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We are delighted to present Knees Kiss Ground, a solo exhibition by Motunrayo Akinola exploring faith and belonging through everyday objects.

The exhibition was produced during his six month Postgraduate Residency at South London Gallery, delivered in partnership with ourselves.

Motunrayo Akinola (b.1992) uses images of the home and everyday objects to explore comfort and belonging. He is interested in the function and materiality of these objects, and how they can trigger emotions and memories.

Akinola spent some time studying architecture before moving into art. He is interested in ideas around existing within different kinds of spaces. For this exhibition, Akinola will present works made during his residency, including an immersive installation constructed entirely from corrugated cardboard to replicate the exact dimensions of a shipping container, and several light works that explore the relationship between light and religious or spiritual rituals. These works also make reference to Biblical associations of light as a revelatory presence.

Akinola’s interest in attitudes towards migration stems from his dual upbringing in London and Lagos, Nigeria. His research throughout his residency has delved into post-colonial power dynamics and the psychology of ownership. By noting subtle gaps in cultural knowledge, his work aims to come to a new understanding about the possession of space.

About Motunrayo Akinola

Motunrayo Akinola is a London-based artist who uses images of the home and everyday materials to explore comfort and belonging. He creates sculptures, installations, sound and drawings. He studied at RA Schools, graduating in 2023. As a British-born Nigerian who has spent time in and now feels comfortable in both countries, Akinola’s work exposes the nuanced differences between the two places.

About the residency

Bonington Gallery have partnered with South London Gallery to deliver their 13th Postgraduate Residency, an open submission six-month residency that provides an early-career artist with a rare opportunity to produce a new body of work, which is then exhibited at the SLG and in this instance at Bonington Gallery. The residency is open to artists who have completed a BA, and have undertaken a period of self-directed, peer-led or postgraduate study in the year prior to the residency. This can include alternative, peer organised and non-accredited programmes from an institution, collective or art school in the UK as well as an MA, MFA, PGDip, MRes.

The SLG has an international reputation for its contemporary art exhibitions by established, mid-career and younger artists and programme of film and performance events. Its highly regarded, free education programme includes a peer-led young people’s forum; family workshops; artist-led projects and commissions on local housing estates; and a programme for looked after children.

The Postgraduate Residency is supported by The Paul and Louise Cooke Endowment.

A photographic exhibition focusing on the region’s art schools, and the vital role that they play in the cultural life of our cities.

This exhibition is the latest iteration of John Beck and Matthew Cornford’s ambitious Art School Project, to track down and document all of the UK’s art schools – including the iconic Waverley building at Nottingham Trent University.

Featuring new photographic work depicting all the art school buildings of the East Midlands, or the sites upon which they stood, the exhibition raises questions about the role of the arts in relation to education, community and history and offers a space to reflect on what the future may hold for cultural institutions in our towns and cities.

There will also be a programme of public events exploring the themes of the exhibition, that will be announced soon. In our foyer space, our Vitrines exhibition, Art [School] Histories will present materials dedicated to the history and future of the Nottingham School of Art & Design here at NTU.

Launch event

Come along to our launch night on Thursday 21 September, 6 pm – 8 pm for a first look round the exhibition. Book your free tickets

Photographs by Jules Lister

‘Perception’ is intricate. The removal of accumulated layers of meaning attached to material culture challenges frequently held perceptions. This exhibition confronts commonly held notions relating to the built environment in the Ajegunle community in Lagos, Nigeria and national identity in the Republic of Ireland. Both of these areas of research relate to physical architecture. However, they move beyond the tangible to explore ‘human’ architecture and identity.

So much of our experience of architecture is not the result of a first-hand encounter, but is the consequence of a photographic image. Photography does not merely facilitate our experience of architecture, it arguably constructs that experience – much of what we see has been decided by the photographer.

In Place of Architecture brought together a group of contemporary artists to explore the role that photography and moving image play in our interpretation, perception and understanding of the architectural environment. Artists included:

Peter Ainsworth, Michele Allen, Emily Andersen, Peter Bobby,  Tim Daly, Charlotte Fox, Fergus Heron, Esther Johnson, Andy Lock, Fiona Maclaren (view in IE), Guy Moreton, Martin NewthEmily Richardson.

A programme of events and activities was also curated to compliment the themes highlighted by the exhibition.


In July 2015 a group of BArch (Hons) Architecture students from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) participated in a research project, which involved the documentation of invisible memory points in Nottingham.

