For My Only Love, Yours in Body and Soul

October is Black History Month, with exhibitions, events, talks and more taking place across the UK that celebrate the too-often overlooked stories and achievements of Black Britons.

Southampton’s God’s House Tower, run by a-n Arts Organiser member ‘a space arts’, presents a solo exhibition by artist Ebun Sodipo, which explores the changing attitudes towards Africans and their descendants in the port city between the 16th and 20th century.

Through a fictional love story between a woman living in Southampton and her lover who is always at sea, the sound and collage work reflects on the complexities of love and race. As Sodipo comments: “I am so happy to be able to insert a trans narrative within the wider narrative of Black history. Our stories and possibilities are almost never given space.”

7 October – 6 November 2022, God’s House Tower, Southampton

Ebun Sodipo, For My Only Love, Yours in Body and Soul

Attention, Absorption

This solo exhibition is the largest survey of British Guyanese artist and filmmaker Maybelle Peters’ work to date.

Peters, who is an a-n member, presents a series of newly commissioned works including a short 16mm film, an installation of CGI animation, objects, sound and vinyl text. Alongside these are archival images of the former Raleigh Cycle Company main offices, one of the world’s oldest and best-known bicycle manufacturers, which offered employment to the Windrush Generation, particularly Jamaicans, arriving in Nottingham.

‘Attention, Absorption’ draws links between environmental and workplace toxicities, by considering the adaptability and resilience of the Black Caribbean labour force within British industries. In Peters’ work pollutants and emissions create metaphoric parallels with labour politics, institutional racism and harmful workplace structures, processes and behaviours.

Until 26 November 2022, Primary, Nottingham

Maybelle Peters, Attention, Absorption at Primary, Nottingham, 2022. Photo: Reece Straw

Film London Jarman Award tour

a-n member Onyeka Igwe is one of the six artists whose work is featured in this UK-wide tour of films shortlisted for this year’s Jarman Award.

Igwe works between cinema and installation in a practice that addresses political and historical questions. Their film a so-called archive, 2020, is the result of several years of research into the Colonial Film Unit, which produced government-approved films from the 1930s to 1950s, as well as archives in Lagos and Bristol that are deeply connected to the British empire.

Also shortlisted for the prize are Jamie CreweGrace Ndiritu, Morgan Quaintance, Rosa-Johan Uddoh and Alberta Whittle.

Until 12 November 2022, Void, Derry; g39, Cardiff; Nottingham Contemporary; CCA Glasgow; Spike Island, Bristol; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne and Whitechapel Gallery, London

Onyeka Igwe, a so-called archive, 2020, video still

Irish Craft Heroes

Coinciding with International Craft Day on 15 October, this exhibition of work by eight Northern Irish makers includes a-n members Seliena Coyle and Alison Lowry.

Coyle, a jewellery designer, curator and educator, shows works from the series Women’s Stories, which consists of 100 contemporary icons inspired by and dedicated to women. Among the wall-based pieces, which use jewellery techniques to create brooch-like portraits, are assemblages that honour 2 tone ska singer Pauline Black and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

Lowry exhibits a pair of glass shoes titled Thirty – five I Cant’s, which conjure the image of Cinderella’s slipper while referencing the statistic that on average a woman will be assaulted 35 times before phoning the police. Alongside the glass piece is a collaborative video made with artist Jayne Cherry, who attempts to take 35 steps in the heavy shoes, evoking the difficulty of leaving abusive relationships.

Until 7 November 2022, Craft NI Gallery, Belfast

Alison Lowry, Thirty – five I Cant’s, still from Jayne Cherry’s video performance

Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize

24 a-n members are included in the shortlist for this year’s Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, the UK’s premier drawing award.

Congratulations to Gemma Thompson who has won the Working Drawing Award for her graphite drawing, Untitled (Graphic Score for Quartet), 2022. The Working Drawing Award is a special category within the exhibition which celebrates the role of drawing within architecture, design and making processes.

Among the artists exhibiting work is Andy Bannister, whose highly detailed pencil drawings are based on photographs that relate to atomic science and the threat of nuclear war. Included in this exhibition is his drawing Blockcade Upper Heyford 82, which depicts numerous white balloons printed with the CND logo, tied to locked gates capped with rows of barbed wire.

