Much-loved annual visual arts exhibition opens at the Ferens on Saturday

The Ferens Open Exhibition 2020
The Ferens Open Exhibition 2020, Hull.

The 53rd annual Open Exhibition, which celebrates some of the best artistic talent in the region, opens at Ferens Art Gallery on Saturday 15 February.

The exhibition will feature more than 370 artworks including paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, textiles and film produced by local amateur and professional artists.

The artwork was selected by a panel of judges consisting of visual artist Graham Dean, whose artwork is represented in the Ferens permanent collection, freelance curator Angela Kingston, and Kenn Taylor, creative director at Artlink.

The annual event remains central to the Ferens commitment to supporting and developing local artistic talent.

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, said: “This is a captivating exhibition that explores people’s interpretation of art, offering a unique opportunity to display their submissions alongside world-renowned artwork.

“It is fantastic for Hull that we have an annual exhibition to showcase the exceptional local and regional talent. The exhibition is always hugely successful.”

Natasha Monfared, a Hull-based artist who draws inspiration from her Iranian heritage, will have her piece Veiled Volleyball on display at this year’s exhibition. Natasha is known for her works surrounding the issues of women in Iran.

Veiled Volleyball demonstrates the ongoing issue of female participation in sports. In Iran, volleyball became increasingly popular, which led to the banning of women watching it in stadiums. This work places women not only inside the stadium, but actually on the pitch as sinister veiled figures taking the place of the opposing team.

Karim Skalli, another Hull-based artist represented in the show, produces work which focuses on identity and how space and place can influence an individual’s identity. As the son of an English mother and Moroccan father, he presents the coming together of cultures, the conflicts and juxtaposition created through merging English and Moroccan culture and the influence of this on his identity.

Claire Longrigg, exhibitions officer, Ferens Art Gallery said: “It’s great to see an increase in submissions this year, especially from young artists, and also artists from outside the city.

“Having an online submissions process has allowed the exhibition to reach more artists. The selectors have done a great job in choosing a really good mix of artworks in terms of medium and subject matter for us to create an engaging exhibition.”

This year there is a new prize, the People’s Vote, where the public will be invited to vote for their favourite artwork during the first six weeks of the exhibition. The winner will be announced on March 31.

A number of other prizes are available, with winners being announced at a private event on Friday 14 February. The prizes have been provided by sponsors the Friends of the Ferens and local business BSB Architecture.

Artworks in the Open Exhibition can be purchased throughout the duration of the exhibition. A catalogue for £2.50 is available from the gallery.

The free exhibition runs until Sunday 26 April at Ferens Art Gallery. The Gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm and Sundays 11am – 4pm.

[Michael Berriman – Hull City Council]