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Striking exhibition celebrates artists of colour at DMU

Talented artists of colour from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are being celebrated in a striking exhibition on campus, thanks to one student’s initiative.

hope & optimism by Pasha Kincaid

Aware of the university’s commitment to diversify its art collections as part of Decolonising DMU, a movement which seeks to create an antiracist campus, final-year Fine Art student Pasha Kincaid surveyed students and shared her findings with DMU’s art curators.

Pasha said: “DMU is already doing a lot of work to better represent artists of colour, but there’s still a long way to go. We’re a minority within the school of arts and sometimes that can feel isolating.

“I wanted to do something that was reflective of our diverse city and campus, so I invited submissions and the result is Being Here, an exhibition about having a presence. It’s about experiencing the full university life and expressing ourselves as artists within that context.”

Being Here features a wide range of artwork from 21 Fine Art and Photography and Video undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni, including paintings, sculptures, photography, video and sound installations.

Eteranous by Jarvis Brookfield

Located across the Leicester Gallery atrium and the first floor of the staircase that joins the Vijay Patel Building’s Art Tower to the Design Wing, the exhibition is on display until the end of June.

Master’s student Jarvis Brookfield is showcasing Eteranous, an acrylic painting on wood developed through successive thin layers of paint to create a sense of dimension and life. It explores the energy and vitality accompanying visions that he has experienced.

“One of the most beautiful things about sharing my work among fellow Black, Asian and minority ethnic artists at DMU is that they haven’t let the colour of their skin define or limit them. The works that are in the show are diverse and express that deeply inherent human desire to create,” he said.

“I’m grateful to Pasha and the Leicester Gallery for gifting us this bright opportunity to present our work and share our story of what being human and ‘being here’ for us, is all about.

“I hope that the show will be a little gem of inspiration, and equally a reminder to people of any race, to follow their inclinations and curiosities wherever they may lead, because that inner voice transcends all illusory boundaries.”

Grandma’s Hands (po⁴ po⁴⁻² ge³ sau²) by Kristy Lee

Final- year student Kristy Lee is presenting a pair of gloves cast from her hands using liquid latex. Named Grandma’s Hands (po⁴ po⁴⁻² ge³ sau²), Kristy made the work on the one-year anniversary of her grandmother’s death.

She said: “Looking back, I don’t think I had processed her death and grieved properly, so I wanted to make artwork dedicated to her. The gloves are a representation of her hands as she grew sick.

“It took a lot for me to be vulnerable and exhibit my work because of the subject. Coming from an East Asian background, we don’t openly express our sorrow outside of the funeral wake, so I hope I can remind others of the importance and beauty of grieving.”

deconstructed by Grace Hamilton

Using herself as the subject matter, second-year student Grace Hamilton is sharing an oil painting on canvas called deconstructed, which is an abstract deconstruction of the human figure.

“I love the fact that we have this opportunity, but it’s bittersweet that we have to create our own spaces in order to be seen. I’m happy that more people are at least open to having these conversations, as Covid seems to have given people the chance to focus on real issues,” she said.

Coursemate Jasmine Kelly-gobuiwang is displaying a metal sculpture called Bin Hat Bag due to its resemblance to each of those objects. It incorporates waste products such as lids from tinned food, reflecting her minimalistic and ethical views.

She said: “This sculpture was a gateway to using DMU’s metal workshops and working with materials I’ve never used before. I didn’t get to experiment as much as I wanted to because of Covid, but I’m glad I could be sustainable by incorporating what I already had around me.”

Bin Hat Bag by Jasmine Kelly-gobuiwang

Curator of the exhibition Pasha is showcasing two prints. One is of the last piece of knitting her mother did before she passed away called Dropping Stitches and the other is a self-portrait called hope & optimism.

“The print of myself was particularly difficult to do as it was in response to George Floyd’s murder last year. I had to have challenging conversations with my children and it was a hard time to have hope,” she said.

Once she graduates this summer, Pasha is following in Jarvis’ footsteps to pursue a Fine Art MA. She said: “It’s been a really enriching experience so far. I chose DMU because of the amazing facilities and I’ve especially found the print studios to be second-to-none.”

Jarvis, who also completed his undergraduate degree at DMU, added: “I realised that the resources available to us at DMU are truly a gift. The library, the technicians, the workshops and the tutors are all invaluable for promoting growth and encouraging you to dive deeper into your ideas, so I wanted to extend that just a little longer.”

Posted on Wednesday 19th May 2021

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