Afra Eisma: splashdown tender

  • 23 Jun – 22 Oct 2023
  • Wednesday – Sunday, 10am–5pm
  • Atrium & Galleries 1–8, First Floor Galleries, The Tetley
  • Free entry

Artist Afra Eisma presents splashdown tender, her first UK solo exhibition.

The artist, who is based in the Netherlands, transforms The Tetley, with textile works spilling out across the galleries, accompanied by soft sculptures, sound installations and ceramics.

A sense of fun is essential to the exhibition, which is included in Part Two of LEEDS 2023’s Year of Culture – that focuses on playing.

Visitors are encouraged to sit and rest on, feel, cuddle and gently interact with the central artwork on display in the Atrium.

Eisma’s work reimagines various social settings, from the domestic scene of a lounge, to a gathering round a campfire; in the Atrium, you’re invited into a convivial meeting of aliens. The artist works to facilitate intimate and unusual social settings beyond the environment of the family home. This desire to create warm, joyful and inviting spaces is a response to increasing unease, discomfort and uncertainty surrounding socialising following the pandemic, and resulting isolation.

Eisma frequently uses bright colours and playful approaches to engage with darker emotions and experiences. Garments hide activist rumblings, a stomach becomes a container for ‘butterflies’ and long arms offer to take you by the hand.

Afra Eisma: splashdown tender is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, LEEDS 2023 and No Man’s Art Gallery

Family visits

We welcome and encourage family visits to the exhibition. Here’s what to expect:

  • In the Atrium, you’re invited to take off your shoes and sit on the tapestry and touch the soft fabric aliens.
  • We ask you to be gentle and respectful when touching the artwork.
  • Some fragile ceramics are on display alongside the tactile fabric works.
  • We politely ask you to not have food or drinks in the First Floor galleries. You’re more than welcome to use our Feeding Room on the Second Floor instead, next to Tiny Tetley Studio.
  • Please don’t touch other artworks in the show.
  • There are subtle references to mature themes in some artworks.

Find out what else we have on offer for families at The Tetley here.

Resource for schools and families

Artist Beatrice Lee Knowles has collaborated with LEEDS 2023 to create a resource to help guide sensory engagement with the exhibition.

Schools and families resource
Two children peer at artwork in The Tetley contemporary art gallery
Afra Eisma: splashdown tender
Photos: Jules Lister


  • Galleries 3 and 4 have low lighting levels.
  • There is a low hanging object in Gallery 4.
  • Gallery 6 has an atmospheric dripping sound.
  • Portable exhibition stools are available in the galleries.
  • Large print guides are available.
  • Artists’ exhibition introduction films are subtitled.
  • Our lift is located at the rear of our building for access to all floors.
  • There are accessible toilets and baby change facilities on our ground and second floors.

Please call us on 0113 320 2323 or email info@yorkshire-contemporary.local if you have any specific questions about access.

Getting here