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Ferens Open Exhibition 2021: Unique Art to See, Love, and Purchase



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The Ferens Open Exhibition is back. The exhibition, which celebrates some of the best artistic talent in the region, opens at Ferens Art Gallery on Saturday 24 July at 12noon.

The exhibition will feature more than 270 artworks including paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, textiles and film produced by local amateur and professional artists. Many of the artworks are for sale, giving visitors the opportunity to buy and own a unique piece of art.

The artwork on display was selected by a panel of judges consisting of: artist and photographer Colin Gray, whose photographs are in the Ferens’ permanent collection, Senior Curator at the Arts Council Collection Natalie Rudd, and Kofi Smiles, Breakfast Presenter at BBC Radio Humberside.


The annual event remains central to the Ferens commitment to supporting and developing local and emerging artistic talent.

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited, said: “This is a captivating exhibition that explores people’s interpretation of art, offering a unique opportunity to display their submissions alongside world-renowned artwork.

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“It gives a great opportunity to purchase an original artwork while also supporting local artists.”

Erin Ledsom is an embroidery artist from Hull who immerses herself in colour, pattern and texture. She is passionate about using found and recycled items within her work and draws her inspiration from her home town, creating digital illustrations and then using traditional hand embroidery techniques, straws, plastic string, pipe cleaners and pom poms to add texture and give the work a 3D element.

Christopher Tansey produces large scale paintings on layers of paper. His work is autobiographical and self-reflective, drawing on existence, experience, memory and the passage of time, to express largely emotional responses through the use of vaguely representational elements, forms and motifs. 

Claire Longrigg, Exhibitions Officer, Ferens Art Gallery said: “It is great to have the Open exhibition back this year, with so many exciting artists exhibiting work. Most of the artwork on display was produced during the national lockdowns. It is wonderful to see so many artists continuing to support this annual exhibition and the Gallery.

 “The selectors have done a great job in choosing a diverse collection of artworks for us to create an engaging exhibition with.”


There are a number of prizes available, and prize winners will be announced on the Ferens’ social media channels from 5pm on Friday 23 July. The prizes have been provided by sponsors, the Friends of the Ferens and local business BSB Architecture.

Following changes to coronavirus restrictions on Monday 19 July, visitors to Ferens Art Gallery no longer have to book a ticket for a pre-selected timeslot, but visitors are still able to use the NHS app to scan a QR code on entry. Visitors are asked to still respect the space of others, use the hand sanitiser available and the gallery recommends the use of face coverings inside the building.


This year visitors can vote online for the People’s Vote. The public are invited to vote for their favourite artwork during the first seven weeks of the exhibition by taking an image of their favourite artwork and posting it online using the hashtag #FerensPeoplesVote and tagging the gallery on Twitter @HullFerens or Instagram @ferensartgallery. If visitors don’t have an image, they can simply share the catalogue number and artist’s name using #FerensPeoplesVote. The winner will be announced on 15 September.

Artworks in the Open Exhibition can be purchased throughout the duration of the exhibition. A catalogue to accompany the exhibition is available from the Gallery shop for £2.50.This free exhibition runs from 12noon on Saturday 24 July until Sunday 3 October at Ferens Art Gallery. The Gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm and Sundays 11am – 4pm.

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