Tag Archive: art

Manchester to celebrate South Asian art and design with nine shows across the city

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Manchester’s cultural institutions has welcomed leading South Asian and British artists of South Asian decent in a celebration of shared heritage and historic connections through a series of exhibitions and performances across the city.

Marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of India, Pakistan and later Bangladesh, eight exhibitions will present both new and seminal works, while inviting audiences to experience a wealth of South Asian culture.

Dr Nick Merriman, Director of Manchester Museum and spokesperson for the New North and South said: “The programme in Manchester will shine a spotlight on South Asian art and culture through the work of world renowned artists.

“Thanks to our colleagues across the city, the opening weekend will offer something for everyone from major exhibitions, artist performances, music and film. As the New North and South network we would like to thank all the artists involved in the Manchester exhibitions for bringing their creative talent to our city.”

New North and South is a network of eleven arts organisations from South Asia and the North of England, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence.

Raqs Media Collective, Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, have been described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors and catalysts of cultural processes. The exhibition Twilight Language (30 September 2017 – 25 February 2018) at the Whitworth and throughout Whitworth Park will, in the Collective’s own words, ‘unravel worlds, make questions, haunt memorials, and follow the tangled threads of how histories and ways of thinking about emancipation intersect.’ The extensive exhibition will present many works from Raqs Media Collective’s practice including The Necessity of Infinity (2017) Coronation Park (2015), The Things That Happen When Falling in Love (2010) and the video works Strikes at Time (2011) and Equinox (2012). The exhibition will include several new commissions inspired by Manchester’s history.

South Asian Modernists 1953-1963 at the Whitworth (30 September–15 April 2018) will reflect the pioneering efforts of Victor Musgrave and experimental Gallery One to introduce South Asia’s most eminent modernist artists to Europe between 1953-63. Including works from the influential exhibition

Seven Indian Painters in Europe (1958) the exhibition will draw exclusively from the 1953-63 period, capturing the creative atmosphere of the time. Artists featured will include S H Raza, Akbar Padamsee, Tyeb Mehta, Paritosh Sen, Avinash Chandra, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Francis Newton Souza, Ram Kumar and Laxman Pai. Paintings will be supported by works on paper, exhibition catalogues and photographs by the renowned photographer Ida Kar. The exhibition is co-curated with Amrita Jhaveri, an expert in Modern and Contemporary Indian art, gallerist, author and collector.

Manchester Art Gallery will open solo presentations by five artists: Neha Choksi, Waqas Khan, Mehreen Murtaza, Hetain Patel, Risham Syed and host a one-off performance lecture from Tentative Collective.

Neha Choksi’s new multichannel film installation (30 September – 25 February 2018) will feature the artist and her friends. Stemming from a conviction that to learn to be oneself, one always needs others, the film is shot at a construction site for an expansive and modernising Jain ashram in India. Each invented situation explores the interconnections and tensions between an individual and her community, solitude and gregariousness, genius and collaboration, repose and performance. Neither psychological probing nor spiritual collectivism - in short, science or religion - can fully address and encompass human desire.

Waqas Khan’s minimalist ink drawings are made from networks of extremely precise dots and lines that measure less than a centimetre each. He creates expansive monochrome compositions that resemble webs and celestial expanses. Working at night, he enters a trance-like state in which he controls his breath to match his mark-making. His work is inspired by Sufi stories and songs, ‘I deal with the script of the Sufi. It’s a side of Islam that is peaceful, happy. For me, Sufism is like meditation, that kind of calm’.

Mehreen Murtaza will fill Manchester Art Gallery’s ground floor gallery (30 September 2017 – 4 February 2018) with living plants for a new work exploring communication and consciousness. Through in-depth research, Murtaza has developed a unique narrative and sound installation which will blur the boundaries between plant neurobiology, science fiction, philosophy and spirituality to create a space that is neither fiction nor non-fiction.

Multi-disciplinary artist Hetain Patel will exhibit two video works, The Jump (2015) and Don’t Look At The Finger (2017), a new commission by Film and Video Umbrella with Manchester Art Gallery and QUAD (30 September 2017 – 4 February 2018). Continuing the artist’s fascination with staging archetypal Hollywood action scenes within domestic settings, each piece employs the artist’s characteristic sense of humour and the scale of a Hollywood production. Don’t Look At The Finger presents a wedding ceremony where bodies speak physically, and the protagonists seek human connection through ritual combat and signed languages. The Jump features Patel’s homemade replica Spider-Man costume and connects the fantasy of action and superhero films with the domestic setting of his British Indian family home in Bolton.

Risham Syed’s solo presentation (30 September 2017 – 25 February 2018) will consist of new postcard sized paintings of Lahore, exquisite mementos of the artist’s home city. Juxtaposed with life-size objects from the construction industry such as iron rods or spiked grills, the exhibition will show a city in constant flux. Additional sculptural works that reference collective memory and colonial history will be installed in dialogue with the galleries 18th and 19th century permanent collection.

Reena Saini Kallat’s solo exhibition Earth Families at Manchester Museum (29 September 2017 – 26 February 2018) will interact with the museum’s rich and varied natural sciences and human cultures collection. Drawing together multiple strands of objects and specimens to invoke dense histories of human exchange and combat, coercion and conquest, Kallat creates new hybridised species of birds and animals, trees and flowers from national symbols proclaimed by nations as their own, symbolically unifying the otherwise conflicted nations they represent. The Oak tree of the USA is combined with the Palm tree of Cuba, the national bird from Israel the Hoopoe alongside the Palestinian Sunbird. Kallat will also exhibit Colour Curtain (2009), a barricade made from rubberstamps with the names of individuals who have been denied visas and Light Leaks (2008-2010), a sculpture modelled on the gates at the Wagah Attari border between India and Pakistan.

