Young artistic talent showcased in new exhibition at the Stanley & Audrey Burton gallery

Every year those of us living in and around Leeds are lucky enough to get a glimpse of some of the latest young talent on the visual arts scene, thanks to the annual FUAM Graduate Art Prize exhibition.

Supported by the Friends of University Art & Music (FUAM), the prize, now in its eleventh year, and the exhibition celebrate the artistic excellence of students completing their degree studies in Art and Design and Fine Art at the University of Leeds. This year’s show recently opened at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and features the work of the four shortlisted artists – Georgia D’Silva, Tim C Huang, Kalisha Piper-Cheddie and Ashley Tjang.

The artworks in the exhibition were selected from the artists’ final degree shows by an expert panel. The judges this year are Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development and Wieke Eringa, Associate Director, Cultural Institute, both at the University of Leeds and Corinne Miller, Chair of Leeds Art Fund.

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“Every year we invite a panel of three experts to judge the prize and they come to view the artworks on the day of the big degree shows,” explains Exhibitions Curator Laura Claveria. “It is a really packed day and they have to look at everything, then have a discussion. It was quite easy this year because the judges were all in agreement very quickly. I don’t get involved until later in the process when we start thinking about how we can make it into a cohesive exhibition. From my perspective as a curator it has to be diverse and interesting, connect with contemporary issues, and align with our exhibition aims and strategy.”

Kalisha Piper-Cheddie, Somewhere Between Hope and Mourning, 2023. ©The Artist. Picture: Jules ListerKalisha Piper-Cheddie, Somewhere Between Hope and Mourning, 2023. ©The Artist. Picture: Jules Lister
Kalisha Piper-Cheddie, Somewhere Between Hope and Mourning, 2023. ©The Artist. Picture: Jules Lister

The judges will return to select the overall winner of the FUAM Graduate Art Prize 2023 and the announcement will be made at a public event on October 5. The Best in Show graduating student artist of the year will receive £250 and each of the runners-up will receive £100 to support them in their developing careers. Visitors are also encouraged to vote for their favourite artist for the People’s Choice Award, either online or in the gallery.

The artworks in the exhibition, while quite different from each other, all demonstrate a commitment to artistic innovation through the use of new or original materials, technologies and processes. They are ambitious in both content and approach and while some of the themes are inspired by personal experience or family histories, they also have a wider significance connecting with contemporary social issues, particularly around the themes of migration and identity.

Kalisha Piper-Cheddie’s two-screen video work Somewhere Between Hope and Mourning celebrates the many ways in which the Windrush generation has influenced and enriched British culture and society. Using objects, documents, voice and text, the work explores femininity, migration and the consequences of colonialism.

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In his mixed media installation The Museum of Truth, Tim C Huang recreates a fictional excavation site where an archaeologist has time-travelled from the past to the future to highlight the lack of professional archaeological storage in England today and comment on our failure to adequately take care of ancient objects.

Georgia D’Silva, No 1013, 2023 ©The ArtistGeorgia D’Silva, No 1013, 2023 ©The Artist
Georgia D’Silva, No 1013, 2023 ©The Artist

Ashley Tjag’s digital animation installation Around the Table explores the migration stories collected from her grandparents, documenting the various places they have called home. Centred around a family dining table, the piece examines the different reasons why people leave their homeland and makes the connection between food and culture.

In her mixed media installation No 1013, which takes its title from the number of days the artist has spent at university, Georgia D’Silva explores her own time as a student living in the Hyde Park area of Leeds and playfully deals with the paradoxes, transience and sometimes meaninglessness of student life.

The exhibition has been very well received so far. “We have a book for comments from visitors and they have all been really positive,” says Claveria. “For the students it’s a great opportunity to showcase their hard work and it is a way to boost their career. Some of the artists who won the prize in the past have gone on to do really well. We are very excited to find out at the announcement next month who the overall winner will be.”

The FUAM Graduate Art Prize exhibition runs at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds until October 7. Free entry.