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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.

Join us for a free tour of current exhibition, Karuppu by Osheen Siva, with BSL interpretation.

Alongside, discover more about Shahnawaz Hussain: My Nottinghamshire Perspectives in Watercolour and Peepshow: An Illusion Cut to the Measure of Desire in our extra gallery spaces.

Free, open to all

Book your free place now

Join us for a free tour of current exhibition, Karuppu by Osheen Siva, led by Deputy Curator Joshua Lockwood-Moran.

Alongside, discover more about Shahnawaz Hussain: My Nottinghamshire Perspectives in Watercolour and Peepshow: An Illusion Cut to the Measure of Desire in our extra gallery spaces.

Free, open to all

Book your free place now

Preview: Friday 15 March, 6–8 pm

Bonington Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Nottingham based artist Shahnawaz Hussain which capture key buildings and landmarks across Nottingham and the wider county.

Based in Nottingham, Shahnawaz Hussain is a self-taught artist who has been practicing and making art for the past 8 years.

Mostly working in acrylic, oil and watercolour; Shahnawaz travels across Nottinghamshire visiting locally significant buildings and landmarks that either possess a Nottingham Civic Society plaque or are otherwise connected with a famous Nottingham personality or lost industry. Some paintings also depict places and locations that are personal to the artist, such as his house.

In his experimental artworks, form, colour and texture are interwoven and applied via a broad range of perspective techniques, in turn exploring meaning, scale and depth-of-vision to reveal in great detail the underlying nature and composition of his subjects.

Shahnawaz has a particular interest in buildings from the ages of high architecture, particularly those from Victorian, Georgian, Tudor, Arts and Crafts and Baroque styles.

Having lived in Nottingham for most of his adult life he has observed the evolution of the city and wider county over many years, witnessing heritage architecture being irreplaceably lost, or used for purposes different to what was originally intended.

Shahnawaz is an Alumni Fellow at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 1999 in MSc Multimedia Engineering. His personal website can be visited here, and more information about his practice can be read via this downloadable PDF document created by the artist.

Alongside our current exhibition, history is a living weapon in yr hand, join us for a free online In-conversation event between our current exhibitor Onyeka Igwe and Dr. Jenni Ramone, Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Global Literatures at NTU.

Together, they will explore topics related to Igwe’s wider practice and the ideas, research and development that informs both the exhibition and Igwe’s 2023 film, A Radical Duet, that is central to the installation.

On the evening there will be the opportunity to pose questions.

Presented alongside Onyeka Igwe’s solo exhibition history is a living weapon in yr hand, discover a selection of materials selected by the artist, that highlight key women who embraced creative activities to challenge imperialism and imagine new Pan-African realities.

In looking into the history of Pan-Africanism from the 1930s up until Howard Macmillan’s famous Winds of Change speech in 1960, many famed and celebrated men emerge as having spent time in the UK before rising to prominence in Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia as political leaders. The women are lesser known and celebrated, but figures like Amy Ashwood Garvey, Katherine Dunham, Una Marson, Sylvia Wynter and Funmilayo Ransome Kuti played their part using music, poetry, dance and theatre to challenge imperialism and imagine new Pan-African futures. 

Exhibition launch

Join us for a first look round the exhibition on Friday 12 January from 6–8 pm.
Book your free ticket

Images by Jules Lister

Join us for a free, accessible tour of history is a living weapon in yr hand led by Onyeka Igwe (artist) & Elaine Joseph (audio describer), and accompanied by a BSL interpreter.

General access information to the building can be found here
Accessibility information for the exhibition can be found here

Book your free place now

Join us for a free tour of history is a living weapon in yr hand by Onyeka Igwe, led by Gallery Director Tom Godfrey.

Free, open to all

Book your free place now

Join us for an afternoon of live drawing, performance and video art in a specially devised event by Venture Arts, a Manchester-based visual arts organisation working with learning disabled and neurodiverse artists to create and showcase exciting new contemporary visual art.

Free, drop in from 12pm – 5pm.

Bonington Gallery is proud to host a VA Collectives event alongside John Beck and Matthew Cornford’s exhibition, The Art Schools of the East Midlands.

Experience artist Leslie Thompson create a large-scale drawing live in the gallery space.  A specially devised performance piece by Greater Manchester-based artist Jackie Haynes will also be presented.

Visitors will also be able to watch videos from Narratives, a six month collaborative residency in Venture Arts’ Conversations Series, which ran in partnership with Manchester Jewish Museum, Castlefield Gallery, The Lowry, Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Project Artworks.  The residency brought together 12 artists, some from Venture Arts and some via an open call, to develop shared ideas and create new artwork over 6 months, exploring personal histories and cultural heritage.

The VA Collectives are a series of events, performances, gatherings and happenings that aim to bring artists together to explore themes of relevance to their work, the arts and the world around us. The VA Collectives are the brainchild of Venture Arts, a Manchester-based visual arts organisation working with learning disabled and neurodiverse artists to create and showcase exciting new contemporary visual art.

Both the videos and the resulting drawing by Leslie Thompson will remain in the gallery over the closing weekend for visitors to enjoy.

Videos that will be presented in the gallery:

Beyond the Shelf (2022) Millie Loveday

Falling – A Memory of Her (2022) Horace Lindezey, Dominic Pillai & Alice Merida Richards

The Dying Fly (2022) Jackie Haynes

The Julie Channel (2022) Sarah Boulter

Images by Adam Grainger and Alex Jovčić-Sas

Artist bios

Thanks to independent curator Abi Spinks for programming and supporting the development of this event in response to The Art Schools of the East Midlands by John Beck & Matthew Cornford.

Header photo credit: Leslie Thompson by Sarah Boulter, 2022.

Join us for a free workshop reimagining an alternative history of Nottingham School of Art – one that rejected the government strategy of 1843, and embraced local radical activism and self-organisation.

Get hands on with editing and remixing existing and new source material, and help create and expand this parallel universe.

Book your free tickets

Free and open to all. The structured workshop will run from 1–3 pm, followed by an informal opportunity for further exploration until 5 pm.

In a fictional parallel world, the Nottingham Independent Arts School is a thriving institution focused on people, planet and possibility. It offers space to think, to make and to share skills. The school is deeply integrated with the local community and guided by a focus on care and cross-disciplinarity.

This fictional vision was created by a group of participants who came together a few months ago to imagine an alternative history for Nottingham School of Art & Design. While the real-world School is rooted in a government plan to support British manufacture, the origins of its fictional equivalent lie in Nottingham’s radical history.

You are invited to this afternoon workshop to contribute to the next instalment of the parallel-world thought experiment. We will build on and extend the Nottingham Independent Arts School fiction, editing and remixing historical materials from the real-world Nottingham School of Art & Design via hands-on exploration to create a series of speculative documents that illustrate the history of the invented School.