© Shiyi Li, 2020

© Shiyi Li, 2020

Thirteen Ways of Looking

2 October – 13 December 2020. The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry

Thirteen Ways of Looking brings together 13 artists and curators, presenting works which challenge dominant narratives, where art belongs, where it’s experienced and who is being addressed.

Works by six early career artists from the West Midlands and seven established artists and curators have been selected, highlighting diverse forms of experience, knowledge and understanding, and exploring different strategies of resistance that overlap and intersect in the physical spaces of the gallery and digitally online.

The show includes six new commissions by artists from the West Midlands alongside selected key art works made by members of the Blk Art Group, highlighting its important connections to Coventry, including the initial meeting of group members Eddie Chambers and Keith Piper in the city 40 years ago.

The development of the exhibition has also included the facilitation of professional development and mentoring for the early career artists, to support and help them realise new work in uncertain times.

Participating artists and curators: Hira Butt, Eddie Chambers, Sonya Dyer, Andreana Fatta, Hyphen-Labs, Navi Kaur, Shama Khanna, Roshini Kempadoo, Shiyi Li, Farwa Moledina, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney and Matías Serra Delmar.

Thirteen Ways of Looking has been curated by Dr Sylvia Theuri through a New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curatorial Residency in partnership with and hosted by Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, in association with Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art.

#13waysoflooking

 

Participating artists and curators:

© Hira Butt, 2020

Hira Butts work explores ideologies of gender and cultural dominance, exploring the place of Pakistani women within marital and domestic spaces. Through personal experience and conversations with a number of married Pakistani women, the artist seeks to critique both the wedding day,  and the life promised that often does not materialise.

© Farwa Moledina, 2020.

Farwa Moledina works with pattern and textile, addressing issues surrounding feminism, faith, Muslim women and women of colour. She is interested in using pattern and textiles to challenge Western narratives and create pieces celebrating Muslim women, focusing on depicting iconic moments from the 21st century.

Andreana Fatta, Μια Aτελείωτη Συνομιλία (An Endless Conversation) 2020. Video still.

Andreana Fattas research-based practice is informed by Cypriot cultural displacement which she activates through archives; expressing colonisation, war, lost histories and identities. For this work, she will digitise photographs, home videos, letters and literature addressing Cyprus and its complex colonial history.

© Shiyi Li, 2020

Shiyi Lis work encompasses collaborative performances including contemporary jazz music, multi-screen animation projections, digital media and a live art performance. The work tells the story of a Chinese woman having recently migrated to a Western country, exploring the awakenings brought to her through her experience of entering a new space and location.

© Navi Kaur, 2020.

Navi Kaur focuses on the migrant experience, specifically around journeys, environment, storytelling and documentary. She explores the lives of her paternal grandparents encompassing their Sikh faith and daily regimes, working predominantly through the processes of digital photography, film and installation.

© Matías Serra-Delmar, 2020.

Matías Serra-Delmars work takes references from the raw materials found encircling construction sites in fast-growing cities across the world, to create both indoor and outdoor installations.  For this work the artist will create different site-specific installations in and around the Herbert Gallery. The idea behind this is to break up the exhibition space and decentre” the spectator from the usual way that the gallery space is utilised.

Keith Piper will be showing THIRTEEN DEAD 1981, created whilst he was a member of the BLK Art Group, in response to the New Cross Massacre – 1981 in which 13 young black people lost their lives in an apparent act of racist violence . Arrests were not made and there was a marked indifference by the white population, leading to protests from Black communities.

Donald Rodney (now deceased) will be represented by the work, Autoicon, a dynamic internet work and CD-ROM that simulates both the physical presence and elements of the creative personality of the artist Donald Rodney, who died from sickle-cell anaemia, o on loan from the artistsestate. He will also be represented by How the West Was Won on loan from the Tate. How the West was Won from 1982 was painted when Rodney was only 21 and a student at Nottingham Trent University.  It dates to a time when he was part of the BLK Art Group, group producing work that engaged directly with the socio-political issues of the time.

Roshini Kempadoo will be showing work from Virtual Exiles 1999-2000 This work explores the experiences of persons who have left their country of origin and who are now at homein another. Engaging with historical, family and contemporary photographs of Guyana. Kempadoo will also be showing Moove…[s]In solidarity new photographic prints created during the pandemic, addressing both the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement and protests.

Hyphen-Labs will be showing the VR piece NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism using VR to tell stories and centre the experiences of women of colour. Created partly as a response to Black Lives Matter in relation to the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling In the US, the VR work shows Black women as neuroscientists using the domain of the beauty salon as a rebel underground network for a radically new shared system of communication.

Eddie Chamberswork Deconstruction of the National Front, on loan from Tate, will be shown as part of the exhibition. Chambers was a founder member of the BLK Art Group in the early 1980s. Destruction of the National Front is a direct response to the appropriation of a national flag by a racist nationalist ideology. In the work Chambers makes use of the disruptive connotations of collage and montage to undo the association of the nation with fascism.

Sonya Dyer will be showing Hailing Frequencies Open – focussing on ongoing videos with Black women scientists. Hailing Frequencies Open (HFO), her current body of work, intersects the Greek myth of Andromeda, the dubious legacy of HeLa cells and actor Nichelle Nicolspioneering work in diversifying the NASA astronaut pool in the 1970s as the starting point for an exploration of Black female subjectivities within narratives of the future. HFO combines social justice with speculation, fantasy with the political.

