Open Exhibition 2020
This year's Open Exhibition features almost 400 works.

First look at Ferens Open Exhibition 2020

The 53rd annual Open Exhibition, which celebrates some of the best artistic talent in the region, opens this weekend (Saturday 15 February).

The exhibition will feature more than 370 artworks including paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, textiles and film produced by local amateur and professional artists.

Open Exhibition 2020

The annual event remains central to the Ferens commitment to supporting and developing local artistic talent.

The artwork was selected by a panel of judges consisting of visual artist Graham Dean, whose artwork is represented in the Ferens permanent collection, freelance curator Angela Kingston and Kenn Taylor, creative director at Artlink.

Natasha Monfared is one of the artists featured in this year’s exhibition.

She said: “I make work about women in Iran that don’t have freedom of speech. I try and highlight those issues and keep them in the public eye.”


Natasha Monfared and Paige Graham-Buckle, Open Exhibition 2020

Natasha Monfared (left) and Paige Graham-Buckle (right) both have artworks in this year’s exhibition.

Natasha’s piece, Veiled Volleyball, demonstrates the ongoing issue of female participation in sports in Iran.

She said: “This piece is about women’s rights in sports stadiums. Volleyball in Iran became really popular and women were banned from attending the stadiums because men were not dressed properly, which is a barbaric reason for why women can’t attend stadiums and access sport.

“This made me angry and so I decided to put women, not just in the stadium, but on the court.”

Open Exhibition 2020

The exhibition features a diverse range of artwork.

Paige Graham-Buckle’s background is in fashion, which inspires her colourful and creative work.

The Hull artist has two diverse pieces in the exhibition – a painting and a sculpture.

She said: “I’ve never had my artwork in an exhibition other than the Open. I make my work at home so it’s great to be in a space alongside other artists where our work can be recognised.”

Open Exhibition 2020

The exhibition opens this weekend.

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, said: “This is a captivating exhibition that explores people’s interpretation of art, offering a unique opportunity to display their submissions alongside world-renowned artwork.

“It is fantastic for Hull that we have an annual exhibition to showcase the exceptional local and regional talent. The exhibition is always hugely successful.”

Open Exhibition 2020

Artworks in the Open Exhibition can be purchased throughout the duration of the exhibition.

This year there is a new prize, the People’s Vote, where the public will be invited to vote for their favourite artwork during the first six weeks of the exhibition. The winner will be announced on March 31.

A number of other prizes are available, with winners being announced at a private event on Friday 14 February. The prizes have been provided by sponsors the Friends of the Ferens and local business BSB Architecture.

The free exhibition runs until Sunday 26 April at Ferens Art Gallery. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm and Sundays 11am to 4pm.

Two people meeting over coffee
A girl covers her ears. Image by Ulrike Mai