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Upcoming Events and the 20th Anniversary of the Young Artists Open

A large inflatable sculpture

Visitors to the Ferens Art Gallery’s previous exhibition, Jason Wilsher-Mills: Are We There Yet?, will be able to enjoy the work for longer, as the gallery has acquired a piece.

The Withernsea 2 was commissioned by the Ferens as part of the previous exhibition and captures the important influence that the region has had on Jason. The two brothers portray joyful childhood memories by the sea and the detailed decoration tells the story of Jason’s artistic awakening.

The sculpture was inspired by the Roos Carr Iron Age wooden figures, which were discovered in 1836, near Withernsea, and are now part of the Hull Museums collection. The designs on the sculpture not only tell the story of Jason’s life, but also those who lived in the region. The Celts are represented through the tattoo designs on the surface of the men, and through the way their legs come together in an intricate Celtic knot.

Speaking about the piece, Artist Jason Wilsher-Mills said: “I was instantly drawn to the Roos Carr figures, as Withernsea has played such an important role in my development. My work celebrates playing on the beach, with my sister Tracey and local children, in the 1970s, and playing in Jimmy’s amusement arcade, trying to make 20p last all morning. My approach to creating the work was to imagine what characters the Ross Carr figures represented. They are brothers and their closeness is reflected through the fact that their bodies have become merged.

Commenting on the acquisition, Jason continued: “I am so proud that my new sculpture ‘The Withernsea 2’ is to be part of the permanent collection at Ferens Gallery. The gallery has always been a very special place for me, having visited it 30 years ago, as a young art student. I remember marvelling at the collection there…and now 35 years later my own work is to be exhibited and be part of the collection, alongside my artistic heroes, such as Jacob Epstein, Gwen John and Walter Sickert. I cannot thank the wonderful team at Ferens for this great honour they have given me, a working class disabled artist, and I intend to be a friend of the gallery for years to come.”

Kerri Offord, Curator of Art at Ferens Art Gallery, said: “To be able to acquire ‘The Withernsea 2’ for the collection allows us to mark the success of Jason’s exhibition and the importance of his work, not just to Hull and Yorkshire, but as an internationally significant artist”. His work explores important narratives about disability, that are sometimes emotive and challenging, in an accessible and engaging way. We look forward to showing Jason’s work at the Ferens for years to come.

The annual Open Exhibition at the Ferens Art Gallery has celebrated the creativity of local amateur and professional artists since 1967.
Each year the Open Exhibition provides an exciting opportunity for artists to display and sell artwork. Visitors can expect to see a fascinating array of artwork including impressive paintings, photography and textiles, as well as a number of striking sculptures and ceramics, most of which will be for sale.

Artworks in the Ferens Open can be purchased throughout the duration of the exhibition.
A catalogue for £3 is available from the gallery.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Friends and BSB Architecture
2024 Open Exhibition – Hull Museums and Galleries

Key Date for Artists
Collection of unsold artwork: Saturday 28th September – Sunday 6th October 2024

The Open Exhibition is accompanied by a public programme with visitors having the opportunity to meet the artists –
Meet the Artist
Thursday 18th July, 2.00pm – Layla Jabbari
Thursday 15th August, 2.00pm – Zivarna Murphy
Thursday 19th September, 2.00pm – Paul Deighton

Join one of the artists in this year’s Open Exhibition for a 10-minute talk during which you will learn about their working practice as an artist.
Free Drop-in
For more information visit our website:

This year the Young Artist Open exhibition will celebrate its 20th Anniversary

on now until 22nd September 2024 Recurs daily.

The exhibition has been held annually at the Ferens Art Gallery since 2004 and celebrates the creative talent of young people in Hull and the surrounding area. Artworks are submitted by individuals, schools, and local community groups, aged 15 and under.

Prizes in three age categories have been sponsored by the Friends of the Ferens and the Hull and East Riding Branch of The Arts Society.
There was a special 20th Anniversary Prize awarded this year.

We have launched a range of exclusive Future Ferens T Shirts, only available in the Ferens shop (see below).

These T-shirts have been designed by Future Ferens member, artist Lucy Brooke, and were the result of a design challenge set to the group to develop designs that would match the purposeful optimism of the Future Ferens project. Once designs were submitted, the group voted upon the one to go forward with, which in this case, was Lucy’s! There is only a limited edition of these available, so if you are looking for an extra special gift, and want to support emerging talent in the city, pop down to the Ferens Art Gallery shop, before they all get snaffled! There could be more Future Ferens merchandise available over the coming months, so watch this space.

