Thriving creativity throughout Covid
Portal 2021, the new exhibition of Arts Graduates opens 11 September at Llantarnam Grange, Cwmbran.
Nineteen artists from universities across Wales and England have been included in Portal 2021, the annual exhibition of emerging arts practices, held at Llantarnam Grange, Cwmbran’s centre for Contemporary Art and Craft. With many graduating artists denied their typical end-of-year Degree Show, that all important opportunity to present themselves to the world, Portal 2021 serves as a celebration of those practices that have thrived despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Portal 2021 opens with an all-day soft opening from 12 noon – 3.30pm on Saturday 11 September.
Through both online and IRL learning, this year’s graduates have developed a stunning array of visually arresting and politically sited works, ranging from photography, painting, sculpture, textiles, video and illustration that cover a broad church of practices. From challenging inequality, highlighting protests, expressing hiraeth and abstracting human forms – all give rise to the possibility of creativity to imagine new futures.
The selection panel consisting of Savanna Dumelow (Exhibitions Officer, Llantarnam Grange), Francisca Onumah (Blacksmith) and Jessica Jones (Arts Lecturer, Coleg Gwent) selected the nineteen from over 65 applicants from all over the UK, remarking on the incredible calibre of works that push the boundaries of visual arts practice in the UK today.
Exhibiting artists will also be invited to take part in bespoke coaching as part of the exhibition, offering support and dialogue for artists which has been generously funded by the Oakdale Trust.
Director of Llantarnam Grange, Louise Jones-Williams reflects on the value of Portal: ‘In its 11th year, Portal continues to offer a springboard for artists finishing either their undergraduate degree or postgrad, often being that vital first step towards working as professional artist. The artists chosen by the selectors represent a mix of varied practices showing the exciting range of themes and topics that artists in the UK are concerned with. We’re very excited to be able to welcome visitors back for our first preview in over 18 months, and can’t wait to welcome people back through the doors for this event.’
The artists selected for inclusion this year are: Gold Maria Akanbi (Liverpool John Moores), Vivienne Beaumont (Hereford College of Arts), Julia Brzozowska (London College of Fashion), Mashal Chaudhri (Royal College of Art), Lois Davies (University Trinity Saint David), Jacob Ecclestone (Hereford College of Arts), Rosie Harman (Cardiff Metropolitan University), Xiaoling Jin (Royal College of Art), Minhee Kim (Royal College of Art), Matthew Lintott (University of the West of England), Helen Louise Murphy (University of South Wales), Alex Maughan (Hereford College of Arts), Charly Monreal (London Contemporary Dance School), Katie Sims (University for the Creative Arts Farnham), Booker T Skelding (University of South Wales), Klara Sroka (Cardiff Metropolitan University), Lilian Vonda Clare Sutton (Hereford College of Arts), Ruth Petersen (Carmarthen School of Art), Yusun Won (Cardiff Metropolitan University)