WEYA: 1000 Artists, 100 Nations, 10 Days

Running from the 6th-17th September, this week Nottingham has been taken over by the World Event Young Artist 2012 (WEYA). With artists from all over the world right on our doorstep, showcasing their very best work, Rachel Tait reviews some of the many exhibitions on offer.

This September World Event Young Artist 2012 is being held in Nottingham. It has brought together 1000 artists from 100 nations, all aged between 18 and 30, putting on a major international art celebration throughout the city. All the major arts venues have a range of artists from across the globe on show for 10 days, resulting in the biggest event of its kind ever held in Nottingham.

The centre of attention is perhaps the Bonington Gallery (NTU) where the largest amount of work can be found. Miniature bronze and stone sculptures by Isabel Mertz (South Africa) welcome visitors and are just one example of the array of talent to be found inside this ever expanding space. Titled Treacherous Territories, Mertz uses lego blocks to remind us of childhood while hinting at an apocalyptic landscape through their unsteady arrangement which the artist describes as ‘simultaneously playful, beautiful and vaguely sinister’.

Bonington Gallery, Anastasia Markelova


While in the centre of the gallery is a paper sculpture by Anastasia Markelova (Russia), which forms the most fascinating geometric forms depending on the angle at which it is viewed. However hard it is to choose, with so many artists on show, the one artist which stands out most at Bonington has to be Rob Reed’s (UK) doll house which sits on a carpet in the central gallery space.  Lit up in various different colours it seems we are excluded from the party inside, while the carpet it sits on reminds us that a dolls house creates a fictional environment in a domestic space.

  Bonington Gallery, Rob Reed


Closer to campus, Lakeside is host to over 30 artists providing a fantastically varied selection of mediums and style. From a dark life-size figure by Rook Floro (UK) which dominates the main gallery to three particularly eerie photographic portraits by Jim Cowan (UK) which create the illusion of floating heads, the WEYA involvement on campus is certainly worth visiting if you have a free half hour. My favourite piece has to be Karmil Rafael Cardone’s (Italy) illuminated photograph depicting a translucent figure walking towards a church.

Lakeside Arts Centre, Rook Floro


Yet there are many smaller venues showing work too, including the Crocus Gallery in Lenton. My own involvement with setting up for WEYA there was a great way to meet some of the artists involved. Pavel Ivanov (Russia) filled the back gallery space with his sound installation which has drawn a lot of attention due to its focus on audience participation. Pavel explained that the audience should pick up the mp3 players and move them onto the boxes scattered in the room to create different resonances. Projecting sounds taken from London and St.Petersberg, he described the sounds that we ignore in everyday life as ‘beautiful’ which he aims to show us by isolating them in the gallery.

A large amount of the art on display at the Crocus Gallery is visual including manipulated photographs by Benjamin Ziggy Lee (Singapore). His interest in ‘identity and absence’ and ‘how we are defined’ are captivated in images which are produced by combining separate exterior and interior scenes, producing some striking photography work. The Crocus Gallery is a great space to visit to see some of the more quirky artworks involved with WEYA, none more so than Dan Song‘s (China) ‘auspicious lion’ sculptures. With their cake-like appearance they look good enough to eat!

WEYA has been an amazing opportunity for Nottingham to embrace international cultures through performance, music and visual arts. As Nicola Monaghan (author, lecturer and, WEYA ambassador) has said, ‘the festival is bringing global talent to a very creative place’ where international bonds are being created and unique collaborations are forming. WEYA has taken a lot of organizing and wouldn’t be a success without so many volunteers as well as artists. Speaking to some of those involved it seems a lot are taking part for the networking opportunities and the chance to meet so many international artists they otherwise would not have had the chance to.

It seems that WEYA has brought opportunities to communities at home and away, with new friendships forming as well as professional fusions which I’m sure will create interesting outcomes in the future. It may only last 10 days but WEYA is due to go out with a bang with various events on Friday and Saturday night, so it’s not too late to enjoy the fun!

Rachel Tait

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