Exhibition Archive

We’ve got over twenty years experience as a curated gallery, originally with our Balcony gallery but since 2015 have had our larger galleries one, two, and three.

We’ve had some of exciting and daring work during that time, and our old exhibitions are archived here.

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Jas Singh: hippocratic / hyprocrite

11 February – 16 April 2023
Jas Singh presents a new, inclusive digital arts installation that explores the mechanics of identity and the narratives that surround it, drawing on the artist’s own experiences as a disabled, British-Asian artist.
Jas Singh graduated from Central St Martins in 2012 with a BA Fine Art exploring time-based durational performative and interdisciplinary practices. His work addresses sociopolitical current affairs. Interplaying with dissonant audio, installations, sculpture, video and live performances.

Life changes in 2014 resulted in neurological complications forcing him to take a hiatus. In 2018 he returned to the arts and reconfigured his method of practice from audio dissonance to considering visual overload with the same intent.

Recently Jas has been performing his work  S A B O T A G E  via live online streams to assail the audience – who are placed within the spectacle of a news culture that reflects and amplifies the chaos of contemporary politics and events.

A person in a helmet on a motorbike, decked out with trans pride flags, non-binary flags and the trans symbol, with the text Rebel With A Cause.

Trans Post Project Archive

All of March
For three years we ran the Trans Post Project, commissioning artists to create postcard artwork and sending out hundreds of free postcards across the UK based on different themes to explore Trans Lives. Across March, a community gallery was created in response to each theme that was showcased online. To learn more each year and the artists, explore the community galleries below.

Artwork: Rebel with a Cause by Fox Fisher

A sculpture of a upright zebra in the middle of a pool of water, with print colourful backgrounds behind it and a wooden house covered in paintings.

Mohammad Barrangi: Playing in Wonderland

29 October 2022 – 5 March 2023
‘Playing in Wonderland’ invited audiences to step into the artist’s imaginative world of fantastical characters and colourful scenery. The newly commissioned work presented here was built upon exhibitions at The Art House Wakefield and Edinburgh Printmakers, in which Mohammad has pushed his practice into larger scale works, installation and sculpture.
Mohammad Barrangi was born in Rasht, Iran, in 1988. Now based in the UK, he is both a globally recognized artist and a medal-winning athlete who has represented Iran internationally in the 100m sprint. Born without full mobility in his left arm, Mohammad has developed a unique artistic practice that utilizes his right hand and both feet to create his distinctive works. Blending traditional calligraphy with experimental mark-making techniques, he combines elements of Persian calligraphy, storytelling, text, and touches of humour to create intimate works on handmade paper that are often expanded into large-scale murals.
A white curtain pulled back to show the inside of a canvas, cream tent, with a white bed and wooden chair inside.

Letty McHugh: Anchorage

8 October 2022 – 8 January 2023
Letty McHugh’s work aims to connect and bring solace to people experiencing isolation and chronic illness, with the centrepiece, ‘Anchorage’, a large textile installation referring to medieval anchorages at the centre of the exhibition.
The show sought to challenge ideas around sculpture, space and our relationship to each other. The centrepiece of the exhibition was a 4.5 x 3 metre textile installation referring to anchorages: spaces created during the medieval period for people who chose to isolate from secular society, which provided opportunity for connection with others with similar values.
The Anchorage sat centrally in the dimmed space, as the tent-like structure glowedwith a gentle light. Narration and sound from Letty’s recent works ‘Watches for An Ordinary Day’ leaked from the structure like a message in a bottle. Meanwhile, a monitor showcased the accompanying videos from a series of 6 works, creating a dialogue between the internal and external.
McHugh’s work aimed to connect and bring solace to people experiencing isolation and chronic illness. For Letty, the enclosed space created by ‘Anchorage’ became symbolic for the isolation she faced when she experienced a Multiple sclerosis relapse in March 2020. During this time, she could not to access appropriate medical support due to the pandemic and was unable to leave her room for long periods of time.

Bruce McLean: Black Garden Paintings

25 June – 2 October 2022, Gallery 1 & 2
A sculptor, performance artist, filmmaker and painter, Bruce McLean is one of the most important figures in British contemporary art. This summer, Attenborough Arts Centre will present the most comprehensive exhibition of McLean’s Black Garden paintings.

Bruce McLean’s garden paintings are inspired by the beautiful, vibrant garden his wife Rosy has created at the couple’s home on the Spanish island of Menorca. The works showcase McLean’s virtuoso technique and dazzling use of colour – hot pinks, cobalt blues, and deep oranges vivid against a dark background. Monumental in scale the paintings hover somewhere between reality and abstraction with hints of pathways, ponds, flowers, and shrubs.

As his inspiration, McLean considers the garden as a ‘moving sculpture’. Bursting with foliage and flowers, the outdoor space is constantly transforming. He has been investigating the condition of sculpture since the late 1960s, creatively interrogating the possibilities and meaning of sculpture in an extraordinary range of media including performance, installation, public art, printmaking, photography, film, ceramics, printmaking, and painting.

“Everything I do comes from the fact that I am a sculptor, although some of it looks like painting, some of it looks like poetry, some of it looks like dance.”

Brought to you by Bruce McLean’s Black Garden Paintings at Attenborough Arts Centre, we hosted the Garden Art Challenge. Through social media we presented 3 creative tasks over the summer to inspire creativity at home, in garden’s and outdoor spaces.

On the first Monday of the month during the exhibition a new task was announced. On each last Friday of the month the works were showcased on our socials and on the Bruce McLean Exhibition page, with a chance to win 2 free tickets to an upcoming performances.

Take a look below at submissions from all three of our challenges.

Two contemporary sculptures by Sam Metz in a white room.

