4UBU is a comfy, safe and relaxing space for different types of communities to develop ideas with each other and the NAE team. A space for ‘us’ to slow down and get to know each other, and interact with visual arts, books, film/moving images and music generously developed by Black folks.
4UBU is using NAE’s Main Gallery space, often reserved for internationally renowned artists, as an informal space for play, learning, community activity, and two artist residencies that will have access to an artist studio in the gallery itself. A space where families, elders, young people, and those local to the area can feel welcomed, and for artists and creatives who may or may not work within the usual parameters of a contemporary art gallery setting.
The title 4UBU is purposefully non-specific, ‘U’ could stand for ‘You’ or ‘Us’. This translates to universally open space. Yes, this is a platform to express the joys of Black life in multiple forms and allows all members of the “Black community” in all of its intersections to share openly in a safe and unified space, but it is also a place for people of colour and White individuals to be a part of too.
For some of the team, 4UBU was about de-institutionalising themselves as cultural workers and going through a more nuanced process of learning when it comes to thinking about ‘Black communities’ as something that is rooted within but isn’t solely bound by race or Blackness. 4UBU is a process and not an exhibition nor a project. It is about community building, reclamation, redistribution of power in the organisation, and celebrating Black life.
The Main Gallery space will have two active artist studios for our artists-in-residence – Mac Collins and Sofia Yala, a resource area that will include books and films on monitors, as well as an interactive drawing area for all to join, enjoy and reclaim the space. The space will be hosting several of our Public Programmes of events.
For Us, by Us.
Mac Collins is an emerging British designer, maker and artist from Nottingham. Collins graduated with a degree in Three-Dimensional Design from Northumbria University, Newcastle, in the summer of 2018. In the years since graduating, Collins has been committed to designing and making narrative-rich and impactful furniture and objects. In this pursuit, Collins focuses on manipulating, yet still celebrating, the inherent beauty of the materials that he works with. Alongside this material-driven approach, Collins brings personal and cultural narratives into his work and deems his practice as a means of exploring his own identity and position within the African Diaspora. As a designer of Jamaican descent, Collins draws on his Caribbean lineage to create artefacts that are often informed by the stories and the charisma of his elders.
Sofia Yala is a visual artist who divides her time between England and Portugal. Yala artwork explores archival material combined with unexpected encounters in life. Her recent series of portraits weaves layers of identity and memory. Yala’s art conveys storytelling bringing in different, times and textures. With previous studies in African Studies and Anthropology, Sofia is currently developing her practice with the MA Film & Photography degree, keeping her work with the photographic medium alongside other formats and compositions. Sofia has a wealth of experience and success and recently won the John E. Wright Prize from Format Festival 2021.
4UBU will be taking over the Main Gallery space of the New Art Exchange from the 14th of August until the 9th of October 2021.