Three talented young Yorkshire artists are currently showing their work at one of the county’s most prestigious annual exhibitions.
Sophie Jones, Kristina Nenova and Sam Henty are part of a wealth of creative talent on show in the Ones to Watch 2022 exhibition at the Sunny Bank Mills Art Gallery in Farsley, between Leeds and Bradford.
This is ninth year that the gallery has hosted its renowned Ones To Watch exhibition and Arts Director and curator Jane Kay believes this is one of the best yet.
“The exhibition is for artists who either study in, or are from, Yorkshire and are up to a year post graduation. There are 33 artists involved this year, selected from well over 100 applications, and the standard is very high.
“The judges this year included artist Jenny West; Programme Director Damon Jackson-Waldock from The Art House, Wakefield and lecturer and academic Dr. Gill Park from Leeds University. It was so hard to make the final choices,” explained Jane.
The exhibition features a number of different disciplines and media, including painting, sculpture, film, photography, installation, ceramics, textiles and design.
“The superb work of Sophie, Kristina and Sam covers a number of these disciplines and is an excellent example not just of their talent and their artistic imagination, but also of the breadth of the art and talent on show this year. We are very proud to be giving all these emerging artists and makers a public platform in what has been a difficult couple of years for them,” said Jane.
Twenty-two-year-old textile artist Sophie Jones, a single mother who is studying at university, has created a powerful work, detailing the challenges, the mundanity and the stresses of parenthood. Using intricate red cotton thread, Sophie has composed an unpunctuated James Joyce-style account of her daily struggle to be the perfect, caring parent.
But, as Sophie points out, this isn’t a cry for help, explaining: “Stitching words into cloth gives permanence to my thoughts, a reflection of my desire to cling on to the physical remnants of the earliest moments of motherhood.”
Meanwhile Kristina Nenova, who moved to Yorkshire from Bulgaria nine years ago, has used their Kafka-esque experience of trying to become a British citizen to extraordinary effect, screen-printing the tsunami of official documents they received on to calico and sewing them into three shirts and two pair of trousers. The effect is stunning. A film, showing Kristina walking around Wakefield, dressed in these clothes with people staring in amazement, heightens this sense of bureaucratic alienation.
Sam Henty has created a fascinating reworking of the Bayeaux Tapestry, called the Eborakon Ofrior Tapestry, chronicling the rise, decline and fall of the fictional Harken family, Yorkshire nobleman in the 15th and 16th centuries. The 22-panel tapestry also includes astonishing 14th century doodles by monks, some of which are x-rated!
Sam explained: “This has been a three-year labour of love, allowing me to indulge in my twin passions of history and fantasy. It is wonderful to see my work exhibited so magnificently in the gallery.”
Jane Kay commented: “Sophie, Kristina and Sam are very talented and have great futures ahead of them. It has been an honour to promote their work and that of their fellow exhibitors and I will follow all their careers with tremendous interest.”
Sophie and Sam are currently studying at Leeds Arts University, whilst Kristina is at Leeds Beckett University.
• Ones To Watch 2022 runs at Sunny Bank Mills Gallery until May 8. For further information about opening hours, please visit www.sunnybankmills.co.uk