Towner International announces artist list and themes for inaugural biennial exhibition.

The new event takes place for the first time at Towner Eastbourne from October 6 2020 to January 10 2021.

Ayo Akingbade, Dear Babylon, 2019
Ayo Akingbade, Dear Babylon, 2019

Following an open call, 24 artists have been selected by a panel including Polly Staple (director of collection, British Art, Tate), Turner Prize nominated artist Mike Nelson and Noelle Collins (curator, Towner Eastbourne). The exhibition features artists living and making in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire, as well as those working and exhibiting nationally and internationally. The Brewers Award of £10,000, sponsored by Brewers Decorator Centres, will be given to one of the exhibiting artists along with mentoring from the Towner team.

Joe Hill, director, Towner Eastbourne, said: “We had a great reception to the open call for Towner International and the quality and range of submissions has been really impressive.

“Connecting the work of those living and working in our region with those creating globally will be a really exciting starting point to curate a major exhibition for our galleries this autumn.”

“Towner International hopes to address how artistic communities are recording and responding to the economic, political, cultural, and environmental changes that are unfolding across the world today.

“These themes will be explored through work in a wide range of mediums from photography and moving image to sculpture, installation, ceramics, painting and print.

“Video works reflecting on the geo-political situation in Iraq and textiles reworking ideas of colonial photography will sit alongside reflections on diasporic cultural displacement, memory, trauma and environmental destruction and devastation. Notions of identity, community, collaboration and time are also threaded through Towner International, addressing these themes from both a global and domestic socio-political viewpoint.”

Exhibiting artists are Adam Chodzko; Ailbhe Ní Bhriain; Alexi Marshall; Arpita Shah; Ayo Akingbade; Benedict Drew; Carla Wright; Ian Land; Jack Shearing; Joe Packer; Jonathan Baldock; Julia Crabtree and William Evans; Maeve Brennan; Marianne Fahmy; Mohammed Sami; Mu-Tien Tammy Ho; Omar Vega Macotela; Paul Becker; Rita Evans; Ryan Orme; Saskia Olde Wolbers; Sherko Abbas; and Stuart Middleton.

Ten artists have been chosen from the regions of Sussex, Kent and Hampshire, ten from elsewhere across the UK and four from international locations.

Noelle Collins, curator, exhibitions and offsite, Towner Eastbourne, said: “Towner’s location has been at the core of the gallery’s identity for almost a century and we wanted to work with artists who have made work in some way reflective of this, allowing us to draw together viewpoints on landscape, environment and identity.”

Mark Brewer, chairman, Brewers Decorator Centres, said: “The Brewers Award represents our commitment to the arts scene not just locally in our home county of Sussex, but both nationally and internationally.”