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Final Future Collect artist commission announced

Studio visit 2023 Maria Amidu and Hollie Douglas Photo Beatriz Lobo 2 Sq

Studio visit 2023, Maria Amidu and Hollie Douglas. Photo by Beatriz Lobo

We are delighted to announce that the third and final Future Collect commission has been awarded to artist Maria Amidu.

The final Future Collect commission supports the creation of a major new work of art by a British based artist of African and/or Asian descent, for exhibition and acquisition at Towner Eastbourne in 2024. The exhibition will be supported with an education and engagement programme, plus new research into Towner’s growing art collection. The project also supports significant curatorial development in the form of a year-long curatorial traineeship.

Previous Future Collect artists are Jade Montserrat with curator Nikita Gill at Manchester Art Gallery; and Emii Alrai with curator Amber Li at The Hepworth Wakefield.

Maria Amidu’s artistic concerns are influenced by the complexities of the relational – between people, and between people and place. Through writing, printmaking, artist’s books, audio visual works and sometimes glassmaking she tries to substantiate what might be going on in collective situations, paying specific attention to what is hidden, obscured or unspoken.

Studio visit 2023 Maria Amidu and Hollie Douglas Photo Beatriz Lobo 1 sq

Studio visit 2023, Maria Amidu and Hollie Douglas. Photo by Beatriz Lobo

The selection panel, composed of curatorial teams from iniva and Towner, chose the artist because of her open and generous exploration of place both personally and as an invitation to others, her questioning approach to processes of archiving and collecting, and her sensitive considerations of care, temporality and memory.

Maria Amidu, who is based in East Sussex, says, “To be the third artist selected for Future Collect is such a privilege, it is such an incredible opportunity to develop new work. iniva is an organisation that is very close to my heart, both professionally and personally, particularly because I had the honour of working directly with Professor Stuart Hall during the development of Rivington Place and the Stuart Hall Library. Towner Eastbourne is a gallery I visit often, it’s a place I go to, not only to see work, but also to gather my thoughts, and I have wondered many times about the possibilities of exhibiting there. I am very excited about this opportunity to delve into the artistic material that both organisations hold and am very much looking forward to working with everyone at both locations during 2023”

The Future Collect Curatorial Trainee can also now be announced as Hollie Douglas. Hollie graduated from the University of Manchester in 2020, and has worked in arts and engagement projects across the UK, and written for arts journals including Art UK. In 2022, she took part in the British Council’s Biennials Connect programme for early to mid-career curators.

Hollie Douglas, Curatorial Trainee, said,  ‘I am delighted to have been selected as the curatorial trainee for Future Collect and look forward to developing my curatorial practice and learning from both organisations.  It has already been a joy working with Maria, from our initial studio visit with her to running through the index showcase at the Stuart Hall Library. It is exciting to be working with an artist whose practice is so in flux and inquisitive. I look forward to playing a part in sharing Maria’s work and practice more widely through the showcase and following on from that, the commission itself at Towner. As someone who is interested in art historical narratives and how they are upheld by arts institutions, Future Collect is such an important project to be working on – I hope it incites change within the field.’

Hollie’s role includes assisting with the selection of the commissioned artist; working alongside them to develop the new work and subsequent exhibition at the gallery; collection research, care and display; and audience engagement. The partnership also offers an opportunity for members of Towner Eastbourne’s curatorial team to spend time on secondment at iniva, utilising the unique resource of the Stuart Hall Library as a space for critical enquiry and creative exchange

Sepake Angiama, iniva’s Artistic Director, said, We are delighted to be working with the artist Maria Amidu and emerging curator Hollie Douglas who will support the development of Maria’s work at Towner. We are excited to work with Towner Eastbourne who are celebrating their 100th year, and as well as hosting Maria Amidu’s exhibition, our partnership offers research opportunities for the staff at Towner, the artist and curator at the heart of iniva the Stuart Hall Library. Alongside this major commission to be collected by the museum we look forward to the public and education programme that aims at sparking debate about our national collections with a broad and diverse public.”

Joe Hill, Director of Towner Eastbourne, said, “We are excited to be partnering on this vital initiative with iniva. A commitment to ensuring we tackle institutional inequality and racism is at the core of what we do, and it is a priority for us to diversify our Collection, in order to help better reflect the society we live in, and encourage people from all backgrounds to engage with the artworks we take care of. We are therefore delighted to have been chosen for this opportunity to collaborate with and acquire work by an artist of African or Asian descent, and to also be able to help nurture the career of an exceptional, emerging, curator from a diverse background. We are excited to welcome both to Towner Eastbourne and to engage with the critical dialogue they will undoubtedly bring to the role. We are thrilled to announce Hollie joining our team, and are excited to work with Maria to bring a newly commissioned work to Towner – I am excited to see the work unfold over the course of this year as it is created, and to experience Maria’s practice in the presentation at iniva this season. ”

In early summer 2023 there will also be a sector conference that aims to reflect on the learning gained from all three strands of the Future Collect programme. The Future Collect programme has been generously funded by Arts Council England, Art Fund, and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Maria Amidu in exhibition from February 2023.

A showcase exhibition of work by Maria Amidu, curated by Hollie Douglas also opens on the 14 February at iniva’s Stuart Hall Library in London.

Images: Studio visit, January 2023, Maria Amidu and Hollie Douglas talking through episode(s) Photo: Beatriz Lobo