Making Solid: Unpredictable Bodies

Saturday 9 April – Sunday 5 June 2022
Sam Metz is an artist who works with movement and performance, which attempts to translate the experiences of being disabled and neurodivergent with sensory processing differences and Tourette’s.
Using sculpture, drawing, animation, live art and film, their practice explores concepts of ‘choreographic objects’, which investigate our relationships with the body and movement.
Metz’s work is created through movement and rhythm, and attempts to capture a range of ‘interruptions’, ‘aberrations’ and uncontrolled actions of their disabled body. The process of making, drawing and short performances are intrinsic parts of their practice. Using still images from performance footage or repetitive gestures represented through 3D mark making, Metz creates non-verbal documentation and poetic installations that explore non-normative descriptions of bodies and challenges societal conventions that actively seek to exclude them.

Making Solid: Unpredictable Bodies explores what an unpredictable body is and how a disabled body’s presence transgresses societal restrictions. The project investigates how movement can be made solid, and Metz is interested in the relationship between sculpture, mark-making and stimming. The artist uses drawing as a form of stimming, a common process used by autistic and neurodivergent people to self-regulate their emotions using repetitive movements or sounds to manage feelings of being overwhelmed, but importantly, can also express a range of emotions such as joy.Using drawing as a form of stimming and choreographic objects, the artist creates their own visual language to explore alternative, non-verbal communication that comes from neurodivergence, and which is often dismissed, devalued and stigmatised in mainstream society.


In Which Language Do We Dream?

Saturday 26 March – Sunday 5 June 2022
This exhibition is a co-created project, bringing together a 5-year photographic collaboration between Rich Wiles and the al-Hindawi family through discussions with curator Anne McNeill at Impressions Gallery.
It has been 10 years since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, that has seen more than 500,000 people killed or missing and an estimated 6.6 million Syrians forced to flee their countries and homes. Within the UK, we have seen many new headlines about refuges, their plight and their changed lives. However, what happens after displacement to those who are resettled and forced to rebuild their lives? ‘In Which Language Do We Dream?’ offers the perspective of a Syrian family, the al-Hindawi family, about their first-hand experiences of displacement, integration and home.
The collaborate with the family was Rich Wiles, a documentary photographer who lived and worked for seven years in a refugee camp in Palestine before returning to England. Over a five year period, Rich worked with the family to understand and document their relationships and lives. With Rich’s support and encouragement Ruba, mother within the al-Hindawi family, began photographing herself, her husband and her children’s daily life as they navigated life.
The exhibition raises debates surrounding issues of identity, displacement, integration, and home. It challenges our perception of refugees to counter the negative views held within politics, the media, and our society. Most importantly, through co-authorship the exhibition considers the power of authentic representation by amplifying the voices and viewpoints of refugee’s experiences.

Loz Atkinson: The Edge of Forever

Saturday 22 January – Sunday 27 March 2022
This exhibition brings together key works from Loz’s Imagined Nebula series, which began in 2015 as an outlet for Loz’s increasing interest in exploring the relationship that human beings have with the universe. 

Inspired by Carl Sagan’s thirteen-part television series ‘Cosmos: A Personal Voyage’ (1980), the ‘Imagined Nebula’ works grapple with the problem of how to accurately represent something so vast that it is almost impossible to measure or understand, especially when we are a fundamental part of it. The paintings that make up this series portray scenes of an imaginary cosmos, complete with starry constellations and jewel-coloured nebulae. 

On public display here for the first time is a new work titled ‘The Cosmos Within’, which consists of 12 life-sized, anatomical models of the human brain. Each model has been painted with different coloured nebulae which Loz has chosen to represent the 12 traceable elements which make up the human body. Nebula are huge clouds of gas and dust that give form and life to everything on Earth. These 12 elements are found both in vast and unfathomable cosmic phenomena as well as the tiniest microscopic particles and forces that hold everything together. 

Gallery 2 filled with pedastals holding scultpures and paintings on the wall.


Saturday 4 December – Sunday 19 December 2021
Gallery 2
SEE ME AS ME is an exhibition of new work exploring activism and social justice, co-curated by 12 young people interested in social justice and LGBTQIA+ identity in partnership with Attenborough Arts Centre and Pedestrian. The exhibition, displayed for a limited period this December, has been produced as part of the national Where we are… programme, organised by the British Museum and supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Running from 2021 until 2025 and supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Where we are… aims to help give young people agency within their own local communities by creating three cultural projects a year as part of the British Museum’s National Programmes. It encourages young people to interpret what arts and culture mean to them, their families and local communities thereby supporting and developing their skills and experience.

A fully funded programme, it also intends to help bridge barriers that prevent young people from engaging with arts and culture locally by working collaboratively with local organisations responding to a community need. Working in a four-way partnership with the British Museum, local charities and cultural spaces, Where we are… ultimately aims to connect with young people who are currently under-served by the cultural sector.

SEE ME AS ME features a mix of film, sculpture, creative writing and music – all created and curated by the team of young adults, with support from the creative team of Attenborough Arts Centre and Pedestrian. The exhibition explores issues of identity and the reality of LGBTQIA+ bodies, celebrating both the nuanced experiences and embracing the power of the collective. The team of young curators explain the concept as an invitation to see yourselves as you really are, with no labels, inhibitions or constraints.

Text the world is a work in progress. Image: a red shape, overlapping and warped, harsh against a black background

The World is a Work in Progress: Ama Dogbe Responds

Digital 2021
How do you feel about the internet? For generations born into this increasingly digital era, as all manner of daily activities continue to move into online spaces, it can be hard even to consider something so familiar.

Ama Dogbe is a British-Ghanaian digital artist whose work engages with a range of personal and societal themes through digital mediums including experimental film, animation and video games. Continuing her recent work using interactive virtual world building as a tool to explore modern challenges and dilemmas, Ama has been commissioned by Attenborough Arts Centre to respond to the theme of our current exhibition, ‘The World is a Work in Progress’.

