Eight emerging and mid-career artists have been announced for a national commissioning project that will boost the representation of work by ethnically diverse artists in UK museum collections.
The 20/20 project was launched by the University of the Arts London’s Decolonising Arts Institute in 2021, in response to growing calls for the cultural sector to tackle social and racial injustices.
The first cohort of artists have now begun 15-month paid residencies at eight UK partner museums, galleries and art collections, where they will receive mentoring and support. At the end of their residency, each artist will create a commissioned artwork that will permanently enter their partner’s collection.
In 2023 a further 12 artists will join the scheme, meaning 20 artists will be paired with 20 UK collections and resulting in 20 new permanent acquisitions.
The initial participants include Madi Acharya-Baskerville, a mixed media visual artist who will be resident at The Lightbox in Woking; the interdisciplinary artist Aqsa Arif, paired with Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery in Glasgow; and the artist, writer and researcher Jamila Prowse, who will work with the National Disability Arts Collection & Archive.
UAL said the artists will “explore themes around the construction and disruption of identity, self, and heritage, lived experiences of cultural and structural marginalisation, working class communities and environmental concerns”.
Other museum partners include Birmingham Museums Trust; Bradford District Museums and Galleries; and National Museums Northern Ireland.
The 20/20 project director and director of the UAL Decolonising Arts Institute, susan pui san lok, said: “We look forward to these relationships developing and to the new narratives and insights that emerge from the artists’ deep dives into buried histories and overlooked objects, centring voices and experiences long sidelined or ignored.”