A Totem for Hull – new sculpture for university campus

Artist Jason Wilsher-Mills. Photo: Jerome Whittingham.

Disabled artist Jason Wilsher-Mills works with disability groups in Hull to develop a new sculpture with digital interactivity for the University of Hull campus, which will be unveiled on 28th June by Reece Shearsmith of The League of Gentlemen. 

Jason spent the first part of 2019 working with disabled people from a range of groups and organisations in Hull. This has informed his final design of a sculpture exploring the representation of disability in the city. Hull born actor and League of Gentlemen member, Reece Shearsmith will unveil the sculpture outside the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull at 2pm on Friday 28th June 2019. The sculpture is interactive, utilising augmented reality apps to unlock animations, text & audio. 

Born in Wakefield and based in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, Jason is pleased to be working in Hull again after being part of its UK City of Culture year through his Square Peg residency at Artlink Hull in 2017. A Totem for Hull is a legacy of his work in the city and will be delivered in partnership with Artlink Hull, the University of Hull, Hot Knife Media and a range of disability focused organisations.

A Totem for Hull is supported by Arts Council England, Hull City Council Arts and the University of Hull.

Jason says of the project: “Being commissioned to create a new sculpture, for such an illustrious venue as the University of Hull, developed with some of the disabled communities of Hull is an absolute honour. To have a sculpture, at such a high profile venue, which celebrates disability, is a great honour also. I have really bonded with some of the people I have worked with and feel that there is even more stories out there in Hull to be explored.”

Jason (right) at one of the project’s engaging public workshops.

Jason trained at The Cardiff Institute of Higher Education, where he attained a B.A. (Hons) in Fine Art. In recent years Jason has been exhibited at and commissioned by The National Centre for Craft and Design, the V&A, Tate Modern, Eureka!, The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha and the Houses of Parliament among other international venues.

After initially specialising in traditional painting techniques, Jason has in recent years focused on digital work using technology such as iPad and Wacom tablets. The use of these technologies in place of the more traditional artistic mediums came about through the convenience and accessibility of tablets which allow him to produce large scale, detailed paintings despite the physical challenges presented by his disability.

Major themes that consistently run throughout Jason’s work include his experience as a disabled person and the struggles he has endured through illness since childhood up until the present day, trying to translate his daily experiences and challenges to the audience. A major aspect of his work also focuses on the treatment and perception of disability and disabled people in society, as well as social history and the democratic process.

Website – A Totem for Hull, Artlink