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About Seen and Unseen

Seen and Unseen is a contemporary figurative art exhibition that explores the themes of race, identity, gender and diversity, nature and climate change, through the works of outstanding artists.

The exhibition Seen and Unseen, aims to promote artists that haven’t yet been fully recognised for their achievements, and questions who has ‘not been allowed in’ to the artworld.

This exhibition showcases the work of two pioneering artists, Desmond Haughton and Nahem Shoa, who for over 35 years have made identity and the human condition their themes. They have been shining a light on a part of British society, which the establishment and art world did not see. The surface of their work belies how politically loaded the message behind these works. Through their work Shoa and Haughton have made the invisible visible in all its beauty and complexity.

The exhibition will include works from the Ferens’ collection, bringing out stories through new interpretations by juxtaposing them with loans of work by important women and artists of colour. This exhibition aims to celebrate the best of British contemporary figurative art in its rich variety of styles, but unifying all these artists is a desire to explore new possibilities in art for the 21st century. This exhibition will tell new stories about our place in society today, help give a voice to the next generation, and make them feel relevant to British culture.

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