Sounds and Scales Weigh-in For New UK Arts Event

18 October 2010

Gemma Coyle's 'horse-drawn' model

Gemma Coyle's 'horse-drawn' model building made from waste is one of the exhibits at the UKYA exhibition in Derby.

Model buildings made from waste, songs on request and a 'mayor weighing' machine will be among the unusual attractions at a new regular exhibition of UK arts debuting in Derby.

The UK Young Artists (UKYA) exhibition series is a new national initiative jointly funded by the University of Derby and Loughborough, Nottingham Trent and De Montfort universities; arts organisations Arts Council England and Igniting Ambition; and the European Regional Development Fund.

UKYA will be staged every two years, to showcse the work of musicians, painters, animators, dancers, sculptors, film makers and other artists aged 18 to 30. The debut four-day exhibition - UKYA01 - will be held in Derby from October 21 to 24, 2010, with some displays running on throughout the month and into November.

Around 450 submitted works by young artists from across the UK have been whittled down to a shortlist of 50 pieces (featuring 75 artists) for the exhibition. Events will be held in Derby locations including the University's Markeaton Street site and Derby Theatre, the QUAD centre, Deda dance studios; Derby City Council, Derby Live and Derby Museums sites; and at city-centre shops.

Up to 15 participating artists will be selected to represent the UK in the XV (15th) Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean event in Casablanca, Morocco, in October 2011. The selection panel includes internationally renowned performance artist and choreographer, Akram Khan.

Latvian-born film and video artist Olga Mesmer, 22 - a University of Derby BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate - will be exhibiting at UKYA01 in Derby.

Her four and a half minute experimental film [f]light, exploring the world from the point of view of a moth, will be screened at QUAD, in Derby Market Place, from October 21 to 31.

Olga, who is currently based in Derby, said: "I wanted the film to take the viewer on a journey of visual discovery, where the common, everyday world is shown from an unusual perspective and is experienced in a new and magical way. The work will be shown on permanent loop on one of the TV screens in the QUAD arts and film centre.

"I plan to continue finding my voice as an artist and filmmaker and think that being part of the UK Young Artists exhibition is a great opportunity to show my work as well as meet other artists from all over the country. I'm really looking forward to the event." 

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Other artists and art works at UKYA01 in Derby include:

  • Kiran Kaur Brar - who videoed 25 Chinese men she stopped at random on Shanghai's streets and got to partially hide their faces by wearing joke spectacles, as a way of exploring male identity. Her film will be shown at the University's Markeaton Street site from October 21 to November 18
  • Gemma Coyle - her 'horse drawn' model structures made of waste materials such as ballpoint pens recreate architecturally unique buildings which are in potential flood danger zones, according to climate change reports. Her work will be at the Ark Shop, 44 Sadler Gate, Derby, from October 21 to 30
  • Hannah Ellul - her 'weighing chair' structure, similar to that used in the Buckinghamshire tradition of publicly weighing mayors on taking and leaving office, to see if they have got fatter at the taxpayers' expense, is used to explore ideas of tradition and the public humiliation of authority figures. Her work will be at the Ark Shop, Sadler Gate, Derby from October 21 to 30
  • Daniel Marcus Clark - his literary readings set to music and sounds will be at Déda in Chapel Street, Derby, on October 22 and The Studio at Derby Theatre on October 23
  • Réaltympanica - an audience will sit in Bubbles Laundrette, 87 Normanton Rd, Derby, to see a live performance of Connection Failed; three people of different nationalities interacting while doing their laundry in a cross between a film, radio play and live show. Performances will be staged at the launderette from October 22 to 24
  • Giles Bunch - It's Not A Better Song, It's Just A Different Song enables friends and relatives to request a particular song for a fellow visitor with them, who will then be sought out by the performer and sung to. Giles will be at QUAD, in Derby Market Place, from October 21 to 24.

The four-day festival will begin with launch events on October 21 at the University of Derby's Markeaton Street site in Derby at 4.30pm, Derby's Silk Mill and Pickford House (5.30pm) and QUAD arts and film centre (6.30pm).

Fringe events during the UKYA01 weekend will include an educational programme, organised by the University of Derby. A professional development networking event on Friday October 22 from 11.30am to 1pm at QUAD, in Derby's Market Place, will feature University academic staff followed by a talk from 2pm to 4pm by John Goto, University Professor of Fine Art.

University of Derby students will also be involved with organising events.

Huw Davies -  Dean of the University's Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology said: "We are delighted to be involved in this celebration of emerging creative talent and that the inaugural event will take place in Derby. It's a great example of regional institutions specialising in the arts coming together with the Arts Council and local partners to produce a truly national showcase representing young artists from the UK.

"Having seen all of the original submissions, the selection panel was really impressed by the overall standard, quality and diversity of work that was out there and I know it will be a really excellent four days for both audiences and the artists involved."

Dance centre Déda, in Chapel Street, Derby, will host the closing party for UKYA01 on Sunday October 24 where the artists selected to go on to represent the UK at the XV (15th) Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean event in Casablanca, Morocco, in October 2011, will be announced.

For the events timetable for the UKYA01 exhibition in Derby from October 21 to 24 and further information about the UK Young Artists (UKYA) exhibition series see

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email

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