Shama Khanna is the creator of Flatness a long-running commissioning and sharing platform. A website that showcases the work of a range of artists, allowing artwork to be seen outside of the gallery space. Shama Khanna will write a critical research piece about the site, looking at the ways in which through deconstruction and disorder it challenges the way audiences predominantly view and experience art within a white cube space.

An exhibition curated by Dr Sylvia Theuri.

A New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curatorial Residency in partnership with and hosted by Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, in association with Coventry Biennial.

 

Supported by

 

We are delighted to announce a brand new exhibition titled ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’, running at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, 2 October – 13 December. A New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curatorial Residency in partnership with and hosted by Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, in association with Coventry Biennial. Curated by Dr Sylvia Theuri.

Georgia Tucker, Terra Firma, VR installation, 2019

Georgia Tucker, Terra Firma, VR installation, 2019

Terra Firma (2019) by Georgia Tucker combines a physical and VR installation which explores the environmental crisis through different spaces. The installation is a narrow room that houses an immersive and interactive VR environment portraying a speculative future of increasing consumerism. Terra Firma exemplifies the artist’s concerns of our impact upon the natural environment and the production of man-made materials, represented respectively by woodland and plastic.

Further interaction with the work comes through a QR code, providing a weblink and narrative. The narrative is set 50 years in the future, where Georgia transports the viewer to Earth’s last natural woodland. A plastic netting ‘viewing’ barrier has been used to prevent further damage to the woodland. However, it has adapted, and thrives within the trees as an organism. The viewer is now encased within a compartmental maze and a natural soundscape, and is able to explore the tunnels and never-ending plastic structures. Whilst VR exposes the viewer to vulnerability, removing their sight and sound, the building provides a place of protection.

Georgia is a graduate of Birmingham City University. Her work, on display at The Row, was selected  by International Curators Forum for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Georgia Tucker’s virtual reality installation Terra Firma was selected by International Curators Forum for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. Her work is on display at The Row.

Ameera Sadiq, Untitled, 2019, mixed media installation

Ameera Sadiq, Untitled, 2019, mixed media installation

Ameera Sadiq is interested in how our perceived reality, constructed from our sensory input, can transform the perception of our environment. Her current sculptural assemblages aim to convey a sense of disconnectedness from reality, bearing a resemblance to a virtual world or out of body experience. The work has an otherworldly appearance marked by the intensity of luminescent colour schemes, and metallic and plastic surfaces that evoke futuristic and technological environments. Her practice draws inspiration from sci-fi cinematography, exploring unsettling dystopian worlds, where futuristic realities fail, when dreams and desires become questionable.

Drawings and collages allow Ameera to build a library of ideas that inform the construction of her sculptural installations. She employs an experimental approach to rethink and utilise everyday objects and materials by violating their intended use and depicting them serving an alternate purpose. Ameera frequently uses mass produced objects and materials to explore their technological capabilities.

Ameera’s installation is on view at the Lanchester Gallery, Graham Sutherland Building, Coventry University as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. She is a graduate of Birmingham City University.

 

Ameera Sadiq’s installation at The Lanchester Gallery is the subject of our next New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artist spotlight.

Betsy Bradley, Swing to Utsuroi, Acrylic on reclaimed canvas, found wood, hemp rope

Betsy Bradley, Swing to Utsuroi, Acrylic on reclaimed canvas, found wood, hemp rope

Betsy Bradley’s practice seeks to communicate an experience of the present moment, embodying a dialogue between thought and action. Paint acts as an extension of the artist’s body and mind, physically suspending impulsive gesture. Her meditative processes unify these elements of being; moments free from thought in which the paint takes on its own agency. Driven by discovery, Betsy deliberately evokes moments that lie on the cusp of becoming. Her use of found materials and improvised mark-making tools challenge the hierarchical connotations of traditional painting. Fluid interaction between loose canvas and found objects extends this gesture beyond mark making on to the painting as an object itself. Informed by their immediate surroundings, improvisational structures serve as both supports and sculptures in her practice that question conventional notions of painting display. Betsy relies on a reciprocal relationship with her environment; spontaneous responses to materials around her result in adaptable works that upend the expected functionality of object and artwork.

www.betsy-bradley.co.uk

Three of Betsy’s paintings are displayed at The Row. She is a recent graduate of Birmingham City University. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continues until 24 November 2019.

 

The painting-based practice of Betsy Bradley is the focus of today’s artist spotlight from New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Farwa Moledina, Not Your Fantasy II, Birmingham School of Art, 2018

Farwa Moledina, Not Your Fantasy II, Birmingham School of Art, 2018

Not Your Fantasy is a series of textile prints by Farwa Moledina concerned with re-appropriating and reclaiming Orientalist imagery of Muslim women. The work aims to unveil the voyeuristic tradition of Western male painters, whilst inviting viewers to question the prevalence of Orientalist stereotypes.

The image features a Muslim woman clad in white on a white background. The lack of colour negates all exotic and erotic Orientalist stereotypes, the only colour being the fabric. It is embroidered with the words ‘Not Your Fantasy’ and patterned with fragments of Ingres’ painting ‘La Grande Odalisque’, criticised for its appropriation and sexualisation of Eastern Culture. Not Your Fantasy is challenging and clearly directed at 19th Century Orientalist painters who created scenes of harems from their imagination and were fascinated by the otherness of the Eastern woman. Here, the subject’s gaze is challenging, opposing the vapid expressions of women found in Orientalist paintings.

www.farwamoledina.com

Not Your Fantasy is exhibited at The Row. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continues until 24 November 2019.

