Just before Christmas, a panel of acclaimed judges selected 310 artworks to be displayed at Hull’s newly refurbished Ferens Art Gallery. The group included 2017 Turner Prize Nominee, Hurvin Anderson, Chair of Hull 2017, Rosie Millard OBE, and the Curator of Twentieth Century Art at the Courtauld Gallery, Dr Barnaby Wright.
This is the 51st year of the annual event. Fittingly, the Open Exhibition at Ferens celebrated its golden anniversary during the city’s twelve months in the spotlight as the UK City of Culture. Later that year, the Turner Prize was hosted at the venue, which was an incredible achievement for the region.
The gallery has a rich history in its own right. Opened over nine decades ago, it was gifted to Hull by well-known philanthropist and industrialist, T.R. Ferens. From the very start the space was a jewel in Hull’s crown, located in the heart of the city centre. Some of the most famous works you can view in the building include creations by Bick van der Pol, Frans Hals, Canaletto, Barbara Hepworth, Mark Wallinger, and even Pietro Lorenzetti’s masterpiece from the 1300s.
Since reopening after its £5.2 million makeover, over 520,000 people have flocked through its classically-inspired doors. Many of these individuals originally considered art to be out of their reach; however, thanks to the accessibility of last year’s events, more and more people realised that art is for everyone to experience in their own way. This saw families and groups of all ages and backgrounds attend to enjoy a variety of cultural displays, performances and curations over the last twelve months.
This time, the Open Exhibition brings together a vibrant selection of locally-produced paintings, ceramics, jewellery, sculptures and photographs, all beautifully created by amateurs and professionals alike.
Not only is this collection a fantastic snapshot of the diverse capabilities in Hull, but it’s also a demonstration of how the City of Culture spirit continues to thrive. It’s great to see that the Ferens remains focused on supporting and developing local talent.
“This is a captivating exhibition that explores people's interpretation of art, offering a unique opportunity to display their submissions alongside world-renowned works,” enthuses Councillor Terry Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure and Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited.
"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."
Much of the work you can enjoy at the Open Exhibition is inspired by Hull’s landscape and community. Meanwhile, fifty of the pieces have been entered by young students. Two striking metal sculptures can be seen as well, which have been crafted by Saffron Waghorn from Skipsea, East Yorkshire.
You can view this huge collection of work for free at the Ferens until Sunday 22 April. The gallery, which is located in Queen Victoria Square, is open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm and 11am-4:30pm on Sundays.
Image: Shannon Capon