Art festival expands across UK

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A contemporary art festival is expanding from London to take place across the country, from the Isle of Skye to Wales this summer.

Art Night 2021 will take place in more than 10 locations around the United Kingdom including Abergavenny train station, Eastbourne, Leeds and Cambridge, while a series of commissions will unfold online.

For the first time the festival, this year titled Nothing Compares 2 U, will take place for a month, running from June 18 to July 18.

It will include a series of billboards across the country by Guerrilla Girls, their biggest UK public commission to date, titled The Male Graze which will explore bad behaviour both historically and in the present day.

Art Night 2021
Isabel Lewis found inspiration in Skye (Joanna Seitz/Art Night/PA)

Others featuring in the festival include Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey and Barbadian-Scottish artist Alberta Whittle.

Helen Nisbet, artistic director of Art Night 2021, said: “We find ourselves hobbling, a year after Covid-19; political and economic uncertainty and potential devastation for the arts.

“This programme was developed during ongoing Brexit ‘negotiations’ in a Conservative-led Britain, with far-right politics rising across the globe.

“The Art Night 2021 programme was and is still about our personal victories and survival tactics – small acts of defiance and moments of self-determination – both personal and collective.

“It is about how we continue and what gets us through, when so many of the dominant economic, institutional, political and cultural structures are against us or are trying to break us.

“We are indebted to our artists for the time and the care they’ve put into making work under such uncertain and challenging circumstances.”

There will also be a screening programme of her films in Abergavenny train station, Wales in partnership with Peak, and at KLA ART produced by 32 Degrees East in Uganda.

In Scotland, Isabel Lewis has developed a new Art Night commission – What can we learn about love from lichen? – in the Isle of Skye.

She is working with collaborators on the island to choreograph a series of guided walks which will be brought together in a final “hosted occasion”, in a co-commission between Art Night and ATLAS Arts.

Other artists featuring in the festival include Oona Doherty, Adham Faramawy, Mark Leckey, Sonya Dyer, Imran Perretta and Paul Purgas, Philomene Pirecki and OOMK.

Philippine Nguyen and Ksenia Zemtsova, co-founders of Art Night, said: “In 2021, we’re absolutely delighted to present new work by exceptional artists to audiences across the country, in cities, towns and even villages.”

Art Night is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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