 

Today’s artist spotlight is Birmingham City University graduate, artist Farwa Moledina, whose work can be found at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Laura Onions, Writing Otherwise (after Marion Richardson), Screen print and acrylic paint on canvas

Laura Onions, Writing Otherwise (after Marion Richardson), Screen print and acrylic paint on canvas

Printmaking, writing and archival research are approaches through which Laura Onions explores the impacts of learning in relation to gender and feminist pedagogies. This responds to the ways language reproduces patterns of meaning. What we read and write situates identities and positions us socially and politically.

Laura’s recent work is focused on female educators/learners who fostered a caring, holistic approach towards education. Archival research into Marion Richardson (1892 – 1946) an artist/educator who transformed the manner in which children learn to write through pattern making, resulted in the series Writing Otherwise in which writerly patterns and textual elements meet one another in functional paintings.

Laura is interested in the spaces we create for ourselves and others. Images of women reading are a reoccurring theme in painting – particularly historical paintings by male artists. The ongoing series The Look of Reading uses painterly printmaking techniques to push the images towards abstraction. The figure and surrounding scene begin to merge, obscuring and shadowing to subvert/invert the male gaze.

A graduate of Birmingham City University, Laura is exhibiting several works across The Row and Bell Green Library in Coventry. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continues until 24 November 2019.

Laura Onions is the focus of our artist spotlight today. Her work can be found as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial at The Row and Bell Green Library in Coventry.

Hira Butt, Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter), Mixed media

Hira Butt, Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter), Mixed media

Hira Butt’s work revolves around the ideologies of gender and cultural dominance and her research on ‘Pak/Brit Mess’ – a self-defined term expressing a mixture of Pakistani and British culture – that has left empowering emotional and psychological effects on her personality.

Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter) is a series of bejewelled sculptures that reflect the complexities of domestic violence and contemporary slavery as a result of cultural transition. The series is a provocation to the commodification of life partners who are selected on the basis of property, exchange and domestic function rather than personality, aspiration or other human qualities. It reflects on expectations behind the selection and its potential fallout. The football, for instance, recognises globalised male dominance within the ‘beautiful game’ and incorporates feminised, domestic Pakistani decoration. The series is a confrontation of the pressures that enforced cultural differences or fictional differences can have on those that undergo tremendous cultural transition.

Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter) is exhibited at The Row. Hira is a graduate of Birmingham City University.

Artist Hira Butt is the subject of our artist spotlight today. Hira’s work was selected for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial by International Curators Forum.

Amy Guo, Free Time Acquired by Forgetting to Press Pause, screenshot

Amy Guo, Free Time Acquired by Forgetting to Press Pause, screenshot

Amy Guo’s practice works within the frame of digital technology, glitch, documentation and time, investigating our relationship to these phenomena. Digital material and space are explored through projection, video, painting and installation works. Amy views glitch as an unexpected intervention that prevents the normal function of modern technologies. It functions as an apparatus to distort human perception.

Works consider the ways in which our social interactions with others are mediated through technology and the visibility of our digital selves.  In some of her works, a common ground is established by creating a human voice-over video akin to Siri. Amy’s practice comments on the projection of human emotion and intellect on to virtual entities. This articulation of the non-human critically depends on the understanding of our human selves.

A graduate of Staffordshire University, Amy shows a painted work titled Free Time Acquired by Forgetting to Press Pause created via the app Now Then Time Tracking Pro at Arcadia gallery.

New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

Next in our artist spotlight series is Staffordshire University’s Amy Guo. Amy’s work is on display at Arcadia Gallery as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial selected by International Curators Forum.

Lily Wales, Mr owl ate my metal worm, Handmade photomontage

Lily Wales, Mr owl ate my metal worm, Handmade photomontage

Lily Wales’ work has previously explored the effect of language on the public perception of nuclear weapons through the names they have been allocated. This was the subject of the work shown in New Art West Midlands 2018 at AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

Lily’s new body of work aims to critique the presence that underwater nuclear weaponry has on our natural and political climate. The title ‘Mr owl ate my metal worm’ is a palindrome. The work refers to the sinking of HMS Coventry, a destroyer in the Royal Navy that was part of a pairing, unofficially termed Type 64, with the warship Broadsword. After being struck by Argentine bombs from a second wave of A-4 Skyhawks in 1982, HMS Coventry was sunk to the sea floor, taking its on-board weaponry and nineteen crew members with it.

www.lilywales.co.uk

Lily is a graduate of Birmingham City University. Her work is shown at The Lanchester Gallery and The Row, as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Lily Wales is today’s artist spotlight. Her work is shown at The Lanchester Gallery and The Row, as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. Her new body of work aims to critique the presence that underwater nuclear weaponry has on our natural and political climate.

Ewan Johnston, Prehistoric Hangover, 2019

Ewan Johnston, Prehistoric Hangover, 2019

Wolverhampton-based Ewan Johnston’s work is rooted in his life and the lives of people around him, while taking influence from historic narratives and myths. Ewan is concerned about what it means to be a young adult living today in a small city in England and describes his practice as political with a medium ‘p’. Working through painting, Ewan’s practice is focussed on colour, survival, joy, fear, humour and pain. He describes his practice as his purpose, his refuge and the way he is most comfortable expressing himself.

Ewan shows a selection of his acrylic paintings on canvas at The Row, a former NHS facility. His work Prehistoric Hangover (2019) is shown in one of the bathrooms open to Coventry Biennial visitors – a playful intervention that challenges and provokes.

