New Visibility project will highlight the achievements of ethnically diverse artists from the Midlands

Pauline Bailey

Outside In is excited to announce ‘Visibility’ a Black Art Project which will highlight the achievements of ethnically diverse artists from the Midlands. The project, which will include online events and an exhibition, has been made possible thanks to a grant via Coventry City Council in order to address the black lives matter movement by offering artists in Coventry opportunities to profile their art.

Outside In’s Midlands Coordinator José Forrest who is leading the project said: “ This is an exciting project that will see those that are ethnically diverse and marginalised from the mainstream artworld talk about their art and artworks while highlighting their heros and sheros of black art. It’s an opportunity for the wider public to know that black artists exist, are talented and are part of British history.”

A series of “Zoom Cafe” events will focus on the artists whose talents range from  performance and installation to painting, sculpture and graphic design. Each “Café” will be facilitated by visual artist and curator Pauline Bailey and will be attended by a number of ethnically diverse artists from Coventry and the surrounding areas. Through the sessions, participants will be encouraged to take part in discussions on “black art” and “black art history” as well as have the opportunity to learn about the work of the participating artists – this will support both the profiling of historic and contemporary black artists.

Pauline Bailey is the Visual Arts Lead for the Black Arts Forum and Handsworth Creative based in Birmingham and is also co-founder of the Daughters of Africa a Foundation in The Gambia. Pauline has curated and exhibited work both nationally and internationally and is continuing to develop opportunities for emerging artists internationally alongside her individual visual arts practice.

“We want the public in Coventry to take part as audience members. If you are interested in being involved then we will be posting details at community and voluntary centres in your area and Outside In will be working with partners such as Artspace and The New Art Gallery Walsall for the project,” José explained. “Participating artists will include:  Frances Yeung, Ije, Mandip Seehra, Melissandre Varin, Rosa Francesca, among others. These artists will be joined by additional participants who have experienced similar barriers to engaging in the arts.”

Participants will then have the opportunity to have their work showcased in an online exhibition curated by Pauline Bailey in Outside In’s virtual gallery space. As a lasting legacy to the project, the aim is to also encourage participants to explore works by black artists held in other arts organisations and seek out other opportunities to display their own work. This will be achieved through a gathering of resources that will be made available to the network formed by the project, as well as being published on Artspace and Outside In’s websites.

The dates for our Zoom Café’s for these sessions are:

8 June, 29 June, 20 July, 10 August. 11.00 – 12.30pm. Full details will be posted on our events page and on the Midlands programme page nearer the time

Please contact Midlands Coordinator José Forrest if you would like to know more about the project on email:
or call: 07496 997 333

Partners include Artspace, The New Art Gallery Walsall and Herbert Art Gallery among others.

Artwork : Surveillance: Tagging the Other, Keith Piper (1991)

Acquired last year through the Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund.  It will feature in Piper’s major solo exhibition Jet Black Futures at The New Art Gallery Walsall (14 January – 24 April 2022) and will form part of the discussion with Curator Pauline Bailey and participants taking part in Visibility.

This work was created in response to issues arising in the run-up to the instigation of the European Union in 1992.  The four monitors, installed in a row, show the artist’s head being a target of surveillance and control.   His Black body is scrutinised in terms of ethnicity, gender, citizenship and appearance.  Sound is an important part of the work, featuring fragments of news reports related to the rise of racist attacks, anti-Semitism and right-wing tendencies across Europe.

Although it was made in 1991, the work remains hauntingly pertinent following both Brexit and the death of George Floyd and the urgent demands for racial equality that have followed.  It also connects with wider issues around surveillance and control in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the longer term, the work will remain witness to turbulent times in British history and the struggles for racial equality.

About the participating artists

Melissandre Varin

Commissioned nationally and internationally, melissandre is a co-parent of 2 year old Eole. They currently work on a healing (library, art, rest) space, transnational afrofeminist performances, and are an editor of the  Studies in Theatre and Performance journal. They also program and collaborate with Black and Brown artists at Coventry Artspace, an organisation where they also sit on the advisory board.’

Image: post-Covid’, 2021 shopping cart, Black synthetic hair, recycling, houseplant, found objects in the streets of Foleshill (Coventry, UK), shopping bag, queer used paint tools, mattress, pink hoola hoops, bin bag, digital cam corder

Frances Yeung

Frances is interested in creating art around the themes of race and female identity. She is a multidisciplinary artist, her works ranging from installations, to illustration, to animations. She likes to shine spotlights on marginalised communities and raise awareness of social issues.

Image: Photo taken for the digital Archive & Library at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester


Ije (eejay) is a Scottish/Nigerian artist-healer. Her practice draws on a lifetime of moving across the UK and beyond exploring landscapes, from mining and farming communities to industrial towns and cities, to wild spaces of mountains and coastlines. Her painting, photography, installation and writing are products of immersive experiences, connecting audiences with the transformative properties of expansive natural spaces. Textured paintings with inclusions of manufactured materials are often described as bold and energetic, reflecting the feelings, political resonance, and sensuousness of her encounters. Her photographs/videos initially act as immediate note taking, capturing glimpses of the times and spaces that she occupies in the world.

Image: UWA NIILE / ALL OUR WORLDS: Acrylic, modelling paste, gold leaf, oil pastel and recycled yarn on canvas; 2020; w 150 x h 120 x d 4.5 cm

Mandip Seehra

A resident of Coventry, Mandip has spent many hours exploring his hometown to document the City, its buildings and the people themselves. He explores these facets in his work, delving into the lives of individuals and communities capturing their lives, hopes and dreams. These connections in his work offer an interesting perspective on the City, throwing a lens into the stories and journeys of those that live there. Mandip is a fine art photographer and member of the Royal Photographic Society.

Rosa Francesca

Rosa Francesca is a digital artist from Leamington Spa whose work focuses on the themes of the body and accessibility. Rosa often experiments with biofeedback and facial recognition to find innovative ways for people with limited mobility to make music and art. Her work ranges from 3D renders to performance and interactive installations.

Image: Title: Frequency Illusion Medium: 3D render Date: 2019 Artist: Rosa Francesca

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