As ever, if you know any young people, that are interested in art, and would like to learn more about how a World class art gallery is curated and how it operates all whilst adding valuable skills to their CV, do please point them to our Instagram page @futureferens, or for more information, ask them to contact

Seen and Unseen

Image: Nahem Shoa, Head of Dan, 2008, Oil on linen
© the artist

18th October 2024 – 26th January 2025 

Seen and Unseen is a contemporary figurative art exhibition that explores the themes of race, identity, gender and diversity, nature and climate change, through the works of outstanding artists.

The exhibition Seen and Unseen, aims to promote artists that haven’t yet been fully recognised for their achievements, and questions who has ‘not been allowed in’ to the artworld.

This exhibition showcases the work of two pioneering artists, Desmond Haughton and Nahem Shoa, who for over 35 years have made identity and the human condition their themes. They have been shining a light on a part of British society, which the establishment and art world did not see. The surface of their work belies how politically loaded the message behind these works. Through their work Shoa and Haughton have made the invisible visible in all its beauty and complexity.

The exhibition will include works from the Ferens’ collection, bringing out stories through new interpretations by juxtaposing them with loans of work by important women and artists of colour. This exhibition aims to celebrate the best of British contemporary figurative art in its rich variety of styles, but unifying all these artists is a desire to explore new possibilities in art for the 21st century. This exhibition will tell new stories about our place in society today, help give a voice to the next generation, and make them feel relevant to British culture.

A new dock gate is being fabricated as part of the Arctic Corsair’s new home at North End Shipyard.

At a recent site visit, the new steel gate is currently being manufactured in two parts and in its final stages of construction.

After ten weeks of production, it will leave the manufacturers in Grimsby and then be painted before being transported to Hull where it will be welded together to become one steel structure.

The existing gate will be removed later in the year and replaced with a new 15.5m by 6m, 50 tonne steel replacement. It will be installed by crane on a floating barge from the river Hull.

Charm of Ink, an exhibition by the Confucius Institute

A display of Chinese paintings and watercolour art by teachers and students of the Confucius Institute is currently being shown between Teaching Rooms 3 and 4 on the ground floor of the Library.

It serves as a vibrant celebration of Chinese culture, showcasing the rich artistic traditions that have flourished for centuries. The artworks on display are the passionate expressions of both teachers and students of the Confucius Institute, reflecting a harmonious blend of traditional techniques and contemporary perspectives.

This exhibition is on now until Sunday 29th September, during the Library’s opening hours.

Artlink Hull Hosts ‘Cold Junction’
A Photographic Journey of Chilean Exile in Hull

A new exhibition celebrating the experiences of Chilean refugees will open at Artlink Hull’s 87 Gallery in June 2024. The forthcoming exhibition ‘Cold Junction’ brings together work by Luis Bustamante and Sebastian Bustamante and is co-curated by Tom White.

Luis Bustamante, a Chilean photographer, arrived in Hull with his wife Carmen in December 1974 as political refugees. Their son, Sebastian Bustamante, is a British-Chilean artist, curator, and researcher.

On 11 September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Chile’s socialist president, Salvador Allende. The Pinochet regime’s campaign of terror against Allende’s supporters included kidnapping, arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions. In response, international solidarity efforts, including the Humberside branch of the Chile Solidarity Campaign, helped relocate 30 Chilean exiles to Hull, including Luis and Carmen.

While studying at the University of Hull, Luis captured the essence of his new surroundings through photography. “The camera had two purposes: it was a connection with a new life and a shield that enabled me to look at it,” he explained. His images offer a vivid portrayal of everyday life in mid-1970s Hull, a time of significant social and political change.

To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Chilean refugees arriving in Hull, “Cold Junction” merges Luis’s historical photographs with Sebastian’s ongoing project “El Otoño.” This project, incorporating objects, photographs, and video, delves into Sebastian’s identity as a second-generation exile, honouring those who disappeared, those who stayed, those who left, and those striving for a better future in Chile.

Sharing his feelings about the upcoming exhibition, Luis Bustamante said, “I am delighted to show this body of work at 87 Gallery. The city of Hull and its surrounding areas have played such an important role in my life and work as an artist.

Sebastian Bustamante added, “It’s important to both me and Luis to bring this work back to Hull, to reconnect with the city which was so important to my parents when they had to flee their country, to explore my family history, and to be able to tell the story of a country providing people with safe refuge following periods of violence.”

Tom White, co-curator of the exhibition, said, “It is generally not well-remembered in Hull that our city provided refuge to Chilean political exiles. But it should be. It is wonderful to bring Luis and Seb’s work to the 87 Gallery; it has an important and timely story to tell.”