Ewan is a graduate of Birmingham City University. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

 

Wolverhampton-based painter Ewan Johnston is the next of our New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artist spotlights. A selection of his work can be seen at The Row, a former NHS facility and Coventry Biennial venue.

Shiyi Li, Minister of Lonliness, Live performance and live collage, 2018

Shiyi Li, Minister of Loneliness, Live performance and live collage, 2018

Shiyi Li is a Chinese visual artist, animator and illustrator currently based in Birmingham. Her work Minister of Loneliness is a collaborative performance involving chamber music, animation and live art performances made in conjunction with international percussionist Gloria Yehilevsky and originally performed by Aisling Reilly. The composition expresses concerns around mental health issues, an area in which the artists share personal experiences.

The story divides into four chapters that explore the relationship between women and loneliness. The film combines poetic narrative and montage and addresses the impact of media and scale. The chapters mix animation, live collage, live drawing performances and live music, and tell a story of a woman who progresses from self-denial to emerging positivity.

Minister of Loneliness has been screened and performed internationally in 2018 and 2019 in Bangkok, Saint-Étienne, London and Birmingham. It is screened at the Lanchester Gallery throughout Coventry Biennial, with a special live performance taking place on 15 November at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum as part of New Art West Midlands’ No Limits, the launch of the visual arts strategy for the West Midlands.

shiyili.org

Shiyi is a graduate of Birmingham City University. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

Shiyi Li’s work is showing at The Lanchester Gallery, with a special live performance on 15 November as part of the launch event of New Art West Midlands’ visual arts strategy for the West Midlands.

Rosie Piercy, Give Him Up, flag, pole and fan

Rosie Piercy, Give Him Up, flag, pole and fan

Worcester-based Rosie Piercy deals with the redaction and transparency of public funds and personal debt. Her works are often specific to site and are frequently both critical and playful.

She is showing works at The Row and St Mary’s Guildhall. The first, a new work, consists of sky-blue helium filled balloons highlighting the cost of Coventry Biennial which slowly deflate during the course of the exhibition. A recent balloon sculpture Forever in Debt outlined the exact balance of her student loan and drew attention to the political issues of tuition fees and the socio-economic costs of education in Britain.

Extending her inquiries into the value of culture, Rosie’s flag sculpture Give Him Up, references memes, repetition and internet archives via the familiar face of 1980s pop icon Rick Astley.

www.rosiepiercyfineart.com

Rosie graduated from University of Worcester and was selected for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial by International Curators Forum.

New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

The next of our artist spotlight features is University of Worcester graduate Rosie Piercy, whose work is shown at The Row and St. Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry.

Matías Serra Delmar, No particular order, OSB boards, wood, sandbags

Matías Serra Delmar, No particular order, OSB boards, wood, sandbags

No particular order was exhibited as part of Matías Serra Delmar’s degree show at Hereford College of Arts, and was placed outside the main entrance of the Grade II listed brick building. No particular order is a large installation made on 11mm OSB boards, originally made with a total length of 56 foot, from wood and sandbags. Its variable length has now been reconfigured and takes up residence at The Row, cutting through its walls assertively and responding to this specific site.

No particular order utilises and references the raw, DIY materials that can be found encircling construction sites in fast-growing cities around the UK, with Coventry being no exception. The work also refers to the artist’s upbringing. Matías was raised in Argentina, where the socio-economic crisis meant that unfinished buildings could become a part of the day-to-day landscape for decades.

www.matiasserradelmar.co.uk

New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial continues in arts venues and historic sites across Coventry until Sunday 24 November 2019.

Matías Serra Delmar, our next New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artist spotlight, exhibits his work at The Row. Matías is a graduate of Hereford College of Arts.

Matt Gale, Soma, Plastic, silicone, steel and living organisms

Matt Gale’s Soma explores the idea of the body as an ecosystem and critically examines the commonly held notions of both bodies and ecosystems as discrete, contained and distinct. It is a gentle tease about our tendency to oversimplify and about the fetish for neatly categorising things, often as a means to more easily comprehend them.

Soma comprises a collection of vessels, some containing living organisms, others containing elements intended to represent either an organic or environmental system. Some vessels specifically reference research into bioremediation (using living organisms to digest pollutants we have created), including mealworm beetle larvae eating polystyrene and a water fern (Azolla) used to cleanse fresh water. Other vessels contain species that challenge notions of what is ‘natural’. The installation plays with the idea of oversimplification with individual species contained and displayed as if in a zoo, but it is problematised by the tubes linking vessels together.

www.mattgale.co.uk

Matt graduated from Birmingham City University. His work Soma can be found at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial until 24 November 2019.

 

Our next artist spotlight feature is on Matt Gale, an artist who graduated from Birmingham City University. His work Soma can be found at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Anna Katarzyna Domejko, Everyone grows a big toe nail from now on, Watercolour on textile, lino, pencil on the wall, agave plant (detail)

Anna Katarzyna Domejko, Everyone grows a big toe nail from now on, Watercolour on textile, lino, pencil on the wall, agave plant (detail)

Philosophies of power and wealth distribution inform Anna Katarzyna Domejko’s installation. The work emblematises a fictional scenario that places humans at odds with a ‘Big Toe Nail Tribe’. In the narrative, the two tribes find themselves unable to communicate with one another, situated on different sides of political, economic and social pivot points, with each having leverage against the other.

