Friends of University Art and Music Graduate Art Prize 2021

Discover the freshest artistic talent from the University of Leeds

By Leeds University Library Galleries

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery The Stanley & Audrey Burton GalleryOriginal Source: Leeds University Library Galleries

In its 9th year, the Friends of University Art & Music (FUAM) Graduate Art Prize rewards the artistic excellence of students completing undergraduate studies in the School of Design and in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. The finalists were selected by an expert panel of judges. The Prize was set up to celebrate the excellence of art students at the University of Leeds and share their work with the wider public. 

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery (2019)Leeds University Library Galleries

This year's finalists are:

Ibrahim Ince (BA Fine Art with History of Art)
Sidonie Knight (BA Fine Art)
Michelle Muratori (BA Art and Design) 
Natasha Evans (BA Art and Design) 

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery A visitor in The Stanley & Audrey Burton GalleryOriginal Source: Leeds University Library Galleries

 The judges will return to choose the overall winner of the FUAM Graduate Art Prize 2021. This will be announced alongside the People's Choice winner. The Prize is supported by the Friends of University Art & Music (FUAM). 

Many thanks to this year’s judges: Masud Khokhar, Holly Grange and Professor Ann Sumner.

Sidonie Knight

The skin is an organ, a living material, a membrane between the body and the external world.

The Sight of Shedding Skins

I explore the relationship between skin and touch, using my body as the starting point in my practice. The material processes I engage are closely tied to my bodily material and personal experience of psoriasis, an immune condition which accelerates the natural course of the skin replacement process causing the visible overproduction of skin cells. 

FUAM 2021 - Sidonie Knight "A Trace of Touch: Psoriasis", 2021. Scanning Electron Microscope image of a trace of my psoriatic touch. 5000× magnification. Digital image. 1800 × 1200 px. by Sidonie KnightOriginal Source: © Sidonie Knight

A Trace of Touch: Psoriasis

The nature of this condition is that of rubbing, flaking, itching, scratching, peeling, and excrescence. My practice embodies these actions to create results that reflect the ever-changing nature of my skin and its rough thickening.

FUAM 2021 - Sidonie Knight "Shedding Tension", 2021. A wet bio-film made of a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts, stretched over timber, wax glass, silicon, dried Kombucha ‘skin’. 31.2 × 13.6 × 14.4 cm. by Sidonie KnightOriginal Source: © Sidonie Knight

Shedding Tension

Playing on the grotesque, I challenge the stigma associated with bacteria and skin conditions aiming to show the inherent beauty within these entities.

Michelle Muratori - 'Co-Existence'

Co-Existence is a series of sculptures and drawings, which draws inspiration from the powerful narrative emblem of the Totem, inspiring notions of our connection with nature.

"Co-Existence" - Mockup display of installation view, 2021, mixed media by Michelle MuratoriOriginal Source: © Michelle Muratori

By re-appropriating the structure and concept of the totem pole, I propose a contemporary review of ancient indigenous beliefs that included non-human beings in their kinship system. 

"Co-Existence" - Detail of drawing, 2021, charcoal on paper by Michelle MuratoriOriginal Source: © Michelle Muratori

At the same time, Co-Existence alludes to the sustainable behaviours of Native American cultures of the past as a way to reconsider our current fragile relationship with the natural world, calling for a more-than-human-centred future. The interconnected relationship between animal and plant beings and a need for a stronger co-existence with our natural environment is further suggested by the hybridity of both the sculptures and scrolls.

"Co-Existence" - Sculptures, 2021, paper-mache, modroc, clay, branches and bark by Michelle MuratoriOriginal Source: © Michelle Muratori

Put together, the sculptures and scrolls create a unique installation that intends to encourage the viewer to consider their own relationship with other species and the environment around them.

Ibrahim Ince - 'all that is left of you (laid out on a table)'

My artistic processes are intended to capture, capsulise or fragment archival materials. I position myself as a 'translator' of untold stories and aim to reconfigure oral and optic traces under archives’ dust into a new form.

Through dissecting my family’s repressed memories - often based on violent internal conflict in Cyprus - I aim to find a catharsis in them; an artistic representation and resolution of deposited traumas. My most recent audio-visual project is in tandem with this healing process.

"all that is left of you (laid out on a table)" - Virtual reality space shown as a HD video, displayed through a projector projecting to a table (90 x 60 cm). Included audio produced in collaboration with Hayat Sebep, MMus student in University of Leeds. by Ibrahim InceOriginal Source: © Ibrahim Ince

Although I work with heavily loaded personal histories, my priority is not to inform audiences about the background story. More so, I aim for people to get a sense of the theme and the tone through nuanced elements. In other words, feeling the artwork’s concept rather than a complete comprehension.

"all that is left of you (laid out on a table)" - A collection of objects, such as Cypriot handicrafts, handkerchiefs, a love letter and a vintage gun, which have been 3D scanned for the making of this virtual project. by Ibrahim InceOriginal Source: © Ibrahim Ince

The recent discovery of my grandfather’s remains from the 1974 war in Cyprus led to an exploration of love and loss - especially that of my grandparents’ - told through archival objects. Working and thinking with objects left of him provided a way into reflecting and mourning. 

Natasha Evans - 'Flesh Dress'

My work aims to transcribe the normalisation of pornography whilst questioning whether the reformatting of the naked body would be considered as explicit with a need for censorship.

FUAM 2021 - Natasha Evans "Flesh Dress", (2021), paper weave by Natasha EvansOriginal Source: © Natasha Evans

Flesh Dress

Many economies worldwide have deteriorated during the past 2 years as a consequence of the pandemic, yet an industry which has profited from COVID-19 has been pornography.  Consequently, the normalisation of this type of explicit imagery has become more commonly accepted in society. The following work seeks to explore the aestheticization of the female body by physically intervening with this type of imagery as a way of reclaiming the female form.

FUAM 2021 - Natasha Evans "Flesh Dress", (2021), paper weave by Natasha EvansOriginal Source: © Natasha Evans

Flesh Dress is a wearable sculpture, devised from a weaving technique. Weaving and pornography are two industries which have historically thrived from the exploitation of women. Now, we see a shift in the latter, as women regenerate the porn industry by working for nobody but themselves. 

FUAM 2021 - Natasha Evans "Flesh Dress", (2021), paper weave by Natasha EvansOriginal Source: © Natasha Evans

The material process gives an illusionary pixelated effect to the work, inviting the viewer to decipher the contents at their own effort. By raising the question “whose skin am I actually looking at?”, the uncertainty of conventional porn is declared.  Applying this back onto the body seeks to transfer power to the individual, exploring how we can re-wear the female form in an empowered manner. 

Credits: Story

Artist statements and artworks by: 

Sidonie Knight
Michelle Murtori
Ibrahim Ince
Natasha Evans

Vote here for your favourite in the People's Choice award.


Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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