Twenty artists have been selected for the New Art West Midlands 2019 exhibition, presented this year in collaboration with the second Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art which runs from 4 October to 24 November.

Selected by International Curators Forum (ICF) – the curatorial network behind the Diaspora Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale –  the featured artists are recent graduates from Birmingham City University, Coventry University, University of Wolverhampton, University of Worcester, Staffordshire University and Hereford College of Arts.

The artists were chosen from over 100 applications by a selection panel including Adelaide Bannerman, Cindy Sissokho and Jessica Taylor from ICF alongside Ryan Hughes, the founder and director of Coventry Biennial.

A smaller cohort of the 20 artists will be selected to work with an appointed curator on a year-long professional development programme culminating in an exhibition at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery in autumn 2020.

Taylor said the exhibition and programme was an “important opportunity to support a cohort of recently-graduated emerging artists and a curator from the West Midlands”.

She added: “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.”

Commenting on Coventry Biennial’s partnership, Hughes said the professional development focus of New Art West Midlands “aligns strongly with our vision for a social and critically engaged biennial for the region”.

He continued: “The unique and inclusive new model they have built will create deeply meaningful opportunities for these artists in the West Midlands and beyond.”

Work by the selected artists ranges from large-scale installations and sculpture to photography, video, paintings, drawings and digital artworks. Themes explored include cultural identity, technology and the environment.

Gemma Costin (Hereford College of Arts) describes herself as “a renegade botanist”. Her travelling seedpod is a caravan ‘transformed into a space to interrogate ideas of nature and biophilia’.

A series of prints on paper and textile by Farwa Moledina (Birmingham City University) reappropriate the Orientalist imagery of Muslim women and address how complex identities become homogenised in a globalised world.

Rosie Piercy (University of Worcester) deals with the issue of tuition fees and the cost of education. Her sculpture Forever in Debt consists of helium-filled balloons that reflect the exact balance of her student loan as they slowly deflate.

The full list of the 20 selected artists is: 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.

New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art takes place 4 October – 24 November 2019.

a-n is the Coventry Biennial 2019 media partner. More news coming soon, including latest announcements from the biennial in the lead up to the opening

Farwa Moledina, Interwoven, 2018

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