Artist Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom is the inaugural recipient of the Donna Lynas Residency. This is an opportunity for an artist at a key moment in their career in memory of curator Donna Lynas, who was widely known as Director of Wysing Arts Centre and as a long term supporter of artist development. The residency celebrates Lynas’ legacy but it also comes at a critical moment in terms of conversations around artist pay, and the sustainability of artists’ careers, long-term.
The residency is supported by four cultural organisations who Donna Lynas worked with and is a partnership between Wysing Arts Centre, South London Gallery, Modern Art Oxford and Somerset House Studios. Boakye-Yiadom, will receive £16,000 a year for three years (2023-6) and the support of each partner – including mentoring, use of facilities and the opportunity to hold public programme events.
At the South London Gallery, Boakye-Yiadom has been leading a reading group. The artist and participants read an extract from Peggy Phelan’s book Unmarked: The Politics of Performance, 1993. The book is a critique of visibility as a political act and the assumption that greater visibility leads to enhanced political power.
This reading group forms part of the artist’s ongoing research into the ways human history is intertwined with communication and support. This is explored in his exhibition at Site Gallery, Sheffield which ends 18 February 2024.
There is no expectation of an outcome from the residency. The purpose is to provide stability, and time to reflect outside the pressures of production and the habits of daily life. There is a fast cycle of production and delivery and a need to take on multiple opportunities in order to make a living. Many invitations to artists by institutions do not allow for the essential reflective time necessary to develop, reflect and progress in new directions.