Composed of a series of paintings and found objects, the installation’s centrepiece is a fulcrum point comprised of layers of household lino. It is crowned by an agave plant, a species which is resilient and requires little resource to survive. The artist’s aim is that the work be observed from different locations in the gallery space, depending upon your perspective and upon the tribe you choose.

Anna, a graduate of Birmingham City University, is exhibiting at the Lanchester Gallery as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. The exhibition continues until Sunday 24 November 2019.

 

Anna Katarzyna Domejko is our next artist spotlight. Her installation, comprising of paintings and sculptural pieces, is on show at The Lanchester Gallery as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Sarah Byrne, Margins of Margins, Overhead projector, prints on acetate and found material

Sarah Byrne, Margins of Margins, Overhead projector, prints on acetate and found material

Interested in memories, nostalgia, narratives and truth, Sarah Byrne’s work forms a reflection of experiences growing up in England as a British girl with an Asian mother. Using and re-using imagery from her mother’s old photo albums showing Sarah’s childhood trips to the Philippines, her practice forms a process of recalling, realising, and questioning the events, exchanges and associations which have contributed to what she describes as a separation in her two national identities.

The work questions what she remembers, versus what she thinks she does, and examines the extent to which memories may glitch, malfunction or overwrite. The imagery explores the extent to which visibility, fade, and blur relate to ethnographical trends of ‘Whiteness’, particularly the proclivity of Western idealisation within South-East Asia. Sarah relates this to her own muddled young memories of feeling tokenised by both sides.

Sarah is a graduate from University of Wolverhampton and has recently been awarded a residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall from February – April 2020.

Sarah’s work is exhibited at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. The exhibition continues across arts venues and heritage sites in Coventry until 24 November 2019.

 

 

 

Our next artist spotlight is Sarah Byrne, a graduate from University of Wolverhampton, who is showing at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. Her work forms a reflection of experiences growing up in England as a British girl with an Asian mother.

Mengxia Liu, Stefania Reportage Illustration, Gouache, watercolour and coloured pencil on paper

Mengxia Liu, Stefania Reportage Illustration, Gouache, watercolour and coloured pencil on paper

Mengxia Liu’s work explores the collision of multiculturalism in public spaces in different locations around the world. Combining reportage and documentary illustration with an anthropological approach, her research investigates multiple narratives, both explicit and hidden, that can be found in marketplaces. Mengxia employs techniques and methodologies from a cross-cultural perspective to create an ongoing and dynamic record of an ever-changing community that reflects on the multi-layered histories, textures and communities of the market as a site of commerce and diversity.

Stefania Reportage Illustration, is the result of a live project that took place at the 11th Saint-Étienne Biennale of Design in France in March 2019. During this residency period Mengxia observed the ways visitors of different cultural backgrounds interacted with the city’s exhibits and documented the biennale community and culture in the form of detailed reportage illustrations.

Mengxia’s painting is exhibited at Coventry University’s Lanchester Gallery, located within their Graham Sutherland building, as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

She is a recent graduate of Birmingham City University and currently an artist in residence at Grand Union.

www.liumengxia.com/ 

 

Our next Artist Spotlight is on Mengxia Liu whose work explores the collision of multiculturalism in public spaces in different locations around the world. She is a recent graduate of Birmingham City University and currently an artist in residence at Grand Union.

We are excited to announce the appointment of Sylvia Theuri as New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curator in Residence. Hosted by Culture Coventry at the city’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, the role will see Sylvia work with 6 artists from New Art West Midlands’ 2019 graduate cohort, across a year of bespoke professional development activity, leading up to an exhibition of new work by those artists at the Herbert Art Gallery in autumn 2020.

 

 

Sylvia’s post has been made possible through partnership with the Herbert Art Gallery and International Curators Forum, as part of a New Art West Midlands programme supporting new talent and perspectives funded by Arts Council England. The partnership with International Curators Forum brings access to international networks and contexts – part of a distinctive professional development package that aims to create pathways into future opportunities for Sylvia and for the artists involved.

 

Sylvia notes: “I am excited to have taken on the role of Curator in Residence and to be a part of shaping the developing arts and culture in the city of Coventry where I live and call home. It is of great importance that we foster the visibility of and engagement with the visual arts to new and varied audiences, by ensuring that visual art spaces are not seen as ‘uninhabitable spaces’ but rather as welcoming and comfortable”.

 

Talking about working with artists to support new work relating to Coventry, Sylvia says: “I am very much looking forward to working with a cohort of New Art West Midlands 2019 artists to help shape their professional development across the course of the next year towards a new exhibition in 2020”.

 

Craig Ashley, Director of New Art West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to announce Sylvia’s appointment and look forward to working with her over the next 12 months. She brings a distinctive approach and perspective, with ambitions to support and reflect the region’s very best talent.”

 

Notes for editors:

 

About Sylvia Theuri Dr Sylvia Theuri is an art educator, researcher and artist with comprehensive knowledge and experience in critical arts education theory and practice. Sylvia holds a PhD from the University of Salford, which focused on Black African students’ experiences of higher education art and design. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion issues in Art and Design education; Race, Identity and the African diaspora; Contemporary African Art and the Black Arts Movement. Recent publications include a book chapter; ‘Critical Race Theory and its Relationship to Art Education’ in Towards an Inclusive Arts Education.

