ARU artists ‘Touchdown’ with bold new exhibition

Published: 24 August 2023 at 13:00

Artwork by ARU student Jenny Seabrook

MA Fine Art and Printmaking students to showcase their work in Ruskin Gallery

Seven Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) students, all of whom returned to study art after professional careers, are to showcase their work in an exhibition in Cambridge later this month.

The students all come from a range of professional backgrounds in the science, technology, teaching, publishing, finance, and care sectors, and returned to university to study for a Masters Degree in Fine Art and Printmaking at ARU’s Cambridge School of Art

The rise of AI, including the likes of ChatGPT, and technological advances have raised questions about which jobs really are future-proof, with many suggesting that the ‘soft’, dexterous, and transferable skills supported and developed by an arts education are what we really need humans for.

Called TOUCHDOWN, the exhibition will be on show at the Ruskin Gallery at ARU from 31 August until 7 September. TOUCHDOWN provides contemporary responses to themes ranging from the landscape to the human body, and from technology to mental health. The exhibition features installation art, sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, moving images, digital and print media.

Highlighting her growth over the past two years, participating artist Jenny Seabrook says:

“Returning to postgraduate study some 25 years after my first degree has been both challenging and rewarding, enabling me to express myself visually, and to develop the skills required to construct large sculptural works. In TOUCHDOWN I will take you inside my visual world – a world of wondrous objects large and small.”

Referring to the links between art, technology and mental well-being, Mick Paulusma said:

“When I decided to study towards an MA in Fine Art, my employer remained supportive because they understood that studying a practice-based art degree not only helps me achieve my goals but – as my work pushes the boundaries of technology – benefits them as well.

“When I have a good day of research or making, I also have a good day at my office. If I have learned anything from my studies, it's that there are many ways to be an artist and many places the skills of artists are needed.”

Originally from Turkey, Nur Akyildiz reflects on the power of art to transcend language barriers. Nur said:

“The daunting struggle with language led me to find solace in highly demanding physical tasks during my MA Fine Art journey – such as making 1,300 ceramic pieces by hand. These challenges became an escape from communication pressures, giving me freedom in bold actions that speak louder than words.”

Course Leader Dr Véronique Chance said:

“Artists have always been perceptive in commenting on the human condition and in positively contributing to society.

“TOUCHDOWN represents the culmination of the MA, in the achievement of these students who have risen to the challenge, learned new skills, taken risks, reached their goals and ‘landed’ on the other side as confident artists. It also represents the multi-sensory, multimedia, multi-everything, but also human side of the contemporary world we live in.”  

TOUCHDOWN opens with a Private View at the Ruskin Gallery, at ARU in Cambridge, on Thursday, 31 August, 5-8pm. The exhibition continues until Thursday, 7 September, 10am-5pm, but is closed on Monday, 4 September.