The Art of Hull: Six Exhibitions to see Right Now

Hull is the place to go right now if you’re looking to see a wide variety of art, from the world-renowned Turner Prize to a lesser-known exhibition featuring the works of alumni and former staff of the School of Art and Design. Together these six exhibitions not only showcase the city’s ability to be an art destination but demonstrate what makes Hull unique and the creative talent that can come from the city. Each of these exhibitions (in no particular order) offer a unique experience and all have their own interesting story that makes them well worth a visit.

  1. Turner Prize – Until 7 Jan , Ferens Art Gallery

A Fashionable Marriage, Lubaina Himid

Starting with the most well-known, the Turner Prize, is at the Ferens and features works from the four shortlisters; Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Rosalind Nashashibi and Lubaina Himid. Running since 1984 the Turner Prize, awarded by Tate, has become the most publicised art award in the UK and each year can attract controversy and much discussion.

This year the work of the four artists explores how art can respond to social and political upheaval. British painter, Hurvin Anderson’s work was praised by the jury for addressing identity and belonging, keys issues at the moment. Andrea Büttner’s work explores ‘religion, morality and ethics’ through a range of different mediums. Lubaina Himid was praised for addressing ‘personal and political identity’ and Rosalind Nashashibi’s work impressed due to the examination of ‘sites of human occupation and the coded relationships that occur within those spaces’.

More information on the artists can be found here. The winner will be announced on the 5th of December.

2. TORN – Until 31 Dec, Humber Street Gallery

TORN explores the effect of war and conflict on women through the use of torn poppy petals, which remind us that women are being torn from life as they know it every day. Then in the aftermath of war they must pick up the pieces and start again. This exhibition is a collaboration between Hull-born documentary photographer Lee Karen Stow, members of the Hull Women’s Refugee Group, sound artist Hayley Youell and textile artist Liz Knight. It is a digital photographic, sound and mixed media installation.

3. Portrait of a City – Until 31 Dec, Humber Street Gallery


Split over two floors of Humber Street Gallery this exhibition explores Hull’s culture, creativity and asks the question, what defines the city? Focusing on two main themes, food and youth culture, the photography by Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur demonstrates what makes Hull unique and reveals the people’s relationship to this City of Culture. Martin Parr’s colourful photography captures Hull’s food scene, which plays an important role in the city’s culture, from famous classics like Bob Carver’s fish and chips, patty butties and chip spice to the new up-and-coming cuisine of the city. Olivia Arthur’s black and white portraits reveal the burgeoning individuality, creativity and aspirations of the youth of the city and beg the question; what effect will this cultural year have on their futures?

4. An Eyeful of Wry: Government Art Collection – Until 26 Nov, Brynmor Jones Library, The University of Hull


At Night This Water Turns Black, Laure Prouvost

This unique exhibition brings together a collection of humourous and witty artworks that have been on the walls of British government buildings such as Downing Street and embassies all over the world. The exhibition features a variety of mediums and artists, from 18th century caricatures to the piece above by Prouvost, and demonstrates how comedy has been a part of the government art collection since its beginnings.  Also includes work by Grayson Perry, Peter Liversidge and Cornelia Parker. While at the university campus you can also see the CAIRNS Sculpture trail which is on until 31 Dec.

5. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future – Until 15 Dec, Brodrick Gallery, Hull School of Art and Design


This exhibition may seem slightly off the beaten path but it is only a short walk from Ferens and is definitely one worth seeing if you want a taste of the creative talent Hull has produced and inspired. Featuring work by former staff and students, the exhibition has a diverse range of works in many mediums. Since leaving the school many have gone on to be artists, teachers and lecturers and have made significant contributions to cultural life. By showing the impressive work of past students and staff this exhibition demonstrates the creativity that has been nurtured in Hull and offers a glimpse into the great possibilities for students of the future.

6. The Tool Appreciation Society – Until 10 Feb, Hull Central Library

Another gem off the beaten path is this exhibition at the library. The title might not give much away, but this exhibition of work by artist Linda Brothwell is actually a very interesting exploration of the importance and value of tools in our connections to community, family, home and heritage. The exhibition explores tools used by people of Hull, but also shows the worldwide significance of tools with the inclusion of those used by people in South Korea. The exhibition displays new tools made by Brothwell to help people with their craft. In a tribute to makers she performs her ‘Acts of Care’ so that tools can evolve and continue to serve their important purpose in society. The exhibition causes you to think about making, crafting, building and the role of tools in your own life. The exhibition is more thought provoking than you would expect and there are cards to write on about your own relationship to tools, in whatever form that may be, to be a part of the discussion.


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