Alongside the exhibitions programme throughout September multi-arts centre HOME will showcase independent Indian cinema and Manchester-based Band On The Wall will programme a series of contemporary South Asian music events.

The New North and South network consists of Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth, Manchester Museum, Liverpool Biennial, The Tetley in Leeds and Colombo Art Biennale (Sri Lanka), Dhaka Art Summit (Bangladesh), Karachi and Lahore Biennales (Pakistan), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (India) and the British Council. The three year project aims to connect with diverse audiences on both continents through a programme of exhibitions and events that showcase the best of contemporary art from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UK.

Find out more at and follow the conversation with #newnorthsouth.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017

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The world's largest arts festival is back this August celebrating its 70th year in Scotland’s capital for the Edinburgh Fringe

With 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues in 2016, there are thousands of reasons to visit the Fringe next month to see a variety of creative talent.With 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues in 2016, there are thousands of reasons to visit the Fringe next month to see a variety of creative talent.

The festival begins on August 4 and last over three weeks with some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment in attendance as well as unknown artists looking to build their careers.

These include art forms such as theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.
Here are a few acts to keep an eye out for:

Tez Ilyas brings his third stand up show to Edinburgh following the successes of his critically acclaimed debut, TEZ Talks in 2015, and his follow-up smash hit, Made in Britain in 2016. 

His debut Edinburgh show, TEZ Talks, transferred to BBC Radio 4 for a full series and has already been re-commissioned for a second.

In 'Teztify' feels like he’s constantly on trial. In his new show, he’s decided to teztify against all the assumptions the world has of him.

Some are on the surface: he’s Asian; some, he’s never run from: he’s a working-class man of faith; and some he’s worn on his sleeve: he’s a total lefty liberal. 


Kae Kurd makes his Edinburgh debut at the Pleasance Courtyard with his hard hitting and hilarious show 'Kurd Your Enthusiasm'. 

Over the past 18 months this outstanding rising star has been making a serious name for himself. 
Last year he was part of the Pleasance’s prestigious Comedy Reserve showcase and supported Dane Baptiste on his nationwide tour. 

Kurd Your Enthusiasm takes us through Kae’s story of arriving in London as a refugee at six months old. 

Award winning stand-up comedian and presenter Aatif Nawaz is at the Edinburgh Fringe in August with 'The Last Laugh'.

His first two solo shows Muslims Do It 5 Times A Day and AATIFicial Intelligence both earned rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and spawned sell-out runs in London. 

Earlier this year, Aatif launched his new podcast, AATIFicial Intelligence on iTunes that has grown in listenership every week.

Bradford plugs its Tour de Yorkshire art pieces for competition

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Pupil and teachers at Haworth Primary School worked on the Branwell Bronte Worth Valley Young Farmers project

Pupil and teachers at Haworth Primary School worked on the Branwell Bronte Worth Valley Young Farmers project


Last chance to vote for Addingham Ducks or Branwell Bronte on a Bike in the Tour de Yorkshire Land Art competition

There are only a few days left to vote for the Addingham Ducks or Branwell on a Bike in the Tour de Yorkshire Land Art Competition.

These two Bradford art pieces were shortlisted in a competition to crown the best piece of land art from this year’s race.

Stage Three of the Tour de Yorkshire 2017 started in Bradford city centre and passed through large parts of the Bradford district on Sunday 30 April 2017.

Hundreds of amazing installations animated this year’s route and two from the Bradford district made the shortlist of 12.

The two pieces in the Bradford district which have made final are ‘A trio of giant ducks wearing cycling jerseys’ in Addingham and ‘Branwell Bronte riding a bicycle’ in Haworth.

The giant ducks which are now a permanent feature on Addingham Main Street were commissioned by Bradford Council and Addingham Parish Council working with local artist Wes Wilcox.

Addingham Ducks is a trio of giant ducks wearing cycling jerseys

Addingham Ducks is a trio of giant ducks wearing cycling jerseys


Addingham has a long affiliation with ducks and a similar piece of artwork was created for when the Tour de France Grand Depart came through the village. Two of the ducks are wearing jerseys from the Tour de Yorkshire and one has the King of the Mountains Tour de France jersey in a nod to the race coming through the village during both days of the Grand Depart in 2014.

The artwork featuring Branwell Bronte riding a bicycle was part of a project celebrating the Tour de Yorkshire at Haworth Primary School. The artwork celebrates 200 years from the birth of painter and writer Branwell Bronte in 1817 the brother to writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte who lived in and wrote about Haworth.

Pupils and teachers at the school worked with Andrew Wood from Manorlands, Sue Ryder Hospice to create the giant land art in conjunction with Worth Valley Young Farmers Club. The land art is made out of recycled plant pots, carpet and tarpaulin.

The public vote closes at midnight on 13th June so people only have a few days to decide. People can vote at and the winner will be announced shortly after.

Landscape architect Saira Ali urges people to get voting on the two Bradford art pieces

Landscape architect Saira Ali urges people to get voting on the two Bradford art pieces


Saira Ali, who led on land art projects for Bradford Council, said: “Some real hard work went in to creating these two pieces and they both deserve to win. The people of the district have really got behind these creative pieces and encouraged us and worked with us on them, so we would really like to see them win. Come on Bradford get voting.”

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, will present the winner with the coveted Tour de Yorkshire Land Art Trophy which was awarded to the North York Moors National Park Authority and Hambleton District Council in 2016 for their giant piece on Sutton Bank which featured a horse, ram and wild boar riding a penny farthing.

The third edition of the Tour de Yorkshire proved to be the biggest and best one yet with record crowds of over 2.2 million roadside spectators watching the action first-hand. Belgian rider Serge Pauwels took the overall victory after winning the third stage just ahead of his Dimension Data team-mate Omar Fraile.

