Art Exhibition: 'Life Within Landscapes'

A triptych of three plant-themed paintings: the left shows large leaves, the center features a dark forest scene, and the right depicts vibrant, stylized foliage and flowers.
Date 09/06/2024 at 10.00 - 13/10/2024 at 17.00

Explore Wolfson's newest exhibition, 'Life Within Landscapes', showcasing works by three Cambridge-based female contemporary artists, inspired by their Caribbean heritage.

A triptych of three plant-themed paintings: the left shows large leaves, the center features a dark forest scene, and the right depicts vibrant, stylized foliage and flowers.

Overview

This exhibition is a celebration of the Caribbean landscape and the people that inhabit it - the remarkable flora and the fauna, unique colours and light, diverse forms of visual expression and tapestry of cultures. The exhibition presents a selection of remarkable artworks by three female contemporary artists, Sandra Scott, Nadia Koo and Selena Scott. They have made their home in Cambridge while continuing to be informed and inspired by their Caribbean heritage. Their work is presented through the lens of their lived experiences, life-long travels and multi-cultural backgrounds as well as personal histories and memories. 

This history and culture of the Caribbean are inextricably linked to landscape. Both in terms of ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ geographies, scholars of the Caribbean refer not only to the remarkable physical and geographic qualities of this varied region but also the socio-economic, political and historical trajectories which contribute to its complex, diverse, often disputed but visibly distinct social and cultural landscape - at the heart of which is the relationship between people and nature. 

This exhibition presents a range of media and artforms ranging from film, textile-arts, doll-making as well as painting and printmaking, reflecting the rich tapestry of artistic expression found across the region and in the contemporary arts. The three contemporary artists in this exhibition offer a remarkable insight into the Caribbean, its influence on global imaginations and impact on cultures around the world. Reflecting their own reality they explore and blend the knowledge of Caribbean and of Cambridge. Like much great art, they exlore, inspire and reveal. You are invited to see what you will, but the more you look the more you see. They demonstrate that, in a world obsessed with classifications, it is possible to break down boundaries, preconceptions and prejudices, starting with western notions of genre and media but more fundamentally, affecting our expectations, appreciation and understanding of art.

This exhibition is curated by Dr. Anna M Dempster, Fellow, Wolfson College.

With special thanks to the Dr Kenny Monrose of Wolfson's Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Heritage  (REACH) Research Hub and Professor Steve Evans, Conservation and Sustainability (S&C) Research Hub.

 

About the artists

Sandra Scott

Born in Barbados, Sandra Scott is a textile artist, quilter, painter and printmaker.  Having moved to Cambridge over thirty years ago, she has continued to develop her art practice while raising a family. She studied Art Education at The Jamaica School of Art, and completed her MA in printmaking at the Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University. The current focus of her work is on memory and forgetting. She combines lines, patterns and marks extracted from her own drawings and transforms them into delicate stitch and print. Through a process construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction she demonstrates the fragile, uncertain and fragmentary nature of memory, and its loss. A masterclass in traditional as well as experimental textile arts, her method of combining dying, printing, painting, machine and hand-embroidery alongside innovative ways of applying non-standard materials such tissue paper or organza, result in works which embody and reflect many layers of meaning. Her work has been exhibited in Barbados, Jamaica, Cambridge and the USA, is held in private collections internationally, and has been acquired for the permanent collection of the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, USA.

Nadia Koo

Born and raised in Cambridge, Nadia Koo is influenced by childhood stays in Dominica, a tropical island in the Eastern Caribbean Sea, with its lush landscapes, abundant fruits, giant blooms and iridescent humming birds. Painting between her garden studio in Cambridge and her caravan by the Suffolk sea, Koo blends place, memories and experiences to create a remarkable world filled with colour, light and energy, bursting from each canvas. 'Colour defines my work.’ She explains, ‘I feel the vibrancy of greens, turquoises, pinks... and these form part of my real and imagined botanicals, people and animals.’ Beyond the first impressions of vibrant colours and seemingly familiar forms, her paintings challenge the viewer to consider what lies beneath the surface. The spontaneous, child-like qualities of her work disguise a depth of meaning which include humorous, critical and ironic, at times traumatic and always thoughtful, complex narratives. With no formal art training, Koo explains how “each piece for me is spontaneous and intuitive”. Koo began exhibiting her work in 2021 from her home studio through Cambridge Open Studio and has subsequently been invited to numerous exhibitions across the UK.

Selena Scott

Selena Scott is a Cambridge based artist who aims to redefine the portrayal of Black people through portraiture and oil painting, traditionally used to perpetuate western ideals. Selena also works with film, textiles and animation to navigate the many facets of Black identity through the lens of trauma, racism and colonialism. Her Caribbean heritage drives her creative process. Her work builds on extensive research, focussing on the Caribbean context, landscape and the legacy of colonialism. Her subjects are people she knows and she aims to gives space to their stories ‘as a way of rejecting the paradox between invisibility and hyper-visibility that is the Black experience’. Her highly personal, emotionally charged canvasses, provide a current perspective of the concerns of her generation, including regarding pervasive experiences of prejudice and exclusion. She invites the viewer to search for meaning, challenging them to interrogate the past and present. She sees empathy as being at the core of her practice, using image, colour and light to convey turmoil, but also hope for a brighter future. After obtaining her BFA at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, she was awarded the Dolbey Travel Scholarship which laid the foundation for her most recent body of work. 

 

Images with thanks to Sandra Scott, Nadia Koo and Selena Scott.

 

Viewing the exhibition

The exhibition will be open to the public from Sunday 9 June.

Opening Times: Saturdays and Sundays 10.00-17.00.

Please note that the exhibition is occasionally unavailable, for instance during graduations.

It is advisable to contact the Porters' Lodge in advance of your visit (01223 335900).

 

Access

This exhibition is on display in the Combination Room on the first floor of our main building. It has step-free access with a lift and there is an accessible toilet located on the first floor of the building.

 

About Wolfson exhibitions

Wolfson has an established programme of exhibitions and artistic events which take place throughout the year and are framed by its modernist architecture, beautiful landscaped gardens and embedded into academic life.  

The art on show is enjoyed by both the academic and wider community. Exhibitions are open to the general public, for students and Fellowship and visited by scholars, guests and visitors from around the world.

Wolfson has an established art exhibitions programme which has showcased the work of both renowned international artists and innovative emerging artists with the aim of stimulating reflection, discussion and debate. 

You can find out more about exhibitions at Wolfson on the Arts page.

What's on

A triptych of three plant-themed paintings: the left shows large leaves, the center features a dark forest scene, and the right depicts vibrant, stylized foliage and flowers.

Art Exhibition: 'Life Within Landscapes'

09/06/2024 at 10.00

Explore Wolfson's newest exhibition, 'Life Within Landscapes', showcasing works by three Cambridge-based female contemporary artists, inspired by their Caribbean heritage.