A person stands in a street with discarded items, wearing a glittery pink waistcoat and a broom
Barbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca

There is Always Light: Art for a New Era

Visual Arts
Saturday 2 October 9am - Sunday 12 December 2021 11:59pm
Mead Gallery
Recommended Age:
Suitable for All

Curated specially for the City of Culture 2021, this exhibition brings together work by a generation of artists, born after 1980. 

It explores how they re-own and re-charge older traditions, how they reflect their experience of the world and how they imagine change. Thoughtful, moving, funny and challenging, these works construct an authentic vision of the world on the threshold of a new era.

There is always light, 
if we’re brave enough to see it. 
If we’re brave enough to be it. 

Amanda Gorman (The Hill We Climb)

Artists include Baran Caginli, Juno Calypso, Sekai Machache, Maria Mahfooz, Keiichi Matsuda, Edwin Mingard, Eva Oosterlaken, Sharif Persaud, Mohammed Sami, Pilvi Takala, Barbara Wagner and Benjamin De Burça.

Baran Caginli b.1990, Istanbul.


The artist’s grandmother plays a finger game with her grandson.  She learned it as a child and it uses words from dialects that no longer exist.  She had taught it to her son a guerrilla fighter who disappeared 28 years ago. The anonymous guerilla images in the video are the ones she watches with the hope of seeing her son.  While she looks for his face, she keeps her language alive for her grandson. She knows that just like the words, her son’s face will be forgotten after her death.

Baran Caginli b.1990, Istanbul.

Juno Calypso b.1989 UK

How Much Life is Enough?

The luxury house is 26 feet underground in Nevada, rather like a mausoleum.  It was built by Girard Henderson, the founder of Avon cosmetics and is owned by a group belonging to the cryonics movement. 

What began as a house built off the fortune of a well-known cosmetics company incorporating the pursuit of beauty and the preservation of the living, had since taking a disturbing detour to become an eerie trophy of those who were more concerned with eternal life.”

A photo through two adjacent windows at bathrooms, a pink one and a blue one where a red-headed woman sits on the floor.

Keiichi Matsuda b.1984 Hong Kong


Hyper-reality presents a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media. With automation disrupting centuries-old industries, the professional must reshape and expand their service to add value. Failure is a mindset. It is those who empower themselves with technology who will thrive.


More at: http://hyper-reality.co

A heavily augmented reality street where everything is bright with colour and light

Sekai Machache b.1989 Zimbabwe.


Macheche has a particular interest in W.E.B Dubois’ notion of Double Consciousness, which expresses the psychological challenge of having African heritage whilst living in the West.  Invocation is a series of six large photographs in which Machache explores the relationship between Parvati and Kali. Parvati is light skinned and is gentle and nurturing. Kali is dark skinned and the goddess of time, creation, destruction and power.  This work performs an invocation using Mudras hand gestures. 

A woman is covered in all black, with orange palms

Edwin Mingard b. 1984 UK

An Intermission

Since summer 2018 Mingard has been spending time with a group of young people, aged 14-21, in Stoke on Trent, UK, who are either homeless or who have recently experienced it. 

At the centre of the project is an artists’ film made in collaboration with that shifting group of young participants. The intention was to make a work that spoke to an audience who are not familiar with their way of life, and for the group to feel represented on screen in a genuine way. They were taught to use high-end film equipment to make the film and participated in informal workshops in photography and creative writing to document their lives.

A close up of a blue haired girl for the film An Intermission by Edwin Mingard

Barbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca

Faz que Vai

Faz que Vai (Set to Go) takes its title from the name of a dance step from north-east Brazil, associated with carnival. It portrays four dancers who use this traditional motif to explore gender and socio-economic issues. The film comments on the way this carnivalesque dance has been absorbed into different narratives of heritage, image and product.

A person stands in a street with discarded items, wearing a glittery pink waistcoat and a broom