Make the commitment to go! Roddy Doyle brings his smash hit West End Musical to Leeds

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INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE: Deco (Brian Gilligan), in The Commitments (Photo cred: Johan Persson LR)

INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE: Deco (Brian Gilligan), in The Commitments (Photo cred: Johan Persson LR)

In the first of his bestselling novels, The Commitments, which he wrote in 1987, Roddy Doyle brilliantly caught teenage passion for music and the giddy pleasure of forming your own band.

Now, director Caroline Jay Ranger has brought the book to life in an incredible musical which gets everyone’s lungs working to full capacity.

A group of young working-class Dubliners decide to form a band, which – to the delight of the audience – performed over 40 classic songs, including a hip thrusting rendition of Mick Jagger’s ‘(I can’t get no) Satisfaction’ and a shoulder-shifting version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours’.

Brian Gilligan is the perfect Deco; charmingly chubby and just the right side of obnoxious - it’s worth the ticket price alone just to watch him sing “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” whilst eating his way through a bag of chips.  

Another stand-out performance was Sam Fordham’s Mickah - the ultimate skin head with a soft(ish) heart. He has a unique method of getting the audience to applause to the ‘hardest working band in Ireland’s’ songs, just imagine Sam Dingle from Emmerdale if he had got hold of some hard drugs.

Coronation Street legend, Kevin Kennedy, stars in the critically acclaimed musical alongside many of the cast from the record-breaking show’s two year run at London’s Palace Theatre, including Brian Gilligan who will reprise his starring role of Deco and Andrew Linnie as Jimmy Rabbitte.


Kevin takes the role of Jimmy Rabbitte’s Da in the show that is written by Roddy Doyle, the author of the best-selling novel of the same name.

Roddy Doyle said: “The Commitments were born in Dublin, moved to London, and will soon be hopping all over the shop. I wrote the novel – invented the characters – in 1986, and it thrills me to think that they will be entertaining audiences throughout the UK and Ireland 30 years later, in 2016.”

Kevin Kennedy won the hearts of the nation when he starred as Curly Watts in Coronation Street. Since leaving Coronation Street, Kevin has regularly appeared in theatre productions including: Chicago, The Rocky Horror Show, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and We Will Rock You.

Kevin said: “After working abroad, I am delighted to be returning to such an iconic musical as The Commitments. It is a pleasure to travel around the country playing to enthusiastic audiences who love this show.”

The Commitmentettes – the ladies with the perfect blend of Irish charm and working class grit - bring the whole ensemble together, keeping the group on the brink of unity through the shared admiration of their looks, if nothing else. Don’t be misled by their pretty faces though – these girls can certainly belt out the tunes.

You will no doubt fall in love with The Commitments if you are lucky enough to see them in Leeds this winter.

With plenty of humour, drama, history and, of course, a hit soundtrack to sit back and enjoy (or stand up and dance to), this is one stage performance the whole family will love.

Who are The Commitments?


The Commitments is the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians and friends into an amazing live act, the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced.

The show follows the journey of two members of a frustrated synthesizer band - the opening scene we find them playing but being ignored in a shop window - who turn to Jimmy, the local music expert, for help.

Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the new line up who he names The Commitments.

The humour kicks in as the band get to know each other and their instruments, and proceed through early rehearsals for their first gig.

Just as they improve and begin to get a name for themselves they combust. The backing singers are all getting off with the middle aged horn legend, the singer has entered Eurovision and the saxophone player has dangerous leaning towards a jazz career.

The show runs at the Leeds grand Theatre until 10th December with tickets priced between £24.00 and £49.50.

Huddersfield’s future stars: Keeping Northern talent ‘on track’ to succeed

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COOKING MASTERS: Pizza chef, Antonio Curiale, was joined by Scottish TV chef, Tony Singh, at Huddersfield Train Station, where they cooked up a storm with commuters

COOKING MASTERS: Pizza chef, Antonio Curiale, was joined by Scottish TV chef, Tony Singh, at Huddersfield Train Station, where they cooked up a storm with commuters

A trio of celebrity faces pulled up at Huddersfield Train Station this past week where they helped future art, food and music talents showcase their array of talents.

Scottish TV chef, Tony Singh, Leeds-born neon artist, Julia Bickerstaff, and Lancashire-raised radio DJ, Shaun Keaveny, headed up the TransPennine Express (TPE) headed initiative - the ‘Where Next Project’.

In what was a unique exhibition for the train station, each industry expert offered valuable advice to their ‘student’ as they displayed their talents to Huddersfield’s busy commuters.

Despite the usual hustle and bustle of the station, passersby were happy to take time out of their day to view stunning art pieces and sample some traditional Italian pizza – cooked up by Pizza Chef, Antonio Curiale.

Antonio worked alongside bacon artisan, Mark Reynolds, and TV chef, Tony Singh to create the delicious ‘food-on-the-go’.

TALENTED: Artists were able to showcase their talents on the day as part of the Where Next Project

TALENTED: Artists were able to showcase their talents on the day as part of the Where Next Project

Thanking Tony for his mentorship, the Italian-born chef said: “Tony has helped me to look at pizza in a new way and his guidance will help me in expanding the offering we have at Antonio’s Pizza Party.

“The food industry can be a difficult one to get into but with the help of projects like this I’m sure many more people will be inspired to build new ideas and business right here in the North.”

Tony added: “It’s been fantastic to work with Mark and Antonio and I’m delighted that it has resulted in fantastic bacon pizzolo being served to hungry commuters coming into Huddersfield.

“Working with a bacon expert and a pizza fanatic has been a delicious journey and by the looks of things, the product has resulted in lots of happy commuters.”

In total, six talented individuals from across the North and Scotland were given the chance to shine in front of thousands of commuters throughout the day.

NOTEWORTHY: Despite the usual busy environment of the train station, commuters were happy to stop and admire the work

NOTEWORTHY: Despite the usual busy environment of the train station, commuters were happy to stop and admire the work

Sue Whaley, Human Resources Director, for TransPennine Express explained where the project had come from.