 

About New Art West Midlands

New Art West Midlands is the contemporary visual arts network for the region. The network plays a leading role in bringing people together to support, promote and develop the region’s contemporary visual arts sector, both within the region and at a national level. We create defining opportunities for artists and arts professionals to develop their practices through a distinctive, critically-engaged programme, including the New Art West Midlands exhibition for recent graduates, and Engine, a region-wide professional development programme for artists and curators. New Art West Midlands is part of the national Contemporary Visual Arts Network. We are supported by Arts Council England and the lead partners are Birmingham City University and The New Art Gallery Walsall. Further support is provided by our partners Coventry University, Hereford College of Arts, University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester, as well as Staffordshire University.

 

About Culture Coventry Culture Coventry is the trust that manages three of Coventry’s finest visitor attractions: Coventry Transport Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of British road transport, including the two fastest cars in the world; the award-winning Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which celebrates the city’s culture, history and arts; and the Lunt Roman Fort, a fully excavated and partially reconstructed turf and timber fort, including the only gyrus in the Roman Empire. Between them, the attractions proudly tell stories of Coventry’s unique history to over 800,000 visitors per year from around the world.

 

About International Curators Forum International Curators Forum develops and offers professional development opportunities for artists and curators, which include curating exhibitions and events that address diasporic culture in a global context; connecting professionals around the world through organised international networking trips and residencies. Past projects include the 2016-2017 international knowledge-sharing platform ‘Curating the International Diaspora,’ and the 2016-2018 professional development programmes ‘Diaspora Pavilion’ and ‘Beyond the Frame.’

 

 

 

Sylvia Theuri appointed as New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curator in Residence at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery.

Farwa Moledina, ‘Interwoven’, 2018, Ways of Belonging, Ort Gallery at Midlands Art Centre

We are excited to announce the New Art West Midlands 2019 artists, selected by International Curators Forum:

Betsy Bradley, Hira Butt, Sarah Byrne, Gemma Costin, Anna Katarzyna Domejko, Andreana Fatta, Matt Gale, Amy Guo, Ewan Johnston, Navi Kaur, Shiyi Li, Mengxia Liu, Farwa Moledina, Tayyibah Mota, Laura Onions, Ameera Sadiq, Matías Serra Delmar, Rosie Piercy, Georgia Tucker and Lily Wales.

Farwa Moledina, ‘Interwoven’, 2018, Ways of Belonging, Ort Gallery at Midlands Art Centre 

  • New Art West Midlands returns for 2019 with a new cohort of 20 artists, recent graduates from the region’s art schools and creative Higher Education courses.
  • In collaboration with Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, a new exhibition model introduces artists in arts venues and historic sites across Coventry.
  • Selected by International Curators Forum, a new programme supports creative practice development for the region’s brightest new talent.
  • New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art runs 4 October – 24 November 2019

This autumn New Art West Midlands returns with a new model, working in collaboration with Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art to introduce an exciting group of artists across the city.  From traditional arts venues to unexpected spaces and public places, the exhibition aims to reach new audiences and show the value of creativity as Coventry moves closer to its tenure as UK City of Culture in 2021.

Selected by International Curators Forum, the artists are recent graduates from the West Midlands’ art schools and creative Higher Education programmes. The region has a rich offer and heritage when it comes to art education; New Art West Midlands is a partnership with the leading institutions to celebrate the talented individuals emerging from undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes.

Applications were received from over one hundred artists, representing recent graduates from Birmingham City University, Coventry University, University of Wolverhampton, University of Worcester, Staffordshire University and Hereford College of Arts.

The selection panel included a delegation from International Curators Forum, including Adelaide Bannerman, Cindy Sissokho and Jessica Taylor alongside Ryan Hughes, the founder and director of Coventry Biennial. International Curators Forum’s highly acclaimed Diaspora Pavilion featured as part of the Venice Biennale in 2017, and has informed the direction of New Art West Midlands 2019 as a professional development programme.

In addition to participation in Coventry Biennial, a smaller cohort from these 20 artists will be selected to work with an appointed curator on a yearlong professional development programme. This intensive period will support practice-based skills toward the development of new work for a further curated exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery (Culture Coventry) in autumn 2020. Speaking about the selection and quality of submissions, Jessica Taylor commented: “International Curators Forum is thrilled to be partnering with New Art West Midlands, Coventry Biennial and Herbert Art Gallery on this important opportunity to support a cohort of recently-graduated emerging artists and a curator from the West Midlands.

“We are excited that the Diaspora Pavilion model has influenced the development of this programme, which champions diversity and the professional development of emerging practitioners in the region. The connections made and exposure gained by the 20 selected artists as a result of their inclusion in this Biennial stands to be of great importance during this moment of transition in their careers, and we look forward to working closely with some of the artists as they continue on in the programme alongside a selected curator in 2020.”

Highlights include new large-scale installations, sculpture, photography, video, paintings, drawings and digital artworks, exploring themes of cultural identity, technologies and the environment among others. Sarah Byrne’s (University of Wolverhampton) work reflects on experiences growing up in England as British girl with an Asian mother. Her projections use imagery from her mother’s old photo albums of childhood trips to the Philippines to question the events and exchanges that have contributed to a separation in her two national identities.

“I am a renegade botanist” declares Gemma Costin (Hereford College of Arts). Her travelling seedpod is a repurposed caravan that used to be called home, now transformed into a space to interrogate ideas of nature and biophilia.

Amy Guo (Staffordshire University) investigates the relationship between human and digital technologies. Works consider the ways in which our social interactions with others are mediated through technology and the visibility of our digital selves.

Farwa Moledina’s (Birmingham City University) series of prints on paper and textile are concerned with re-appropriating and reclaiming Orientalist imagery of Muslim Women. In today’s postcolonial, globalised world, refugees, immigrants and persons of dual culture often find themselves caught between tradition, integration and redefinition of their complex identities.