Ama has constructed a gleaming circular platform, in which visitors can meander between five exhibits. Digital sculpture and experimental film invite us into the all corners of the internet, from trending articles on Wiki-how that serve as a snapshot of this moment in time, to a distorted version of the artist’s own search history that reflects on our relationships with and illusions of privacy and control. Peering down on Google Earth offers perspectives on remoteness, connectivity and randomisation, whilst other films show forms of human and machine labour. These clips are not only commonplace, view-generating newsfeed content, but – amid crises of housing and hunger and a cultural resurgence towards older, slower ways of working – a contemplation of what is man-made, what is machine made, and what is destroyed.

Text What is home?


By Two Destination Language
2 October 2021 – 24 October 2021 
In August 2021, Kat and Alister from Two Destination Language met with young people from Leicester and talked about what home is for them. These short stories are a glimpse into their worlds and hopes — past, present and future.

Visit our gallery space for the full exhibition, an audible and visual exploration into the idea of home.

Please pick up an audio player, sit down, relax and enjoy the short stories of the young people’s experiences of home in their own words.

After you have listened to MY LAND YOUR LAND, we invite you to fill in one of the cards from the booth. You can post it in a drawer or take your card to reception and we will then add it to the growing collection in the café.

Tell us what you think — @2destlang #MyLandYourLand @AttenboroughAC

MY LAND YOUR LAND is part of University of Leicester’s Centenary Celebrations.


The World is a Work in Progress

By Two Destination Language
25 September 2021 – 16 January 2022
The World is a Work in Progress invited local communities, contemporary artists and our visitors to come together to share their visions for the future. Encompassing tactile tapestry, spaces for thinking and dreaming, brand new sculpture and protest banners, the exhibition featured newly commissioned works, co-produced projects and several significant loans by artists whose work actively engages with the conditions of our time.

The artists represented in the exhibition responded to these themes in markedly different ways, but their practices were connected by an interest in social and political activism, co-production and concepts of futurity. Some highlighted the inequalities and prejudice that exist in our societies today, acting as a call to action in the here and now. Other works explored a variety of possible futures and invited us to collaborate in imagining the future that we want for ourselves and our communities. If the world is a work in progress, what do we want to change? What might the next 100 years have in store?

The University of Leicester celebrated its centenary in Autumn 2021. It is no coincidence that the public fund that would go on to endow the University of Leicester was opened on Armistice Day in 1918. Then known as the University College for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the University College was envisaged as a ‘living memorial’ to the sacrifices of local people in the First World War. Leicester was to have, as the local paper put it, “more than a mere artistic war memorial”. The University motto ’Ut vitam habeant’ (‘so that they may have life’) stands as a permanent reminder on every publication and degree certificate issued since. We are the only European university founded as a memorial to the First World War, and one of only two anywhere in the world.


Participating Artists

Ruth Beale, Michael Forbes, Khush Kali, Vince Laws, Bob & Roberta Smith, Kai Syng Tan, Jessica Voorsanger.

Yambe Tam: Cosmic Garden

Saturday 18 September – Sunday 21 November 2021
Cosmic Garden’ is the result of a commission from Attenborough Arts Centre that builds upon an earlier installation presented at Barbican Arts Trust in 2019. The immersive sound and sculpture installation imagines a primordial garden that lies in darkness, a dry landscape of volcanic rock crushed and crystallised under the weight of time.

Yambe Tam (b.1989, US) is an artist based in London. She works across a wide range of media, from painting, ceramics and sculpture to video game design and virtual reality. Her practice is rooted in a deep interest in the evolution of consciousness which Yambe explores through the creation of contemplative, multi-sensory experiences. In the process of researching and making her work, Yambe regularly collaborates with specialists including composers, creative technologists and scientists.

In this exhibition, Metallic wormholes are suspended in the air above. They sing a ghostly chorus about the infinity of space: a faint siren song whose vibrations draw rippling columns that appear to grow from the mineral pool below. ‘Cosmic Garden’ is a birthplace of protean waveforms that shift between sound, light, and matter, and is a space that the artist invites us to enter and contemplate the transitory nature of things.

In creating ‘Cosmic Garden’, Yambe was particularly influenced by Japanese gardens, which are meticulously crafted according to particular aesthetics and philosophical ideas. These gardens are transitional environments designed to create a space for reflection upon the interconnectedness of life and the passage of time. Echoing the forms and function of the Japanese dry garden, ‘Cosmic Garden’ is a celebration of the formidable power and form of the natural world: from the depths of the oceans to the farthest reaches of outer space.

You don’t need to be a professional artist to create a beautiful sculpture. You simply need the right materials and a great teacher, which is exactly what you’ll get with this kit. In artist Yambe’s tutorial video, she’ll show you how to cast in Jesmonite, a water-based resin system made up of mineral resin powder and acrylic liquid. Instead of working with a rubber mould, Yambe will get you creating your very own simple, one-use mould from the cardboard your kit comes in. Why? Because it’s kinder to the planet and proves that by using your imagination, you can create something special out of very little. Keep reading to find out more about our Jesmonite casting kit and how we can teach you how to mould your own designs.


Mik Godley: Considering Silesia

Monday 7 June – 5 September 2021
‘Considering Silesia’ observes the context of our evolving relationship with the internet, which increasingly enables us to virtually “visit” parts of the world and connect with strangers without leaving home.

Mik Godley is an artist and art school lecturer based in Nottingham. He is a painter who makes work using both traditional analogue painting techniques and digital iPad technology. His ongoing body of work ‘Considering Silesia’ was initiated in 2003, and explores the artist’s Anglo-German heritage, cultural memory, displacement and migration.  