She said: “It’s no secret that The North and Scotland is home to burgeoning talents across multiple industries, today we have seen that come to life.”

“At TransPennine Express, we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and develop the communities we serve.

“From undergoing recruitment drives to attract a young and more diverse workforce to launching initiatives such as the Where Next Project which hopes to further creative industries.

“What we’ve seen today is the future and how making connections with those who have already made it can help those who are making their first steps to becoming the stars of tomorrow.”

Be a p-ART of Bradford College: College to hold art and creative conference

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Year 13 school pupils who are contemplating a career in art, design or the creative industries are being invited in to Bradford College to investigate their options.

The college is throwing open the doors of its Bradford School of Art and Northern School of Creative Industries on Wednesday November 2 and laying on presentations and taster sessions designed to help students decide what they want to study at university level.

There will be demonstrations of media make-up and special effects, workshops on interior design fashion and textiles, film, graphics and photography.

Attendees will learn about entry requirements, the UCAS application process and will also get the chance to chat to tutors and expert advisors about the huge range of Higher Education courses on offer at Bradford College University Centre.

Visitors will also get the chance to tour the multimillion campus and will receive a complementary lunch in one of our onsite cafeterias.

The event runs between 10am and 3pm and entry is free but places must be booked in advance via the Bradford College website

Studying at Bradford College University Centre will expose you to a diverse mix of people with students coming from different cultures and communities, varying in age, race and religion, guaranteed to enrich your learning experience.

Outstanding facilities include the recently built £50 million David Hockney Building, a new £10 million Advanced Technology Centre, as well as a Restaurant, Salon, spa and much more for you to enjoy.  

Bradford College is based in the heart of Bradford city centre- perfectly placed for local transport links and access to the city's night life and culture.

Shafqat Amanat Ali: “Artistes in India, Pakistan and anywhere are against terrorism. Period!”

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Popular Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali, whose Bengaluru concert was cancelled after the 18th September attack in Jammu and Kashmir, has defended his fraternity members who he feels have been blamed for keeping quiet about condemning the incident.

He says artistes anywhere in the world are always against terrorism.

Some people in India contend that most celebrated Pakistan artistes were reluctant to condemn the Uri terror attack, which killed 19 Indian soldiers.

"It all started with the blame going on Pakistan from the word 'go' which absolutely put them on the back foot,” the Lahore-based singer, who’s sung in Bollywood movies starring superstars like Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar said.

“No artiste will be okay with hearing things against their country, which is why they went quiet. But of course, they all condemn the attack in Uri or any other terror attack anywhere.

“Artistes in India, Pakistan and anywhere are against terrorism. Period! They were made to feel defensive the moment this unfortunate incident happened which is why they went quiet," he added.

VOCAL: Salman Ahmad from Pakistani band Junoon says banning artistes and culture in the wake of recent events was akin to giving victory to terrorists and extremists

VOCAL: Salman Ahmad from Pakistani band Junoon says banning artistes and culture in the wake of recent events was akin to giving victory to terrorists and extremists

Many artistes from Pakistan kept mum on the topic, but Salman Ahmad of the famed band Junoon had taken a strong stance regarding the worsening ties between the neighbouring countries, saying that banning exchange of artistes and culture in the wake of recent events was akin to giving victory to terrorists and extremists.

Following the attack, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had given an "ultimatum" to Pakistani artistes to leave the country. Shafqat's concert, scheduled to take place on 30th September in Bengaluru, also got cancelled.

"It (cancellation of his show) was absolutely expected right after the attack happened.

“I was mentally prepared that in such a tense atmosphere, a concert would not make sense at all and would be postponed, which was decided with the organiser a few days after the attack. But once the whole bashing of Pakistani artistes started, I knew it would (remain) cancelled for the time being at least," he said.

It didn't end with that. His fellow Pakistani singer Atif Aslam's concert was also called off in the Indian capital suburb Gurgaon. To add to the troubled waters, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association passed a resolution deciding to ban Pakistani artistes from working in Indian movies.

But Shafqat still believes art and culture don't have boundaries.

"It did start with extremist groups banning artistes and then it was just a downward spiral with other subsequent steps being taken by bodies and channels on both sides in reaction. I would still say that art and culture don't have boundaries," he said.

Shafqat believes that hatred could only cause disruption for a while. "I am still hopeful that peace will prevail and this unfortunate pause in the exchange of culture from both sides will resume," said the singer, who has given hits like ‘Tere naina’, ‘Mitwa’ and ‘Teri jhuki nazar’.

"I am hoping and praying that this situation gets resolved. I am keen to see peace between both the countries. Once that happens and we have all moved on and we can look back upon this situation as a distant past, I would love to perform for Indian audiences in India because I have always received a lot of love from them," added Shafqat.

"I would not blame any producer or director at this point for replacing my voice with another singer," Shafqat said adding, though, that he had not heard any such thing from the directors he has worked with.

Shafqat has also urged people in India and Pakistan to work towards spreading "as much positivity as they can, and pray together for peace between the two nations".


Art and dance stitch together

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PERFORMANCE TIME: SAA-uk will put on a unique outdoor performance in response to a famous sculpture at the University of Leeds

PERFORMANCE TIME: SAA-uk will put on a unique outdoor performance in response to a famous sculpture at the University of Leeds

South Asian Arts weave into the fabric of Yorkshire’s textile history

A local arts charity, SAA-uk, has joined forces with the University of Leeds to raise awareness of public art by producing a theatrical music and song performance, all in celebration of ‘Yorkshire Year of the Textile’.

Yorkshire Year of the Textile, which kicked off in June is a year-long initiative that reflects on the University’s history and has been awarded £98,500 of Arts Council England funding.

