The next generation of artists, designers and creative entrepreneurs are ready to reveal their talents – and you can take a look!
An epic new exhibition, showcasing over 500 innovative works from the bright new stars of art and design, the Leeds Arts University Show 2020 is here. This is the university’s first-ever online undergraduate degree show, and oh my, have they gone big. A digital showcase of massive proportions, it brings the work of 500 hard-working students together in one inspirational exhibition. Each student has chosen a piece that best expresses their talent, embodies their passion, and is quite literally, the culmination of three years of creative study.
With ten different courses represented in the show, including animation, illustration, graphic design, fashion, textiles and photography, you’ll find inspiration in every form. From Emma Williams’ traditional animated folk tale to Raphael Dada’s use of fine art to question the omission of black artists through history, not only do these students have something to say, but they’ve found beautiful ways to do it. Some have even taken the pandemic as a starting point for their work.
The Leeds Arts University Show is a momentous occasion for these students – a final hurrah, if you will. But for you? It provides an exciting opportunity to tune into the individual voices of young artists who have been encouraged throughout their time at university to question the norm, experiment with form and create utterly unique art that responds to the world in radical ways.
Zone in on your favourite art form, dive into pieces at random, or methodically work your way through the 500-strong collection. Each showcase includes a single image or film, alongside a personal statement, and the variety is immense.
Take Taz Dorodi’s final work for her BA (Hons) in Fashion Design, for example. She grew up in Iran where fashion has always been a form of protest – if you break from convention, you break the law, so fashion has become a form of resistance. That social inequality, combined with the ability of clothing to challenge norms, led her to create a collection that’s masculine yet feminine, traditional and yet contemporary. Printed scarves inspired by Hijabs are paired with sharp tailoring to create a sense of fashion, not just as clothes, but as power.
For Sophie Panteli, the magic of animation lies not in the foreground, but in the background. She’s fascinated by the details of background art and sets, by their ability to shape a story without ever stepping into the limelight. Her showcase, ‘The Diner’, is a wonderfully evocative homage to her curiosity for world building – a detailed stop motion set that utilises light to summon true atmosphere.
That’s the beauty of the Leeds Arts University Show – it’s not simply the visual appeal or the artistic skill, it’s a platform for up-and-coming artists to share what inspires them and an invitation for you to tumble down that rabbit hole right alongside them.
For her BA (Hons) in Photography, Kelsey Evans was drawn to the world of pigeon racing – a once-popular sport now massively in decline. Despite its competitive nature, she used documentary photography to capture its softer side – telling the story of the sport through her images. It explores the relationship between man and bird, revealing the time, effort and trust that goes into raising a loft of pigeons.
Now our graduates too, are flying the nest. Having been nurtured over the past three years with industry access, media opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities, these graduates are ready to follow in the footsteps of fellow Leeds Art University alumni like Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Damien Hirst. No pressure!
It’s been a year of change, of uncertainty, of adaptation. But Programme Director, Duncan Harrison, has no doubt their students will go forth to carve their own unique paths in the post-Covid world. “It can be tempting to be all too pessimistic about the future, but in change there is opportunity for new approaches,” he explained. “Our students have the fortitude, expression and resilience to emerge from this and be the creative entrepreneurs of the future, and it is with great anticipation I look forward to seeing their success”.
Leeds Arts University Show 2020 is on until 30th September 2020 and it’s totally free, so take a look!