Afra Eisma: splashdown tender

23 June – 22 October 2023
Preview: Thu 22 Jun, 6–8pm
The Tetley, Leeds
Free entry

The Tetley presents splashdown tender, artist Afra Eisma’s 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 and cuddle, interact and participate with the central artwork on display in the Atrium. Throughout the run of the show, the exhibition will also play host to school children, early years visits and community groups.

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. Eisma 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.

This is a recurring method for the artist, using 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. Eisma’s heart-shaped javelin is a metaphor for the finite energy we carry in our quiver to ‘stir up’ and tackle our challenges. Seeking to imbue the space with a certain liveliness and informality, as well as pleasures, assembly and embrace, Eisma also creates room for anger, ambiguity and reflection.

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

About The Tetley

The Tetley is a contemporary art gallery located in the stunning art deco headquarters of the former Tetley Brewery. From the heart of Leeds’ South Bank, The Tetley creates a platform for amazing emerging artists, presents breathtaking free exhibitions and helps communities and young people in Leeds find their creative voice.

The Tetley is supported by Arts Council England and Leeds City Council.

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The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ

About LEEDS 2023

LEEDS 2023’s ambition is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences connecting and benefiting people now and into the future. The planned programme will celebrate and transform the City’s identity locally, nationally and internationally – creating a lasting legacy of economic and social impact.

LEEDS 2023 is run by the Leeds Culture Trust, an independent charity set up in 2019 by Leeds City Council as part of its Culture Strategy and as a response to the cancellation of the UK’s participation in the European Capital of Culture competition.

Leeds City Council recognises in a number of its key strategies the difference culture and creativity can make to a city and its citizens, and is the principal funder of LEEDS 2023.

LEEDS 2023 is supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players for making this possible.

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