For the first time, SAA-uk has had the unique opportunity to create a musical response to a piece of art. The ‘Dreamer’ a Sculpture by Quentin Bell has provided the focus point for the ‘enlightening’ show, which will be performed on the 7th October at the University of Leeds.

Keranjeet Kaur, SAA-uk’s artistic director, explains: “In response to a beautiful sculpture of a woman levitating, we have created a contemporary expression of music, dance and light.

“Working closely with our sound expert, we have recorded the rhythmic patterns in one of the last working Mills, A.W Hainsworth & Sons in New Pudsey and evolved this sound by adding melody and creating a moving performance.

“Five talented artists; Vijay Venkat, Keertan Rehal, Liz Hanks, Jyoti Uniyal and Alex Delittle will perform on the evening and have combined, music, song and dance to highlight the delicacy, fluidity, strength and texture which explores our innate relationship with textiles.”

The show is free to attend and audience members will be treated to the captivating sound of the violin, bansuri (Indian Flute), cello and vocals as well as being dazzled by Kathak dancing, similar to western clog dancing.

The piece will explore the different rhythmic patterns heard in working mills and the monotonous work women and children, both Western and Asian were subjected to.

Professor Ann Sumner, Head of Cultural Engagement from the University of Leeds, comments: “We are delighted to be working with SAA-uk on this innovative and exciting artistic response to one of our most popular sculptures on campus.

“In order to create a sense of weightlessness, Bell worked with Dr Gurdev Singh in the Department of Civil Engineering at Leeds to produce a revolutionary fiberglass cast with a steel armature, that has the appearance of bronze.”

Quentin Bell, nephew of famous author Virginia Wolf, came to the University of Leeds in 1959 when he was appointed Head of School of Fine Art and was later made Professor of Fine Art.

The sculpture was unveiled 34 years ago this month and will provide the backdrop for the 20 minute performances which will take place in the Clothworkers’ yard in the University of Leeds campus at 8pm, 8.50pm and 9.30pm on Friday 7th October.

Leeds’ ‘Forgotten Hero’: The story of a legend, told via a paintbrush

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CREATOR: Caroline Jaine painted to portrait for the ‘Forgotten Heroes’ exhibition

CREATOR: Caroline Jaine painted to portrait for the ‘Forgotten Heroes’ exhibition

Among the huge array of objects which make up Leeds City Museum’s In Their Footsteps exhibition, there are many stirring examples of courage and heroism.

But in some ways, the story of Jogendra Sen epitomises the selflessness and dedication shown by the Leeds soldiers who gave their lives on the battlefields of the First World War.

COMPELLING ART: The portrait of Jogendra Sen which hangs at Leeds City Museum as part of In Their Footsteps

COMPELLING ART: The portrait of Jogendra Sen which hangs at Leeds City Museum as part of In Their Footsteps

Born in 1887 in Chandernagore, India, Jogendra travelled to Yorkshire in 1910 where he studied electrical engineering at the University of Leeds before working as an assistant engineer in the Leeds Corporation electric light works on Whitehall Road.

When the Leeds Pals battalion was raised in 1914, he was among the first to sign up but, despite his education, he was denied the rank of officer because of his race.

Throughout his service, Private Sen remained the only non-white soldier to serve in the 15th West Yorkshire Regiment.

He was killed near the Somme in 1916, in an encounter with the enemy at the age of 28.

Private Sen’s portrait, which currently hangs in the museum’s special exhibition space, was commissioned by Co-Create Arts and Cambridge International Arts for their ‘Forgotten Heroes’ portraiture project and was painted by Caroline Jaine

The soldier’s name is also on the University of Leeds’s war memorial as well as the rolls of honour in Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel, where he was a member of the choir.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said: “Private Sen gave his life in service of his country, a sacrifice made all the more poignant by the fact he had faced such discrimination when signing up.

“Like so many Leeds soldiers, he put his desire to serve ahead of himself and it is fitting that he is now commemorated in this wonderful exhibition alongside his comrades, a tragic number of whom also made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Sikh’s striking shading skills: Pen-Tacular’s pencil is on point

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SUPERB: ‘Sikh Soldiers’ is a magnificent life-like drawing of three warriors in their turbans

SUPERB: ‘Sikh Soldiers’ is a magnificent life-like drawing of three warriors in their turbans

Rajinder Parsad Singh Tattal, or ‘Pen-Tacular-Artist’ as he is known in the art world, is a graphite and charcoal pencil artist from London who specialises in creating black and white realistic work.

The 41-year-old produces jaw-dropping creations, but also uses many other pieces of equipment to create his artwork that people do not see in the final pieces, such as electric erasers, blending stumps and handfuls of graphite powder.

THE ARTIST: Pen-Tacular draws for over 10 hours a day, five days a week

THE ARTIST: Pen-Tacular draws for over 10 hours a day, five days a week

As a freelance artist, Pen-Tacular spends around 10 hours a day creating new ideas, concepts and artwork. If he is not doodling away, he is either exhibiting his artwork, curating art workshops or giving talks.

He is currently taking the art world by storm, but life has not always been easy for the hyperrealist artist.

Three years ago, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s - a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.

“Being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2012 was extremely important in me becoming an artist,” he explained. “Although my job was good in terms of the money, I was not satisfied with my career and I was depressed.

“I was forced out of my job and made redundant. A year later I was diagnosed with Asperger’s. So with time on my hands, I started drawing again and decided to make art my full-time career.

“Getting diagnosed was important, as it helped me to understand myself better, which has helped combat my depression and allowed me to focus on positive aspects of my life - like my artwork - rather than the negatives.”

Pen-Tacular has been open with his battle with depression or, as he calls it, his ‘dark period.’

He added: “As I know from my own experience, the Asian community is very close-minded about this subject. I hope being open about my struggles will help others.”

After graduating university with a degree in product design in 1999, Pen-Tacular quickly found that careers in the design and art fields were difficult to find.