The exhibition will feature a film produced by the gallery, including interviews with the artists and showing how some of the locations in the photographs have changed—or not—over the past 50 years. Artlink has been delivering creative workshops with refugee communities in Hull around themes of home and belonging. These workshops will continue throughout the exhibition and some of the work produced will be displayed at the gallery later in the summer.
E. Books will be at the launch event selling copies of the Cafe Royal Books, which feature Luis’s work from Hull in the 1970s. Luis has also kindly lent the cameras he used to take the Hull photographs. 

The archives of the Humberside branch of the Chile Solidarity Campaign are held at the Hull History Centre. On Tuesday, 11th June, in the lead-up to the opening of ‘Cold Junction,’ co-curator Tom White will give a talk at the History Centre. “Venceremos!: the Humberside Chile Solidarity Campaign, fifty years on” will trace the early history of the group, its work to bring political refugees to Hull, and the challenges they faced after they arrived. From 1st June to 1st July, the History Centre Library will also be exhibiting material from the archive, selected by Tom White and archivist Sarah Pymer.

CEO of Artlink Hull, Philip Stevens, said: “Luis and Sebastian Bustamante’s work connects strongly to Hull and the surrounding area. We feel very lucky to be working with them to bring the work back to Hull after many decades. This exhibition, marking the fiftieth anniversary of Chilean refugees arriving in Hull, holds great meaning for the city.”

Becky Gee, Curator at Artlink Hull, added: “We are honoured to be the first institutional gallery in Hull to host this powerful work. Luis’ photographs document Hull during a period of social and political change. Sebastian’s work contextualises these iconic photographs to highlight the journey that his parents and many others undertook. This work is important locally and globally and I’m looking forward to welcoming visitors to see this unique view of their city.

on now until 14th September 2024
in Artlink’s exhibition space, 87 Gallery, open
Thursday-Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm . 

Media Contact: Rhiannon Beeson,
Venue: Artlink Hull
Additional Images:

Rhiannon Beeson Managing Director

Join us to celebrate the of the opening of two new exhibitions
Saturday 20th July 2.00pm – 4.00pm

 A co-created family friendly exhibition of giant sculptures created by 6 artists working with 6 local community groups that hold special meaning for the people who have made them.  


A solo exhibition of work by Scarborough based, emerging artist Mary-Ann Stevens. 

20th July – 11th August 2024
Thursday – Sunday  –  11.00am -4.00pm

Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Leilah Babirye: Obumu (Unity)
on now until

Leilah Babirye’s exhibition Obumu (Unity) features new sculptures made at YSP specifically for this exhibition, largely from materials found onsite.

Babirye spent the summer of 2023 at YSP making a clan of seven larger-than-life-size figures in wood and five coloured ceramics. Supported by YSP’s technical team, the seven sculptures were carved using a chainsaw and chisels from trees that had reached the end of their life on site.

The artist describes being guided by the wood itself, sketching the initial forms directly onto the sectioned tree for carving. Once carved, the figures are refined and their surfaces sanded to highlight the grains of the tree. The sculptures are then burned a deep black, the charring once used to make the works ‘disappear’ but which is now a gesture of celebrating their beauty. Details of the sculptures are treated with a blowtorch before the surfaces are carefully waxed to acknowledge the skin of the piece and the tree from which it came.

Babirye’s practice originally began as activism, as a gay woman in her home country of Uganda, where being gay is illegal and risks the death penalty. Babirye’s use of discarded materials references the prejudiced slang for a gay person in the Luganda language – ‘abasiyazi’ – which is the part of the sugarcane husk that is rubbish, thrown out. Her practice integrates her own unique approach to making art with her culture and heritage and long-standing sculpture traditions such as mask making. Babirye acknowledged during her residence at YSP that she began to make art from real pain but now she feels blessed by the process and results of creativity.

The Hepworth Wakefield is excited to share its exhibition programme for 2024/25, showcasing the very best in contemporary art and rigorously researched explorations of 20th-century art. Exhibition entry is free for Members, Wakefield District residents and under 18s.

Sylvia Snowden: Painting Humanity
on now until 3rd November 2024

Sylvia Snowden: Painting Humanity is the first public gallery exhibition in Europe of African-American painter Sylvia Snowden’s work. Presenting a selection of work from a career that spans six decades, this exhibition includes large early paintings through to more recent works.

Snowden works with oil paint and pastels as well as acrylic and collage to create her expressionist, distorted, monumental figures, capturing the psychological essence of her subjects – their triumphs, torments, joys and pains – in thick impasto, the technique where paint is laid on an area of the surface thickly


Please click the link below to view a detailed explanation of the Friends and the role of the Friends Trustees
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 The News page items are regularly updated with information supplied by the Membership Secretary, Friends of the Ferens Art Gallery and Jonathan Barker, Marketing and Digital Engagement Manager, Hull Museums.

The Friends of Ferens Art Gallery is a Registered Charity No 225045.

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