If you find yourself wandering through Wolverhampton over the next couple of weeks, and have ten minutes to spare, nip into the Central Library, head upstairs, and take a look at the ‘One Ring to Bind Them’ exhibition. It’s a series of iconic portrait photographs and interviews with wrestlers – veterans who’ve been at it for decades and youngsters who are still learning the art – who have spent their lives entertaining audiences in venues across Walsall.
Their stories are fascinating, and the portraits – by Wolverhampton photographer Nicole Lovell – are breathtakingly beautiful. The whole project was made possible through support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed putting the whole thing together. It’s been an absolute privilege to talk to the wrestlers involved, and learn a little more about the world of British wrestling.
The exhibition is on show at the Central Library until February 22nd. It then moves to Darlaston Town Hall for a special one-day event on Sunday 23rd, when wrestling fans are invited to bring any old programmes, posters, or mementoes they have of wrestling in Walsall over the decades. We’ll be photographing these and including them in an online archive. There’ll be exhibition wrestling on the day, too.
If you can’t make it to either venue, you can still pick up copies of the free newspaper which accompanies this project in pubs, shops, and libraries across Wolverhampton and Walsall. So even if you can’t find time to have a gander at the exhibition you can still take one home. It beats reading the Metro, after all.