STUNNING: Another drawing, called ‘Lifeline’, captures the different shades in running water effortlessly

STUNNING: Another drawing, called ‘Lifeline’, captures the different shades in running water effortlessly

He explained that in the Asian community, jobs in such industries are often viewed as careers that are ‘not respected’.

“I had to make the hard decision to work in various fields unrelated to my creative side, which left me feeling very down,” he added.

“Unfortunately, I did not have time to draw. One year turned into two years and over time I stopped drawing completely. This culminated in a 12 year battle with depression and I turned to alcohol at times.”

Luckily, Pen-Tacular stopped drinking four years ago and is back to his beloved drawing and doing ‘what he loves the most’.

For as long as he can remember, he has ‘always loved to draw’.

He reminisced: “It was the one thing that I would just get completely absorbed and lost in. I hated all other subjects at school and so put all of my energy into drawing, to the extent I stopped going to my other classes.”

He now knows that having ‘obsessive hobbies’ is a very common autistic trait, but which was ultimately damaging to his academic life as he only left school with one qualification in art. He then had to re-do all of his other subjects in order to graduate with a degree later on.

But like most trials and tribulations in life, there are hidden blessings.

“Drawing feels like a way for me to escape the world and go into my own little bubble,” he said. “It also gives me confidence, and no matter how difficult things get, I know that drawing will take me to a place that will make me forget about my issues for a brief time.”

INTRICATE: This piece, entitled ‘End of the Road’, is a comment on animal cruelty, as Pen-Tacular is a vegan

INTRICATE: This piece, entitled ‘End of the Road’, is a comment on animal cruelty, as Pen-Tacular is a vegan

One of Pen-Tacular’s biggest heroes in the art world has been the comic illustrator, Todd McFarlane, as his artwork has inspired him more than any other artist, and is full of praise for other artists on the scene today.

He continued: “Over the last few years I have started to focus on realistic pencil artwork. Artists like Kelvin Okafor and Diego Koi produce mind-blowing artwork.”

Pen-Tacular says that if you want to succeed as an artist, you must ‘think outside the box’.

“For me personally, being very single minded, stubborn and focused on what you want to achieve is also important. This can be difficult for most people as it means spending hundreds of hours practising and it can be very anti-social,” he said.

He explained that practising is crucial, as honing your technique ‘will take you to the next level’.

“It’s difficult, as progress can be very slow, so being patient is important as well.”

What next for the artist known as Pen-Tacular? It seems only larger and more complex mainstream artwork is in the pipeline.

“I’ve already started my first large A1 piece which is double the size of my other artworks. It’s much more complicated and detailed than any artwork I’ve done before.

“I’m also going to be going abroad and exhibiting my artwork in another country later this year, which I am excited about.”

For any artists in the Asian community, Pen-Tacular advises ‘not to give up’.

“Being an artist within the Asian community can be difficult, as it’s not the most financially stable or predictable career. If it’s what you love to do and you are great at it, then persevere, as the positive rewards far outweigh the negatives.”

Art gets a workout: Inspiring the next generation of artists

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SIKH SCRIBBLES: There were some beautiful pieces at the show

SIKH SCRIBBLES: There were some beautiful pieces at the show

World renowned artworks were showcased in unusual surroundings on Saturday 18th June, when the Sikh Art Exhibition had its official opening at the Khalsa Fitness gym in Bradford.

The main objective of the project was to allow those who attend the gym to get a better understanding of Sikh inspirational figures and gain an overview of the ‘spiritual guidance’ the Sri Guru Granth Sahib provides in Sikh’s everyday lives.

Over 300 adults and children attended the jam-packed event.

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION: The children at the event may be future stars of the art world

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION: The children at the event may be future stars of the art world

Each piece of art was accompanied with a detailed description to enable the observer to be inspired and spiritually uplifted, whilst working up a sweat at the gym.

The gym itself is part of the Gudwara complex and Sam Singh, a volunteer there said: “We had the idea a year ago to brighten and spruce the place up a bit.

“We hunted for artworks around the world, obviously this took some time. Everything exploded from there.”

He added: “We wanted to give our community a little something else. To inspire people to have steel and determination so they themselves can make it as artists. It’s also good to throw spirituality into the mix.”

“We have a vast selection of artists out there now. It’s going against the grain a bit, but we want to inspire the next generation of budding artists.”

The artists that attended were InkquisitiveRaj Singh Tattal the PentacularartistLOHA DesignsArt by RupyArt SikhTaran3DGng Bradford and IminderArts.

The event had two objectives, one was to open the exhibition and the other was to encourage young people into the world of art.

On the opening of the event, three artists gave brief presentations on how they became interested in art and the challenges they faced.

This was followed by a drawing session for the kids with guidance from the artists, before the permanent art exhibition in the gym was finally opened.

ART STAR: Amandeep Singh, also known as Inkquisitive, took some time out of his busy schedule to share his artistic insight with children

ART STAR: Amandeep Singh, also known as Inkquisitive, took some time out of his busy schedule to share his artistic insight with children

“Coming from an Asian background, kids are encouraged by their parents to be doctors and lawyers,” Sam added, “but we want to show that you can try and open other doors.

“Your child can reach these stratospheres too, with hard-work and determination.”

Changis changes opinions

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PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Dilara’s art is the reflection of his own life and vivid memories of his childhood in Afghanistan

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Dilara’s art is the reflection of his own life and vivid memories of his childhood in Afghanistan

Afghan art student’s work transforms his home country into a positive light

Dilara Changis is a research student of Afghan origin, currently studying for his masters in Contemporary Art at the University of Huddersfield.  

His exhibition, A glimpse of artwork from a conflict zone: Afghanistan’ portrays the work of artists from a country caught up in war.

