Leeds Arts University has awarded commissions to Wooshy and Rosie Vohra as part of its 2023 Access and Participation Plan (APP) Creative Commissions Programme
The APP Creative Commissions Programme, now in its second year, aims to increase the presence of creative practitioners of minoritised ethnicities interacting with the University and to challenge and develop pedagogy by generating inclusive debate. The Programme is part of the University’s 2020-21 to 2024-25 Access and Participation Plan, an ambitious five-year plan to develop access to, success during, and progression following university for students from underrepresented groups, including students of Black, Asian and other minoritised ethnicities. The creatives will be provided with a research and production budget and artist’s fee.
“Wooshy World” is a multi-media image making project that was developed by Nigerian-born queer designer Pei “Wooshy” Koroye (or, “the Artist”) during the summer of 2020 to express the full extent of their creative practice -- as a self-taught graphic designer, illustrator, writer and creative director. The “Wooshy World” digital platform is informed by the artist’s personal and artistic philosophies -- a pan-African, DIY and counter-cultural practice that above all else seeks to “imagine new ways of being” and create a space in which anyone (but especially people of marginalized experiences and identities) can find creative stimulation and above all else, community. @wooshyworld
Wooshy said: “I’m really honored to be a part of the LAU commissions program this year — I really believe that the support an artist may receive from an institution such as LAU is a fundamental part of the artistic process. I feel supported in my development as an image maker, and really excited to give my project the time and resources I feel it deserves.”
Rosie Vohra (b.1992) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Leeds. She studied Fine Art at Leeds Arts University in 2010-13, before completing The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School in 2014. Vohra works across painting, drawing, collage, textiles and sculpture, exploring themes of identity, belonging, feminism and cross-cultural exchange. Her process involves bringing threads of research together in order to create new, non-linear narratives that embody duality. Recent exhibitions include: Leeds Artist Show, Leeds Art Gallery, 2023; Flying Inside Your Own Body, Slugtown, Newcastle, 2022; WORMB, Quench Gallery, Margate, 2022. @rosievohra
Rosie said: “I am so delighted to receive this commission and to have been given the support from Leeds Arts University and my family. This project feels integral to my practice and I feel grateful to have the time, resources and space to explore this.”
Image: Rosie Vohra. Photo by Michael Godsall
The submissions were judged by a selection panel with invited external panellist, Emii Alrai, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Student Experience & Resources, Professor Dave Russell, University Curator, Dr Marianna Tsionki, and the Access and Participation Development Manager, Dr Laura da Costa.
Professor Dave Russell said: “On behalf of the panel, I am delighted that the University is able to offer this opportunity to such talented practitioners. The shortlisting process continues to be a difficult one as the commission gathers more interest and we received some really high-quality proposals. Thank you to all those who took the time to engage in the process. We are very excited at the prospect of sharing the outcomes of the commissions publicly once they have been completed.”
External panellist Emii Alrai said: “All the applications for the APP commission were engaging, gorgeous and with huge potential for exploration. The two winning commissions are incredibly exciting and I look forward to seeing how the proposals develop over the course of the year. It’s wonderful to see two Leeds based artists from different material practices be awarded the commission, in tune with a year which has centered on the artists who live and work in the city.”