‘Considering Silesia’ observes the context of our evolving relationship with the internet, which increasingly enables us to virtually “visit” parts of the world and connect with strangers without leaving home. Despite having never visited his mother’s homeland, Lower Silesia, Mik’s work documents the landscape and architecture of the region through images, video footage and maps found online. 

Disability Arts Online Logo

Visual Artist Support Commissions: Attenborough Arts Centre & Disability Arts Online

February – July 2021
Five disabled artists were given Support Commissions through 2021 by Disability Arts Online and Attenborough Arts Centre. The programme took place between February and July 2021 and offered each of the artists £1500 towards the creation of a new piece of work, plus group sessions, training and one-to-one development time with DAO and AAC staff.

No Jobs in the Arts - 'In Residence' Exhibition

No Jobs in the Arts and Attenborough Arts Centre asked six early-career artists linked to Leicester/shire to spend a day creating at home. With their immediate surroundings as their prompt, artists were encouraged to be inspired by the place they reside in; their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online exhibition showcases works by Ellé Hill, Elliot Robert Lawrence, Harry Garner, Jessica Wilson, Masah Azar and Sammy, which you can explore below; click an artwork to expand the image. The artists have also come up with six prompts, hoping to encourage different, perhaps more creative, ways of looking at our homes. So far, the exhibition includes a reflective thought piece by Curatorial Trainee Jenny O’Sullivan, and will come to feature creative responses by Attenborough Art Centre’s young ambassador group, Next Gen, building on the exhibition’s themes and ideas.

Ellé Hill (@elle.ll.hill)Appropriated photographic materials

Ellé Hill is a Leicester based photographic artist, often exploring tensions of time and technology through her work. Ellé’s pieces utilise analogue photographic processes, combining them with other elements to disrupt the idea of what the photograph could be.
“This work utilises appropriated photographic, print and screen-based material found within the home. The materials are layered together, through lens-based methods, to explore the relationship that many of us have developed to escapism throughout the pandemic. Primarily stemming from my own experience of media consumption over the past year, the pieces attempt to visually portray the chaotic and often multi-faceted nature of these different types of entertainment. The tension between the old and new, the physical and screen-based, the textures and shapes are portrayed through the 2D medium
of the photograph; perhaps this itself is a reflection of these made-up worlds of escapism.
“For me, the home has become a place in which I have been able to fabricate new ideas. Through the restriction of movement that lockdown has caused, my largely landscape based practice came to a standstill. Additionally, I struggled to access the resources that I was used to. My creativity has been forced to be approached from an alternate view, to which I was not initially accustomed. As the project discusses, finding ways to entertain myself generates new ideas. The reflection upon the media that I was consuming, and how these informed ideas, as well as how I could use them as already existing materials, became a large point of reflection over time spent in the home.”
Masah Azar (@masahmakesthings)Ink on Paper, 2021
Masah Azar is a Jordanian Fine Art finalist at Loughborough University, specializing in drawing and portraiture. Masah is particularly interested in exploring identity, interpersonal relationships, coming of age, and popular culture.
“Thinking back to the start of the pandemic, I realized I’d spent weeks in almost complete isolation in my halls of residence. I managed to keep myself sane by indulging in the little things that make me happy, giving myself new ways of exploring and occupying the small living space I was in. I chose to represent that, layering multiples of myself enjoying my own company in bed, where I spent the majority of my days.
“Being an international student, studying abroad has challenged and reshaped my definition of home. Home no longer meant the apartment I was used to being greeted with in Amman, nor could it mean the student accommodation I was temporarily living in, in Loughborough. I had to dig deeper to find new ways of grounding myself in a sense of stability. Being apart from friends and family, in my small university town, during the pandemic has given me the chance to find ‘home’ within myself, the love I felt for the people and places surrounding me, and the little things that make life worthwhile.”
Harry Garner (@garner.harry)Oil on Paper, 2021
Harry Garner is an emerging artist based in Leicestershire. His work explores allusive narratives found in painting. Harry is fascinated with the idea that painting provides the information, but not the answers; he invites the viewer to build or unravel the identities of his subjects.
“I was interested in the temporal aspect of this project. Eight hours to produce a developed painting was already slightly constricting, so I decided to push this limit even further by producing as many individual paintings as I could in this time (seven apparently). I selected objects that referenced my surroundings for the past year. For example, everyday farm tools; overalls my nephew wore when schools were closed; a photo of a friend I’ve not seen properly in months. The actual painting was a chaotic experience, but fun. My priority was to dramatically simplify my paintings. I premixed my paint and used limited tones and colours in each piece. My painting became direct, valuing every brush mark, because there was no time to go back and correct it. In the end, my hand was trembling like after an exam, but I felt energised, appreciating the act of painting as much as the final work.
“Living on a farm can always be quite isolating, with or without lockdown, so I’m used to being alone. However, not leaving the farm and not seeing anyone outside my immediate family, for eight weeks straight, really does begin to question the extent of my sanity. At first, I felt my home had been transformed into something frightening, think about Andrew Wyeth’s paintings or worse, Kubrick’s The Shining. Yet, as lockdown has progressed, I’ve realised how fortunate I am to have so much outdoor space to work and roam around unrestricted. I’m now far more grateful for my surroundings, and I might actually miss them once lockdown ends – as long as it does eventually end!”