WAR RUG:  The exhibited rugs were particularly thought provoking - having once featured emblems of the countryside they are now covered in military paraphernalia

WAR RUG: The exhibited rugs were particularly thought provoking - having once featured emblems of the countryside they are now covered in military paraphernalia

Dilara still has vivid memories of his childhood in Afghanistan, which inspires his research and artistic style, and influences the work he produces.  

He said: “My ideas are a bit dark compared to others, but it really connects with my personal experience and emotions and makes my work more effective and powerful.”  

The exhibition is the first of its kind to be featured at the University, offering a new perspective on a country with such an unclear culture and heritage.  It provides an amazing visual story of lives so different to our own cultural norms.

Though the Western world encourages freedom of speech and expression through art, fashion and culture, in Afghanistan and many other countries, harsh punishment can be the result of failing to adhere to strict social and religious codes of conduct.

The exhibition showcases works from contemporary Afghan artists and photographers, who are based in Australia and the US as well in Kabul, Afghanistan.  

Dilara said: “Surprisingly, three were female, which is really rare and unusual in terms of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

“Art is male dominated and women still have traditional roles there.  When I was interviewing them they would tell me ‘You have to be strong here. If you [as a woman] stay at home nothing will change’.”  

WEAVED WEAPONARY: “My ideas are a bit dark compared to others,” Dilara said.

WEAVED WEAPONARY: “My ideas are a bit dark compared to others,” Dilara said.

Often, Dilara would find the exhibited artists himself through social media and worked to build a relationship with them, which he still maintains - helping in any way he can to give their talents the chance to go beyond the troubled borders of Afghanistan.

‌As part of his project, Dilara asked visitors to take a short questionnaire before and after seeing the exhibition.  Before the exhibition visitors were asked: ‘What comes to mind when you hear Afghanistan?’– to which most replied: ‘Violence, conflict and oppression.’

Afterwards, they were asked ‘What do you think about Afghanistan now?’ – which received responses that included: ‘A country with rich complexity’ and ‘fascinating history’ -suggesting the display had a positive impact.  

“My exhibition was responsible for a big change in people’s views of Afghanistan,” said Dilara.

“From thinking of war and destruction they now think of culture and history because of what my exhibition has taught them.  I like to think of it as having given a cross cultural experience without the need to travel.”

ART TO DYE FOR: Uni student makes masterpieces using henna

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EXHIBITION: The Final Year exhibition will be held on Friday 10th June at Leeds College of Art and Design

EXHIBITION: The Final Year exhibition will be held on Friday 10th June at Leeds College of Art and Design

A Fine Art student from Leeds has taken her love of Mehndi to a whole new level, evolving its traditional use from the back of a hand to the canvas of a wall in an upcoming art exhibition.

Twenty-two-year-old Aisha Holt prefers to opt away from the traditional mixed media of paints and pastels when creating her latest art masterpiece.

Aisha’s canvases – featuring jaw-dropping designs that are metres across with gleaming gold leaf moons and scaly markings– look like the intricate calligraphy of ink, and not the smudge-prone medium of henna.

Aisha realised she was ‘onto something’ after she started drawing with henna cones.

“One day I was drawing with pencil and then I thought, ‘why not incorporate henna into my work?’ Then I realised it is part of me, it is part of my culture,” Aisha explained.

Aisha’s art is mostly to do with culture and mythical stories, which were the result of three years of experimentation on her BA course at Leeds College of Art and Design.

UNIQUE: Aisha’s art is truly eye-catching and unique

UNIQUE: Aisha’s art is truly eye-catching and unique

“My work has different meanings,” she said. “It started when I looked at mythical archetypes like Medusa and Manasa.

“Manasa is a serpent goddess and Medusa is also a snake goddess in Greek mythology. I then started looking at snakeskin and how to represent these characteristics. Somehow it formed together.

“It’s good to try different things out, that’s the way you find out what kind of artist you are.”

Her biggest piece took ‘two weeks to complete’ and the smaller piece was ‘a week and a half’. The main piece plays around with the thinness of the lines and how to use henna in different ways.

“I used all kinds of henna; homemade, black, natural and even artificial to get the different effects,” she explained.

“For my final piece, I went through four boxes of henna. I even considered asking my mum to bring some back from Pakistan as it’s a bit cheaper out there.”

After her final exhibition on Friday, Aisha wants to take her work down south to London.

“I’m thinking of doing a free-range exhibition there,” she added. “I’m also considering taking a break from studies but I will continue to refine my work at home. Eventually, I’d like to do a Masters in Fine Art.”


Mini-art-ure: Microscopic art exhibition coming to Manchester

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MINISCULE: Much of Willard Wigan’s art is so small it requires a microscope to see

MINISCULE: Much of Willard Wigan’s art is so small it requires a microscope to see

A British micro-artist whose tiny sculptures have been described as the eighth wonder of the world is currently exhibiting some of his finest work at Central Library.

Willard Wigan MBE is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for sculpting works of art so small, they have to be viewed through a microscope.

Born in 1957 in Wolverhampton, Wigan began his artistic life at a tender age. Experiencing learning differences, he struggled at school and found solace in creating art of such minute proportions that it could not be seen with the naked eye.

He adopted the belief that if his work could not be seen, then it and he could not be criticised. Often described as ‘nothing’, Wigan set about to show the world that ‘nothing’ did not exist.

“My work is a reflection of myself,” says Wigan. “I wanted to show the world that the little things can be the biggest things.

“At school, I couldn’t express myself and felt like ‘nothing.’ I wanted to experiment with the world that we can’t see.”

The boy who was told he would amount to nothing was honoured with an MBE for his services to art in 2007.

Wigan says he does not enjoy creating the pieces, as the work is painful and difficult. But he enjoys the discipline his art gives him and gets pleasure from giving the finished work to the public to experience.

Wigan enters a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce hand tremors and sculpt between pulse beats. Even reverberation caused by outside traffic can affect Wigan’s work.

