Ekua Bayunu - Artist statement

My formal Arts Education began in Northampton in 1977, when I attended the first year of an Arts Foundation course at Nene College ( now Northampton University) .

I completed a Foundation in Art and Design at Gloucestershire College of Art Design in Cheltenham, before securing a place on the prestigious Sculpture BA Fine Art (Sculpture) Honours course at St Martins School of Art in London.

My Art education continued at Middlesex Polytechnic (formerly Hornsey School of Art) until 1982. Then I took a studio with New Moon Studios in Catford, LBLewisham.

I spent several happy years at New Moon, during this time I became an associate artist with ‘The A-Team’, Tower Hamlets Youth Arts Project was a GLC initiative set up to develop best practice for participatory youth arts across Greater London. I continued with the A-Team, working closely with Liz LynchSita Brand ( then Ramamurthy) and Geraldine Bone until moving to Manchester in 1993.

In Manchester my visual arts practice focussed on the delivery of a number of highly acclaimed Public Arts Projects. Including the Sensory Garden at Hulme Park. The Anansi Mosaics at Royce Primary School ( now Royce Crescent Primary School), both in Manchester. However my time was primarily taken up in the delivery of a number of high profile Arts projects including the delivery of the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, the creation of the STUN Studio in Manchester and the development of Create, a specialist Arts Provision in North Edinburgh.

“From 2001 – 2006, Ekua led the development of the outreach work for Contact Theatre in Manchester. Ultimately within this role , as Associate Producer and Head of Creative Development under John McGrath, she combined both participatory departments creating a seamless journey into the arts at Contact for young people from all backgrounds and in all settings across Greater Manchester.”

I also worked on the development of a groundbreaking programme of creative interventions with Young People in the Care of the Local Authority in Derbyshire with Kim Johnson after a couple of years delivering projects for Creative Partnerships.

In 2011, I made the decision to return to my own Arts Practice, since 2016 I have worked from my studio at Artwork Atelier in Salford.

In September 2016, I was selected to be the Lead Associate Artist at Chuck Gallery, Manchester. Chuck Gallery is an art space in Manchester dedicated to the promotion of modern and contemporary African art.

In January 2017 I spent 6 weeks in the Playhouse Residency with fellow artist and sibling Folami Bayode.

In late 2017 I curated and exhibited in two exhibitions celebrating Black History Month in Manchester for Global Arts Manchester.

I started 2018 with my first solo exhibition “Re:Birth” celebrating my return to practice, 18 months with Chuck Gallery and its 2nd year in operation.

Ekua’s central contribution to this year’s Pankhurst in the Park will be Women Hold up Half the Sky, an eight-month inter-disciplinary project, which will include both sculpture and film, exhibitions, workshops and community engagement. It will tackle the themes of the Suffrage legacy, global women’s leadership, active citizenship, and the representation of women both ‘privately’ and in the art world itself.

The eight-week project will begin on the 14th of April and close with events on the 9th of September. For more information on the specifics of these events, visit our website’s event page here. In connection with our centenary edition of NYC based Art 511 Mag, we commissioned Katie Cercone to write an article on Ekua’s life and work. Read and download the mag here

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