition at Déda from November 21until March 28.

Kevin was an important player in the contemporary music scene in the late 1960s and 70s.

He was championed by John Peel and earned the admiration of Johnny Rotten and Sting.  He really is one of the city’s most creative and widely recognised artists of the 20th century.

Alongside his prodigious musical output (over 40 albums) he continued to paint, draw and write throughout his life and the exhibition will cover all facets of his amazingly fertile mind.

He was educated at the Joseph Wright School of Art from 1957-61 and studied graphics and painting at Derby School of Art from 1961-65. In the early days he was also performing – mostly in folk clubs – where even before he turned professional he could provoke extreme reactions from his audience.

In his latter years he moved to Germany where he had become popular and was still touring and performing right up to his death despite the restrictions of the lung fibrosis that killed him.

Throughout that time though he stayed in contact with his friends back home and they are determined that he is remembered here for what he achieved.

“Paul Warren asked me if I would help out with the project and we aim to do him the justice of proper recognition in the city of his birth. This is the first ever exhibition of Kevin’s artwork covering his whole career and we want to make it a really positive experience,” said David Manley, who is a renowned artist, curator and lecturer working out of Harrington Mill Studios.

“Our passion has been recognised and supported by both Stephen Munn, Déda’s director and Professor Huw Davies, Dean of the College of Arts at the University of Derby,” he added.

Alongside the display at the dance centre in Chapel Street the university will host more work including rarely seen and unseen footage of Kevin in performance and discussing his work. Professor Davies said: “It really is fitting that Kevin should be celebrated here as he was a student here for four years.”

Stephen Munn added that the exhibition in the newly extended dance centre was sure to attract national and international attention.

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