Through film, photography and mixed media, Tayyibah Mota (Coventry University) considers the Hijab. Her work seeks to display the tradition within and opposition to this Muslim practice, whilst sharing personal experiences of some of the British Muslim women who wear them.

Rosie Piercy (University of Worcester) deals with the very current issue of tuition fees and the cost of education in Britain. Her sculpture ‘Forever in Debt’ consists of helium filled balloons highlighting the exact balance of her student loan as they slowly deflate.

Ryan Hughes, director of Coventry Biennial, commented: “We are really delighted by the work we have selected and are looking forward to bringing it to Coventry to share with audiences. The professional development focus of New Art West Midlands aligns strongly with our vision for a social and critically engaged biennial for the region. The unique and inclusive new model they have built will create deeply meaningful opportunities for these artists in the West Midlands and beyond.”

Now in its seventh year, the New Art West Midlands exhibition programme is established as an important aid in developing the careers of artists. With 200 artists involved since 2013, previous exhibitors have seen their work purchased for the national Arts Council Collection and have gone on to achieve solo exhibitions in respected galleries.

New Art West Midlands 2019

Various venues across Coventry, 4 October – 24 November 2019.

 www.newartwestmidlands.co.uk

 

 

Notes for editors:

The New Art West Midlands 2019 exhibition is supported by Arts Council England, Birmingham City University, Coventry University, University of Worcester, University of Wolverhampton, Hereford College of the Arts and Staffordshire University, developed in partnership with Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, Culture Coventry and International Curators’ Forum.

 

Partners New Art West Midlands 2019:

About Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art:

Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art brings critically engaged, high quality contemporary visual art to the city and surrounding area. Celebrating and promoting contemporary art and artists, the festival is equally rooted in the city of Coventry, its history and its future. The first Biennial took place 6 – 22 October 2017 in venues across the city, the centre-piece being the sprawling CET Building, now under redevelopment. 2019 is the Biennial’s second iteration, with the third taking place in 2021 as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture year.

About International Curators Forum: 

International Curators Forum develops and offers professional development opportunities for artists and curators, which include curating exhibitions and events that address diasporic culture in a global context; connecting professionals around the world through organised international networking trips and residencies. Past projects include the 2016-2017 international knowledge-sharing platform ‘Curating the International Diaspora,’ and the 2016-2018 professional development programmes ‘Diaspora Pavilion’ and ‘Beyond the Frame.’

About Culture Coventry:
Culture Coventry
is the trust that manages three of Coventry’s finest visitor attractions: Coventry Transport Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of British road transport, including the two fastest cars in the world; the award-winning Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which celebrates the city’s culture, history and arts; and the Lunt Roman Fort, a fully excavated and partially reconstructed turf and timber fort, including the only gyrus in the Roman Empire. Between them, the attractions proudly tell stories of Coventry’s unique history to over 800,000 visitors per year from around the world.

  About New Art West Midlands:
New Art West Midlands is the contemporary visual arts network for the region. The network plays a leading role in bringing people together to support, promote and develop the region’s contemporary visual arts sector, both within the region and at a national level. They create defining opportunities for artists and arts professionals to develop their practices through a distinctive, critically-engaged programme, including the New Art West Midlands exhibition for recent graduates, and Engine, a region-wide professional development programme for artists and curators. New Art West Midlands is part of the national Contemporary Visual Arts Network. They are supported by Arts Council England and the lead partners are Birmingham City University and The New Art Gallery Walsall. Further support is provided by their partners Coventry University, Hereford College of Arts, University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester, as well as Staffordshire University.

We are excited to announce the New Art West Midlands 2019 artists, selected by International Curators Forum:

Betsy Bradley, Hira Butt, Sarah Byrne, Gemma Costin, Anna Katarzyna Domejko, Andreana Fatta, Matt Gale, Amy Guo, Ewan Johnston, Navi Kaur, Shiyi Li, Mengxia Liu, Farwa Moledina, Tayyibah Mota, Laura Onions, Ameera Sadiq, Matías Serra Delmar, Rosie Piercy, Georgia Tucker and Lily Wales.

Beyond the Frame Curators Masterclass at Haus der Kunst, Munich (February 2017). Image courtesy International Curators Forum.

Hosted by Culture Coventry at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
In partnership with International Curators Forum

Beyond the Frame Curators Masterclass at Haus der Kunst, Munich (February 2017). Image courtesy International Curators Forum.

In partnership with the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and International Curators Forum, we are welcoming applications from curators, in particular those from underrepresented backgrounds, to develop a New Art West Midlands exhibition for autumn 2020.

Hosted by Culture Coventry at the city’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, we are looking for a dynamic individual with the vision and ambition to reflect the West Midlands’ visual arts in the widest sense.

The role is supported by International Curators Forum, bringing access to international networks and contexts – part of a distinctive professional development package that aims to create pathways into future opportunities.

Resulting in an exhibition of depth and relevance, and benefitting a broad constituency of diverse artists and audiences, the curator will apply a distinctive approach and perspective that extends beyond the mainstream to represent the region’s very best talent.

Applications should be submitted via our online application portal

Deadline 5pm, Monday 5 August 2019

 

Context

Coventry will be the UK’s City of Culture in 2021. Our project is part of a strategic collaboration with Coventry City Council, Coventry University and the Coventry Art Forum (CAF) focused on raising the profile and quality of visual arts in the city – both in the run up to, and beyond, 2021. Together our ambition is to significantly increase the reach, visibility and impact of the visual arts to new audiences.