Elliot Roberts Lawrence (@flliot)Digital Rendering, 2021

Elliot Roberts likes to imagine sets of rules when designing on a digital platform, then he breaks them. Elliot purposely introduces rogue elements when simulating the real-world physics and perspectives, inspiring, intriguing, and enticing the viewer. Implementing a set of design constraints and exploring them gives the simplest elements significance in Elliot’s work; it is this feeling of significance that connects elements and hints to a narrative.
“Spending thousands of hours familiarising myself with every minor detail in the room I’ve grown up in has forced me to analyse the specific forms of its non-sensical objects, scattered chaotically. As a ridiculous amount of time passed in solitary, I started to become overly attached to some of the shapes in my room, which I had come to associate with comfort and leisure. With most of my time in lockdown spent on a computer, I tried to further my understanding of form by replicating these trinkets. These small moments of escapism, in which I raised these virtual structures became essential to my lockdown experience. Some of my favourite objects included the outdated sound system my dad gave me, some happy candlesticks and my blindingly bright chromatic lamp.
“The relationship with my home has never been anything special. Despite it being the place I spend a majority of my time in, I’ve always found more excitement and a larger sense of appreciation for the things in my life when outdoors. As someone who finds a massive amount of inspiration in street photography, I’ve become accustomed to finding an appreciation for objects and stringing narratives between them and composing a scene out of disparate elements. I took this concept into the 3D world, combining these objects in ways that appealed to me. This style of creating allowed me to perceive spaces and objects with a new found curiosity.”

Jessica Wilson (@jessicawilsonartist)Watercolour paper, invisible ink, 2021

Through personal growth, Jessica Wilson has found that the exploration of language as a pivotal communicative method has led to an interest in understanding how to be understood. Using reflective techniques such as continuous streams of thought, CBT, and continuous line drawing, Jessica has explored the relationship between herself and her room.

Engaging in critical thinking and reflectivity during the lockdown has reshaped my relationship with myself and the personal space that I have occupied. Much of my practice is analysing my thoughts, which can be about anything, and exploring those emotionally charged feelings and trying to understand them better. Having been in the same house throughout the entirety of lockdown, I’ve noticed a difference in the way I interact with myself within my room. I’ve experienced progression and regression, and truly, my world has been between these four walls.

Streams of consciousness generally tend to stay within our heads, but I wanted to explore how the relationship with my room might change if I continuously and vocally narrated the thoughts about any experiences had in that space whilst continuously line drawing to extract these emotions and feelings. The invisible ink acts as a timestamp of my continuous stream of thought, expressed vocally; the act of speaking aloud is a fundamental concept in this piece.

“This room has always changed, it’s changed its contents and people, many times. It was never to be a permanent residence, and living through lockdown in a house that felt like it should feel like a temporary house felt very inescapable. Like most, I felt forced to spend time with myself, and doing nothing. How does one do nothing? Resentment started to stain the walls. The lockdown experience really started to change the way I was thinking, both about this room, ‘global imprisonment’ and myself. Over the past year, it’s like I can almost see memories of my experiences, from sobbing hysterically on my bed to being laid on the floor watching the shadows from the tree bounce across the ceiling. All the time, thinking, feeling, reflecting…”

Sammy (@isoelegantweddings)Photography, 2021

Sammy. Photographer of the imperfect image. Alternative processes and 100% experimental. Sammy likes to zig when everyone else zags.

My house won a silver award for architecture in 1889; it helped influence a Domestic Revival of Gothic structure within Leicester. This house is beautiful inside as well as out, and I explored every nook and cranny. My camera and I ended up gravitating towards the basement. Some original parts of the house are kept safe in the basement, and, as a result, years of webs and dust have coated these structures that once stood tall against the elements.

“I went old school and used a medium format camera. Medium format was always a preference when photographing the basement, due to the eclectic collection of old house parts. They fill the walls from corner to corner, and I wanted a camera that captured most of it. The final print represents how dishevelled and jagged the basement was, so my print processing closely resembled that of my subject area: eerie and disorderly.

When I found myself restricted and was told to stay in, I literally explored closer to home. The four walls didn’t seem so all consuming when I changed my attitude to look a little closer. My house is thriving with history and architectural influence, and I found myself weaving in and around the corridors, and eventually to the basement. From top to bottom, there are flecks of original pieces, such as doors, wallpaper, and some alluring statues that really embody and honour the scale of this 1886 house.

“Not only has this project helped to bring some interesting sections of my home from the shadows, it has also pushed forward new photography techniques and ideas as well. The synergy of my home and my camera emanated a deeper appreciation for where I lived: I had a horror movie set in my basement.”

Plastic cowboys and native Americans fighting

Tim Neath - Cowboys Invaded

Friday 22 January – Sunday 28 February 2020
A twist on the comic book ‘Cowboys & Aliens’, ‘Cowboys Invaded’ (2020) explores an alien occupation of the American West in a 50-minute mixed media stop motion.

Tim Neath has carefully crafted a sprawling model world using recycled cardboard and craft materials. The scenes are populated with dated vintage action figurines, set for an epic encounter on a miniature scale. Immersing the viewer in the imagery of Hollywood film, the piece unpicks the politics of the science fiction and Western genres, in particular the idea of Manifest Destiny: the belief that colonial expansion by American settlers was the will of God.

Tim Neath is an artist based at 2 Queens in Leicester and was commissioned by Attenborough Arts Centre to support him in the completion of this long-term project.


Graham Ensor - Meteorite Display

Monday 28 September – Friday 11 December 2020
Gallery 3
In connection with our main exhibition ‘Mariner 9’, local meteorite collector Graham Ensor has curated a display of meteorites and related artefacts in Gallery 3.

In connection with our main exhibition ‘Mariner 9’, local meteorite collector Graham Ensor has curated a display of meteorites and related artefacts in Gallery 3. With specimens from Mars and the moon, as well as local samples from the famous fall near Barwell village, these meteorites have stories to tell about the origins of the universe, and their disruptive descents to earth.

