Last chance to catch Kedisha Coakley at YSP
There’s just a week left to catch London-born artist Kedisha Coakley’s first solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The 2020 Fine Art graduate from Sheffield Hallam University and recipient of YSP’s Yorkshire Award residency explores timely issues concerning Black women’s identity in her practice. Her work, which draws from personal experiences, reconsiders objects and symbols in relation to history, race and culture to encourage important and timely dialogues and create inclusive and recognisable spaces within the gallery setting. For example, motifs and patterns of braided hair feature in her bronze sculptures and her bold mural wallpaper designs.
Damon Jackson-Waldock, YSP’s deputy curator, first began working with Coakley in 2019, as part of his role as a career mentor at Sheffield Hallam University. He says: “I am overwhelmed by the wealth of talent coming out of our northern universities. Opportunities such as the Yorkshire Award, and our wider responsibility to support emerging artists and those leaving university is incredibly important to all of the YSP curatorial team. Kedisha is exploring interesting and pertinent themes of identity and representation, and we knew she would embrace this venture to create timely dialogues with visitors to the park.”
Coinciding with this exhibition, Coakley is also creating her first large-scale sculptural commission, which will be unveiled in the Midlands later this year. The steel sculpture is inspired by traditional African tribal art and takes the form of a Mbulu Ngulu guardian, carved wooden figures of the Kota tribe of Gabon, Africa.
She has also been selected for this year’s New Contemporaries touring exhibition, which has been showcasing the UK’s most exciting emerging artists for more than 70 years. Many of its alumni, including Damien Hirst, Paula Rego and David Hockney, have gone on to forge careers at the forefront of contemporary art.
Coakley says: “This year has been a fantastic opportunity to explore timely issues concerning Black women’s identity and how our stories are represented in society. Taking my own experiences, events and societal disturbances over the past 18 months has challenged and changed the shape and intentions of my work as well as what I want to do with my practice. Now more than ever, interrupting spaces with true representation is paramount.
“I’m delighted my first solo show is at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as for me the park exemplifies aiding freedom of thought with the non-prejudicial curation of the artworks in natural surroundings. I hope people who visit my exhibition consider the work in juxtaposition to the beautiful surroundings, as well as each other and have a unique experience.”
See Kedisha Coakley’s self-titled exhibition at YSP until 31 October. Click here to plan your visit.