Background

Established in 2013 as an annual survey exhibition featuring new graduates from the region’s art schools, New Art West Midlands has been successful in supporting the development of early career practitioners. Our new model puts risk-taking and partnerships at the core. Moving from a multi-city approach showing graduate work, the new model supports production of new work by early career artists alongside established practitioners, responding to a single city context (Coventry) and curatorial focus through a dedicated Curator in Residence. The single city approach increases our ability to engage audiences in a holistic way with visual arts practice, bringing greater depth and impact to the visitor experience.

Partners

Our partnership with the Herbert and International Curators Forum ensures excellence, and brings experience of delivering projects at the highest level. Culture Coventry through the Herbert has a long track record of supporting and presenting contemporary art. Among a range of other projects, International Curators Forum’s Diaspora Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale received acclaim for challenging the prevalence of national pavilions within international biennial exhibitions. Together, our work aims to support regional talent within a global context.

Expectations

The Curator in Residence opportunity has been created to support a curator to work closely with the team at the Herbert. Through a professional and critical dialogue, the successful candidate will contribute to the shape of a wider programme for Culture Coventry.

The Curator in Residence will be expected to:

  • Devise, plan and revise where necessary with partners an outline of a personal work plan for the year, that considers key tasks and objectives on a quarterly basis which will include on/ offsite working from the Herbert
  • Research and curate a group exhibition for the Herbert for autumn 2020
  • Work directly with 6 pre-selected artists from New Art West Midlands 2019 graduate cohort, supporting the development of new work for presentation, and lead in identifying and selecting 6 mid-career artists from the region who have established national and international recognition for their practice
  • Identify and apply for additional sources of income with support from New Art West Midlands and our partners
  • Engage with New Art West Midlands’ Engine – the professional development programme for the region – through studio visits/portfolio sessions and the Curatorial Research Group
  • Advocate visual arts practice and curatorial excellence in the region

 

Fees and resources

  • Curatorial Fee of £7,500 (fixed)
  • Travel and accommodation expenses available up to £1,500
  • A working space at the Herbert, with support from curatorial and technical teams
  • Professional Development support through International Curators Forum and regional Curatorial Research Group

Timeline

  • Deadline: 5 August 2019
  • Interviews: Coventry, Friday 16 August 2019
  • Residency timeframe: October 2019 – October 2020*
  • Exhibition: September – November 2020

(*attendance in Coventry will be required at key stages, and agreeable upon appointment)  

Eligibility

  • This opportunity is open to curators with an aim to support professional development by enabling access to exhibition space, resources, audiences and professional networks.
  • Curators based in, or affiliated with, the West Midlands are eligible to apply.
  • The Curator in Residence will be selected based on the strength of their application and interview, and evidence of their ability to deliver in the role.
  • We particularly want to address the imbalances in representation within the sector; we will prioritise applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, those who identify as Deaf/Disabled and/or LGBTQI, or practitioners whose work is intersectional in approach.

Applications

  • Applications should be made via our online application portal, and include the following information*:
  • A statement (between 500 and 1000 words) describing your interest in the Curator in Residence opportunity, the benefits to your practice, and an indication of how you might approach the brief.
  • A short description (250 – 500 words) of a key exhibition or project that you have previously developed, delivered or contributed to.
  • An outline of specific skills you hope to develop, what you feel your professional development needs are and/or possible mentoring you would like to get out of the experience.
  • Your CV.
  • A maximum of 4 images and supporting web links.
  • A completed Equalities Monitoring Form.

 

* We are committed to widening access to our opportunities. Audio or video recorded applications may be submitted via Vimeo or YouTube by those facing barriers in applying. Financial support is available to support access costs relating to the application.
If you have any support requirements or would like to discuss access, please do get in touch with: info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk or telephone 0121 300 4309.

 

About New Art West Midlands

New Art West Midlands is the Contemporary Visual Arts Network for the region. Our purpose is to strengthen and develop the contemporary visual arts sector in the West Midlands, creating defining opportunities for West Midlands’ artists and curators, and working collectively to safeguard the future of artists and our sector.

About Culture Coventry

Culture Coventry is the trust that manages three of Coventry’s finest visitor attractions: Coventry Transport Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of British road transport, including the two fastest cars in the world; the award-winning Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which celebrates the city’s culture, history and arts; and the Lunt Roman Fort, a fully excavated and partially reconstructed turf and timber fort, including the only gyrus in the Roman Empire. Between them, the attractions proudly tell stories of Coventry’s unique history to over 800,000 visitors per year from around the world.

About International Curators Forum (ICF)

Since 2007 International Curators Forum has developed and offered professional development opportunities for artists and curators: connecting professionals at all stages of their career around the world through its programme of organised international networking trips, masterclasses, residencies and mentoring. The 2016/18 programmes Beyond The Frame and Diaspora Pavilion were nationally and internationally notable for their innovative proposals and approaches towards addressing professional development and cultural diversity.

ICF also curates exhibitions and events that address diasporic culture in a global context, selected projects include: Tactical Interventions (Venice, Kassel, Munster, Istanbul, 2007), The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age (Sydney Biennial, 2010), Caribbean Pavilion (Liverpool Biennial 2010), Curating the International Diaspora (Martinique, Barbados, Sharjah, Gwangju 2016/17), and Diaspora Pavilion (Venice/Wolverhampton 2017/18)

Hosted by Culture Coventry at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum In partnership with International Curators Forum In partnership with