When a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite exploded over the Leicestershire village of Barwell on Christmas eve in 1965, nine-year-old Graham gained a life-long passion for the subject. He now owns about 1,000 specimens, which experts believe could be the largest private collection in the UK. Many of the meteorites in Graham’s collection are of great scientific value and he regularly works with the Open University to make material available for research. He has generously loaned a selection for display in Attenborough Art Centre.


Kelly Richardson: Mariner 9

Monday 6 March – Friday 6 November 2020
Gallery 1
Mariner 9 (2012) presents a video of panoramic view of the Mars landscape hundreds of years in the future, littered with the rusting remains of various missions to the planet.

Created with software used by the film and gaming industries, and using data from NASA’s missions to Mars, Richardson has created a realistic representation of the Mars landscape covered by the debris of centuries of exploration. Despite the apparent abandoned state of the planet, some of the spacecraft continue to work, looking for signs of life.

Kelly Richardson (b. 1972, Canada) is one of the leading members of a new generation of artists using digital technologies to create hyper-real, highly charged landscapes. Recent solo exhibitions include Dundee Contemporary Arts, CAG Vancouver, VOID Derry and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Her video installations have been included in presentations at the Toronto Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival.


Justin Edgar: Reasonable Adjustment

Balcony Gallery
This exhibition highlights the work of one particular activist group: Reasonable Adjustment, whose national campaign against the unfair treatment of disabled people gained prominence in the late eighties and early nineties with a series of attacks and public protests.

The group Reasonable Adjustment, or RAD, were formed in 1989 in protest at the treatment of disabled people, and were active during the late eighties and early nineties. What made RAD unique was the advocacy of armed resistance in the face of what they saw as unfair treatment of disabled people by the right-wing conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.

Between 1989 and 1994 they carried out a series of attacks including a shooting at the BBC and the bombing of Euston Station. Reasonable Adjustment modelled themselves on other historical armed resistance movements and are comparable to direct action groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, however, no one was seriously injured or killed in their campaign of violence.

At the time of Reasonable Adjustment, Justin Edgar was a student at Portsmouth Art College. He first noticed graffiti depicting RAD’s distinctive logo when taking photographs for an assignment on the city environment. He began to document the movement and this exhibition presents items from his personal collection of the last thirty years as well as borrowed items.

a painted vase in a case

In My Shoes

30 March 2018 – 22 September 2019

Self-portraiture has been an enduring presence throughout art history; in recent years artists have revolutionised and extended the genre by incorporating action, performance, narrative and explorations of identity. 

In My Shoes’ explores the ways in which artists based in the UK have represented themselves in their work since the 1990s. Encompassing a range of media including film, photography and sculpture, ‘In My Shoes’ draws primarily from the Arts Council Collection, with key loans from other UK collections, to investigate these dynamic approaches. 


This exhibition offers a timely opportunity to consider the legacy of a key aspect of 1990s British art. The show begins with key early works by so-called ‘Young British Artists’ including Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk, who received international attention for putting themselves in the frame with bold and confrontational works. The exhibition continues with the work of a younger generation of artists including Rachel Maclean and Bedwyr Williams who have each established an active role within their work. ‘In My Shoes’ concludes with some of the most recent works to enter the Arts Council Collection, some on public display for the first time since acquisition. 

A women looking at a painting by Sargy Mann.

Sargy Mann: Let it be felt that the painter was there

9 November 2019 – Sunday 23 February 2020
Sargy Mann (29 May 1937 – 5 April 2015) was a British landscape and figurative painter. He was acclaimed as a colourist and his diverse works are recognisable by their rich colour palette, distinct composition and a desire to capture a sense of light and space.

Mann’s distinctive vision was deeply influenced by Bonnard and Cezanne but his paintings remain remarkably original.  Affected by failing vision from the age of 36, Mann was compelled to find new ways of seeing and working – this creative liberation produced a celebrated body of work that continued after his total loss of sight in 2005. This exhibition, which has been developed in close collaboration with the artist’s family, is the largest public showing of Mann’s work to date and draws from all periods of his career.  It includes an extensive collection of paintings and drawings, alongside never previously exhibited archival material, photographs and audio recordings that reveal fascinating insights into Mann’s practise.

The exhibition is centred around four groups of Mann’s work made over three decades – the Late Lyndhurst Grove Paintings, a series of works begun in 1988, depicting the interior of Mann’s home in Peckham and locations nearby;  Mann’s house and garden at Bungay in Suffolk which he moved to in 1990; the painting ‘The Family at Breakfast, Borgo Place’ (2004) accompanied by supporting material showing Mann’s process; and a group of later works which depict  scenes of figures, often bathers by infinity swimming pools.  From the late 1980s Mann made audio recordings of his subjects and visitors to the exhibition can listen to several of these ‘audio sketchbooks’, paired with the paintings they documented.

A section of the exhibition focuses on the moment in 2005-6 when Mann lost his remaining vision. It shows three paintings including ‘Frances in the Pink Chair, Yellow Background’ which started Mann on a new way of painting.  The works are shown alongside a film made by Mann’s son Peter during this time.  Also on show are smaller works, drawings and sketchbooks which explore Mann’s need to understand the world through the act of painting and drawing.  Material relating to his time as a teacher and his research into other artists is also on display.  Mann devoted considerable time to the study of other painters, most notably Pierre Bonnard whose quote ”Let it be felt that the painter was there; consciously looking at the objects in their light already conceived from the beginning” is the inspiration for the title of the exhibition.

a gallery with photos adorning the walls

Aaron Williamson

Saturday 11 May – Sunday 14 July 2019
Over the last twenty-five years, renowned British artist Aaron Williamson has created over three hundred performances, videos, installations and publications in Britain, Europe, Japan, China, Australia, America, South America, Canada, and man other countries around the world. Williamson’s eclectic practice spans performance, objects, place and space, informed by his experience of becoming deaf and by a politicised, yet humorous sensibility towards disability.