Another a-n member, Elizabeth Nast, presents a colour drawing titled Alternative Tree House, showing a small, bright pink shed, raised on stilts between brick walls on a residential street. The artist describes the inspiration she finds in painting and drawing urban environments and her love of “painting the ordinary in life, whether it is people shopping, a pile of rubbish or a poster plastered on a shop front.”

Until 16 October 2022, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London

Andy Bannister, Blockade Upper Heyford 82

A Million Darkened Kitchens

Liverpool-based a-n member Paul Rooney presents a newly commissioned sound installation in an 1840s era kitchen at Colne Valley Museum.

Focusing on the historically overlooked space of the domestic kitchen with its repetitive, often thankless labour but also its ‘subversive creative resistances’, the work features the voices of Susan Whitwam, who has been a volunteer at the museum since it opened in 1970, and 81-year-old folk singer Frankie Armstrong and her singing group.

Armstrong connects the work directly to the women’s movement – she was a member of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger’s The Critics Group in the 1960s and edited of an anthology of women’s song in 1979. The title, A Million Darkened Kitchens, a phrase which is repeated throughout the piece, is borrowed from a 1911 poem inspired by women suffragists and strikers, that Armstrong has recorded a number of times over the years.

Until 27 November 2022, Colne Valley Museum, Huddersfield

Paul Rooney, A Million Darkened Kitchens, installation view

Jerwood Photoworks

This year’s Jerwood/Photoworks Awards – major commissions for early-career artists working with photography – were awarded to a-n member Joanne Coates and Heather Agyepong, and this exhibition shows the results.

The work of north Yorkshire-based Coates sits between socially-engaged practice and traditional British documentary photography. It is rooted in the rural environment and concerned with questions of class, inequality, wealth and power.

Coates’ commissioned body of work, The Lie of the Land, explores the social history of the land through a collaboration with twelve women who identify as working class and live and work in rural or agricultural settings. Combining landscape and portrait photography with sound, the work makes visible erased histories and challenges stereotypes around rurality and women.

Until 10 December 2022, Jerwood Space, London

Joanne Coates, Grouse Moor, Heather Burning, from the series The Lie of the Land, 2022

New Contemporaries

Nine a-n members have been selected for New Contemporaries 2022, which launches in Hull across two venues, before traveling to South London Gallery in December.

Among the 47 emerging artists – recent graduates of art schools and alternative, peer-to-peer learning programmes – are a-n members Adam Boyd, Bill Daggs, Hamish Halley, Sarah Lang, Akinsola Lawanson, Rudy Loewe, Mehmil Nadeem, Sherie Sitauze and Kialy Tihngang.

Nadeem’s multidisciplinary practice ‘questions the reliability of memory as an archive, highlighting the way in which it is shaped by external influences and time’, while Boyd presents wall-based textile pieces that combine quilting with UV print, photo-transfer and embroidered inkjet.

Lawanson’s short film Bosode, inspired by Nollywood horror and Nigerian magical realist literature, explores Ifá religion (originating from West Africa’s Yorùbá ethnic group), divination systems and binary mathematics.

Until 27 November 2022, Ferens Art Gallery and Humber Street Gallery, Hull

Akinsola Lawanson, Bosode, moving image still

Made It 2022

This exhibition, curated by Short Supply, showcases work by 25 recent graduates from north west England, selected via open call. Awards on offer include a cash grant, solo show at Cass Art Manchester, free Castlefield Gallery associate memberships and a studio visit with the White Pube.

Among the artists showing work are University of Salford graduate Chloé Julia Smith, whose work ‘explores internal processing through authentic movement and automatic drawing in response to sound’, photographer Shivani Patel, and poet, filmmaker and musician Princess Arinola Adegbite.

Short Supply provides opportunities to early career artists in the north west in the form of exhibitions, advice, commissions and access to a network. Its co-director Mollie Bagshaw has recently joined a-n’s Artists Council.

Until 23 October 2022, Rogue Artists’ Studios, Manchester

Made It 2022

Top image: Elizabeth Nast, Alternative Tree House