As part of their research the students visited the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA), a key location for national remembrance in the UK. Most of the images included in this show are a direct response to the commemorative architecture: a visual and textual reaction to the experience of visiting the NMA and other memory points in the UK.

NTU students, David Symons, Emma Hewitt and Rumbi Mukundi worked with three students from Brazil – Marina Martinelli, Felipe Bomfim and Alina Peres – to create a website with an interactive map and blog, as well as a printed tourist map. The idea of the site was to increase awareness of the architecture of memory in Nottingham and beyond.

Visit the website to view the student project.

Public Engagement

The group have also printed out a selection of quotes which refer to photography and the visual representation of memory, as well as the experience of architecture.

When visiting the exhibition we invite you to respond to these images and quotes by writing directly onto the wall in order to contribute to the work in progress. Tell us how the image or text makes you feel – do you agree with what they represent?

Responses are invited in any format – it’s up to you.

The project was led by Dr. Ana Souto, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and supported by Prof. Duncan Higgins, Professor of Visual Arts at NTU.

Inscription: The Almshouse Tempera Project presented the work of four contemporary artists who have investigated the historical but still very active form of social housing known as the almshouse, through the early painting medium of egg tempera.

The artists Derek Hampson, Deborah Harty, Atsuhide Ito, and Peter Suchin also included actual material fragments from almshouses within the exhibition, inscribing both the image and the physical presence of the almshouse into the gallery.

Read more about the project.

The project was supported by Arts Council England and Nottingham Community Housing Association.


Made in Wood was a collaborative exhibition and research event between staff and Architecture students from Nottingham Trent University and Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway (KHiB).

The exhibition formed out of discussions with KHiB in relation to the annual Bergen International Wood Festival.

Taking inspiration from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the students addressed how global cities seem to challenge the laws of gravity, with soaring skyscrapers that compete to reach imposing heights.

Watch the video above to see the city of wood take form in the Gallery.

The Gallery was split into three distinctive districts overlooked by a bridge; each district depicted a different interpretation of a city scape.

The Bridge

Built to overlook the city, the bridge provided a focal point from all areas. An atmosphere of power and superiority was portrayed, contrasting with the ghetto below.

The Ghetto

Situated to the left of the bridge, this district represented the need for housing in built-up areas; how nationalities come together to build communities out of whatever can be found. A tight, enclosed atmosphere was created by the narrow spaces and multiple routes through the district.


As you looked to the right of the bridge this area was built to represent the historical industrial background of both Nottingham and Bergen and many cities around the world. It portrayed a ‘gritty’ atmosphere that was present before modern technology took over.

Lights of the Modern City

Placed at the rear of the Gallery, this district represented the growth of the modern city and how lighting from it can impact on surrounding areas. It drew particular attention to how imposing modern structures can be. The lighting creates a spiritual atmosphere and futuristic feel, acting as a beacon for all in the city.

Download a copy of the Made in Wood student brief

The wood used in this exhibition was kindly donated by John A. Stephens of Lady Bay, Nottingham.

Instagram Takeover #MADEINWOOD

For the duration of the Made in Wood exhibition we handed over our Instagram account to the students from Bergen and NTU, for them to create a visual diary of their experience. Check out their story on the Bonington Gallery Instagram feed.

Exhibition Handout

Click here to download the exhibition handout

From Our Blog

As part of Nottingham Trent University’s 170th Anniversary of Art and Design, this exhibition showcased a collection of images by acclaimed architectural photographer, Martine Hamilton Knight D.Litt (hon).

The exhibition looked back over the last 20 years in recognition of the innovative and iconic buildings that make up Nottingham’s skyline.

Featuring the work of Hopkins Architects, this exhibition included the stunning Inland Revenue building, Nottingham Trent University’s Newton and Arkwright building and the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus, as well as other Nottingham Trent University buildings.

Newton Building
Goldsmith Street

This inaugural exhibition marked the launch of Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Architecture and Cultural Heritage of India, Arabia and the Maghreb.

ArCHIAM undertakes architectural, urban history and heritage related research and impact work for Architecture, Heritage and Global Difference, AHGD based at NTU – the umbrella centre for the humanities-based study of architecture, material culture and the built environment within a globalizing context.

ArCHIAM is an interdisciplinary forum which brings together a wide range of researchers interested in the study of the architecture of three interconnected global spheres. Cutting across traditional disciplinary boundaries, the Centre provides an exciting opportunity for the study of both historical and contemporary phenomena with an aim of developing theoretical positions but also though practice-based research.

The exhibition was designed and set up by the ArCHIAM Centre, and led by prof Bandyopadhyay.