This was Williamson’s largest solo project to date, featuring a brand new project ‘inspiration archives’, which had been commissioned by Attenborough Arts. Inspiration Archives brought together never before seen objects, artefacts, ephemera, film footage and photography, which document the lives of several historically overlooked personalities. Characters included; Deaf wrestler Cain in Chains; Charlotte Waterton, granddaughter of zoological illustrator William Waterton, and paraplegic traveller and explorer ‘Parachute Susan’ O’Sullivan, alongside various other inspirational historic figures of differing professions and backgrounds.

Accompanying the Inspirational Archive installation, Attenborough Arts Centre and Aaron Williamson also curate a retrospective of pas solo and collaborative projects including film, performance, objects, text and photography.

Doctor Strange final copy

Mel Brimfield: Talking Heads

Saturday 19 January – Sunday 17 April 2019
Talking Heads is an exhibition of new work by the artist Mel Brimfield. It includes ranging from audio installations, to multiple films and large scale comic-like drawings reflecting a lively collaborative practice encompassing theatre, visual art and performance.

Talking Heads is rooted in a long period of research at the Department of Psychosis Studies at the Kings College Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, and the National Psychosis Unit at Bethlem Hospital, London. It explores the experiences of a national community of people living with and recovering from psychosis, and of the carers, nurses, neuroscientists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and academics who work to understand and provide support.

Talking Heads is organised around a series of new works, highlights include:




The darkly comedic Ungeziefer focuses on a hapless voiceover artist in a recording studio attempting to make an abridged audiobook of Franz Kafka’s ’Metamorphosis’, directed by a bored producer.  The narrative of Gregor Samsa’s nightmarish transformation into a giant cockroach, and the inability of his horrified family to deal with it, is taken as a loose metaphor for the onset of schizophrenia and its frequently alienating effects. The actor performs and re-performs truncated fragments of Kafka’s text, following directions from the sound booth. To his confusion, intermittent auxiliary voices begin to appear, critiquing his performance, apparently unheard by the producer.  The catcalls and insults build to a yammering chorus of disapproval voiced by a cast of gibbering, shrieking voices competing for airtime.



Xenobath is a collaborative work made with video artist Milo Creese, comprising collaged sampling of found audio and footage, CGI animation, filmed interview and performed action exploring accounts of the altered states of perception frequently associated with psychosis. A recurrent monologue at the centre of the piece takes the form of a collective hallucination articulated by an oscillating swarm of voices, all performed by actor David Cann. During her residency at Kings College Department of Psychosis Studies, Brimfield has had conversations with dozens of voice hearers and perceivers of phenomena unseen by the general population to gather ‘remembrances’ of unusual experience.

A female artist kneeling in front of a portrait

Lucy Jones: Awkward Beauty

Saturday 27 July – Sunday 6 October 2018
Lucy Jones is renowned for both her imposing, challenging self-portraits and for expressionistic landscapes.

Her landscape paintings evolve from hard earned studies made while in the landscape, placing a board on the ground to make either a drawing or watercolour.

In contract, her self-portrait works are critical examinations, and reaffirmations of self. Encompassing strength, humanity and wit, they are statements as much about the human conditions as her own.

Jones studied at Camberwell School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art, where she won a Rome scholarship in 1982.

2. Adam portrait c. 1983

In Out There: Adam Reynolds, Sarah Carpenter, Nicola Lane, Terrence Birch, and Catherine Cleary

Saturday 14 April  – Sunday 17 June 2018
In Out There explores the enduring influence of renowned disabled artist and activist Adam Reynolds. The exhibition features newly commissioed work by Terrence Birch, Sarah Carpenter, Nicola Lane and Catherine Cleary, who were all shortlisted for the 2018 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary; a flagship art award set up in memory of the life and work of Adam Reynolds.

The exhibition places this new work alongside seldom-seen examples of Adam Reynolds’ own practice, archival material, and interviews. The exhibition sees The Adam Gallery, the pioneering artist-run, labyrinthine, housed in an ex-cobbler’s shop in south London, is re-imagined within the walls of Attenborough Arts Centre – re-affrming AAC’s and Shape’s commiment to supporting disabled artists.

Alongside Adam Reynolds, IN OUT THERE artists include Sarah Carpenter, who has a background in dance choreography and theatre directing. Carpenter’s inspiration comes from her experience of mental illness, likening her artistic process to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Nicola Lane explores themes of fragmentation and absence, informed by her peripatetic childhood and experience of disability. She has worked as an artist since graduating in 1972, her practice evolving from painting into sculpture, installation and filmmaking. Catherine Clearys’ paintings are populated by a diverse range of references to film, myths and stories, animation, folk memory and historical artefacts and are loosely in conversation with the history of English Neo-Romantic painting.

Adam Reynolds

Adam Reynolds (1959 – 2005) was a pioneering curator, activist, gallery owner, mentor and advocate, but first and foremost, a successful and influential artist. Reynolds worked with many different materials including lead, copper, steel and glass and moved from predominantly figurative pieces in the 1980s towards more abstract, geometric and larger work.

Reynolds, a disabled person, drew on his lived experience of muscular dystrophy throughout his career, influencing both his art and his politics. Adam used this knowledge, and commitment to increasing access to the arts for disabled people buy serving on the Board of Shape as Chair (1990-97). He also served on the Arts Council’s art panel (1989-94) and as a Trustee of Chisenhale Gallery (1991-2000). Reynolds involvement with these major organisations ran parallel with a key period disability rights movement, which saw the passing of key legislation such as the disability discrimination act (1997).

A man's eyes peep through a full flower bouquet

Amartey Golding

Friday 13 April  – Sunday 17 June 2018
Amartey Golding is a multimedia artist whose work addresses subjects of cultural identity and intolerance.