Wigan’s artistic genius was recognised by the world-leading Technology, Entertainment and Design institute (TED), where he was invited to be the keynote speaker during the 2009 World Conference, receiving with it a TED achievement award.

In 2012, Wigan was commissioned to replicate the Coronation Crown in celebration of HRH Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. The delivered artwork is now housed at Buckingham Palace.

Following his late mothers guiding advice, Wigan continues to challenge himself by striving to make each work even smaller: “The smaller your work, the bigger your name.”

Wigan’s goal remains quite simple; to inspire others with his micro-sculptures and to encourage others to live to their fullest potential.

Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Rosa Battle, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Willard Wigan and his truly amazing work to Central Library. This is the first ever opportunity to see his unique, ground-breaking sculptures in Manchester - and it's an exhibition not to be missed.”

‘Willard Wigan: Through the Eye of a Needle’ runs up until Saturday 28th May.

ARTZ-I: Discover Islamic treasures in the heart of Bradford

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artz-i art 2 (800x600)

Bradford’s number one Islamic art dealership is continuing on its mission to showcase pieces from around the world as Artz-I present international creations in the heart of the city centre.

New designs have recently been imported from Bangladesh and Spain, whilst stunning in-house creations are available from the three-floor building.

Mohammed Rasul is one of the directors in the business.

artz-i main (800x600)

He said: “Our art is not only reflective of the predominantly Islamic nations, but we take inspiration from all around the world.

“During a recent trip to Granada, we saw some amazing Islamic art pieces made from leather, unlike any designs we had ever seen before. They are now hanging in our upstairs studio alongside dozens of expressive creations.”

Artz-I opened its doors in 2014, as a lifestyle, arts and interior showroom. Since then, the reputation has grown on an international scale, with orders from almost every continent placed over the past two years.

artz-i art 4 (800x600)

artz-i art (338x450)The top-floor art gallery continues to draw in intrigued customers from around the country, as they compare Eastern and Western styles of Islamic art, from calligraphy to oil paintings and everything in between.

The best-seller remains the iconic ’99 names of Allah (God)’ creation, constructed by the Artz-I team.

On it, 99 raised travertine tiles have been inscribed with the different titles of God, styled on a material backdrop and elegantly framed.

The perfect centre-piece for a home or office environment, all types of clientele have fallen in love with the art which will soon be available in a landscape design.

“I remember growing up and learning all the different names for God and when you are young you do not necessarily appreciate it as much,” Mohammed added.


“Today, I see these names and they are all so relatable. I think this piece is so popular because of that reason. People see it and they feel an instant connection.”

Meanwhile, new to the Artz-I collection this year are the 3D calligraphy creations. Flowing Arabic lettering naturally entwines itself for a stunning finish, set against a selection of simple backdrops for an emphatic finish.

Created exclusively in-house by bespoke machinery, it is a unique concept which is unavailable anywhere else in the country.

“Our in-house design team are always finding new ways to express themselves through Islamic art and that is how we are able to keep producing so many individual pieces in Bradford,” Mohammed added.

“A good piece of art does something that nothing else can. It can bring people together without any words and touch all your senses.”

For a gift to yourself or others, head down to Artz-I and be a part of the art revolution.


Contact details

54-60 Sunbridge Road,



Tel: 01274 392192

Web: >

Arty heartache after Drummond Mill fire

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listers lanterns hare (800x535)

Local artists lose everything as giant puppets burn

Five years’ worth of community artwork - including fantastical giant puppets and illuminating lanterns – have been destroyed following the disastrous Drummond Mill blaze last month.

For the past three years the mill had been the creative home of Cecil Green Arts, a Bradford based Arts collective that specialises in grand works of art for community parades.

vulture puppet (301x450)However, following the huge fire on 28th January, the group lost all their work in the smoky cinders, including tools and materials worth an estimated £12,000.

Harry Kingham, a lead artist for CGA said:  “So far it is good that no one seems to have been hurt in the fire. But I feel sick thinking of the countless hours and community goodwill that have gone into the art that was stored in the Mill.

“You can't put a price on art, but for us those puppets and creations are invaluable. They literally are characters that have personalities and stories of their own.

“We are so saddened by the loss of all the puppets that have been made over the years. We’re desperately looking for space where we can hold workshops and commence our projects again.

“It would need to be in the Bradford area. It’s not easy finding the right space because we need double door access as some of the artworks we build are too big to go through a single door.”

CGA started working in 2011 with the local community to create an annual street parade, known as ‘The Canterbury Carnival’.

In 2013,  the arty collective started ‘Lister’s Lanterns’ - an annual light parade through Manningham park – which included giant moving lanterns and a copy of Sophie Ryder's sculpture 'The Hare' which, until recently, stood outside Cartwright Hall.

In 2015, the group created 'Jack be Little', which was a piece of puppet street theatre for the Bradford Festival and included a giant 'Green Man' head and an astonishing tricycle-propelled vulture.

Katie Jones, a separate lead artist for CGA, said: “It is a tragedy that all these pieces of Bradford street art have gone up in flames. We have lost not only our livelihoods but our creative home.”

puppet cecil green (800x536)

The art group issued a statement which said: “Whilst we are devastated by the fire that has taken everything, we acknowledge that we grew from humble beginnings, building puppets in my living room in order to join in with a local school's carnival parade.

“We believe that we can rise again, to rebuild and recreate beautiful community based works of art; that continue to bring joy; to have fun; to raise hopes; to put smiles on people's faces; to create a sense of awe and to continue to tell the stories of the people of Bradford.”

CGA are now looking to raise £35,000, which will enable them to secure a new base for community art projects and create a community street parade celebrating the life of the Mill. The group are hoping to raise the money by the end of April.

A special fundraising event will kick off on 19th March at Merchants Quay, Shipley and will start at around 5pm.

To donate money online, please go to