During his childhood, Golding’s family moved house regularly, not only to various contrasting communities in London, but also overseas to Ghana in West Africa. These experiences of continuous fluidity and movement have undoubtedly influenced Golding’s artwork. Golding premiered two new films alongside his 2016 film Chainmail which forms a loose portrait of his younger brother, Solomon, the first black British male dancer of The Royal Ballet.

art piece of a bbq covered in shells in front of a series of cirlces

Criminal Ornamentation, by Yinka Shonibare

22 September – 21 December 2018
Criminal Ornamentation is about the political, cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in art and craft.

The exhibition is not about the hierarchy of taste as it manifests between high and low culture, but rather about the cultural and political manifestation of pattern within craft, sculpture, painting, costume design, film and photography. Criminal ornamentation celebrates the impolite and apologetic display of patter, repetition and colour as freedom from the elitism of good taste, rejoicing the radical deviancy of pattern.

An abandoned, simple trainstation at dusk

Altered Landscapes, by Juan delGado

Saturday 6 January – Sunday 25 February 2018
Altered Landscape asked you to navigate, reflect and absorb the experiences and stories of refugees.

For this exhbition, delGado travelled to Greece, North Macedonia and Calais to film, photograph, and record the journeys taken by Syrian refugees. delGado has not filmed these ‘invisible’ people who proliferate our media, but the places they have passed through. There are traces of their existence, fragmented experiences, fleeting moments and marks left on the land as they pass through to find safety.

Using video, photography, lighting and sound, Altered Landscapes encourages you to open up contemplation and discussion about the current situation in Europe, a place that has become filled with militarised border control.

Art made of bacteria of multiple colours

Steffie Richards: Ebb and Flow

Friday 12 January – Saturday 25 March 2018
Imagine if our presence left behind a visible trace when passing through a space. What would that space then look like?

Steffie Ricahrds’ work aims to visualise this and relates to the transient values of coastal Cornwall. She explores the constant yet subtle changes to the environment, both brought and erased by the tides, and asked us to think about out relationship with the magnitude of the ocean itself.

laura swanson and claude cahun exhibtion10

Laura Swanson

September – December 2017
the first UK solo exhibition by American artist Laura Swanson. It will feature new artwork commissioned especially for this exhibition, including new installation and sculpture, alongside recent work from Swanson’s mixed-media series “Uniforms” (2014-2015), and photographic works from various past projects.

Laura Swanson examines the behaviour of looking at physical difference, working across media including drawing, installation, photography, and sculpture. Pulling from multiple sources – art history, commercial display, critical theory, personal experience, photography, popular culture, sociology – her visual language is simultaneously playful and serious, simple and intricate, inviting and disruptive.

The exhibition will take autumn 2017 in AAC’s new gallery, a space dedicated to international contemporary art. AAC is one of the largest public galleries in the midlands, producing high quality exhibitions and commissioning exciting new work. AAC is committed to supporting innovative, critically challenging, and socially engaged artists.

A photo of a woman's torso, wearing a floral jumpsuit

Plant Culture

Saturday 22 July – Saturday 25 September 2016
Bringing together different artistic representations of plant life in modern and contemporary art, Plant Culture explores how artists have used plants as a subject matter, material or aesthetic. The exhibition constituted an investigation into the relationship between humans and plants.

Through its examination of plant orientated artwork, Plant Culture will question the privileging of human experience (that of the artist) over the existence of a nonhuman subject. The exhibition looks at plant-human dynamics in a variety of different ways, for example the still life, where seemingly inanimate objects are impregnated with human symbolism.

The exhibitions design and layout will draw comparisons between botanic gardens, (collections of plants brought together for study and pleasure) and collections of contemporary art. The work will be organised around four perspectives: Allegory, Reality, Investigation and otherness.

The exhibition will be curated by, Attenborough Arts Centre. To accompany the exhibition, University of Leicester’s Department of Biology support talks and tours of the exhibition, and University’s Botanical Gardens, two organisations will also co-produce a series of creative learning classes and workshops.


Gilbert & George, Marc Quinn, Anya Gallaccio, Andy Goldsworthy, Janice Kerbel, Georgie Hopton, Simon Starling, Michael Landy, Hayley Newman, John Newling, Lois Weinberg and John Stezaker, Annie

a window, open, with a flower close up behind

Lucy and Jorge Ortega

Saturday 30 January – Sunday 24 April 2016
The internationally acclaimed Lucy + Jorge Orta produce artwork that questions the social and ecological sustainability of our planet. Over the last two decades they have produced an abundance of works, employing diverse media, like drawing, sculpture, installation, couture, painting, silkscreen, photography, video and light. Besides this, they have also staged interventions and performances to realise major projects across the globe.

The Ortas’ practice is driven by extensive research into the forces shaping our environment: the availability of food and water, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and subsequent species loss, and global climate change.

This new solo presentation brings together artwork relating to the Ortas’ ongoing concern with human migration, escape and survival from environmental and political catastrophe. It includes many of their characteristic social sculptures, assemblages of functional objects such as customised buoyancy aids, water flasks, and individually made sleeping bags.

A small car hanging from the ceiling as a man looks on

Art, Life, Activism: Contemporary art and the politics of disability

Friday 12 September 2015
Art, Life, Activism drew on our own history as a centre for inclusive art practice, bringing a thought-provoking look at intersection between art and disability.

Drawing together works by artists’ Tony Heaton, Noemi Lakmaier, Aaron Williamson, Bobby Baker, and photographer David Hevey, the collection explored various aspects of disability politics. Using sculpture, performance, film, and drawing to address a diverse range of concerns, they explore political activism, the labour market, medical treatment, access, sexuality, and hidden history; they challenge the social, economic and cultural forces that characterise disability.