Liverpool Biennial and SEVENSTORE have joined forces to offer three bursaries to artists and creatives based in Merseyside. We are delighted to announce this year's selected artists.
As part of a shared commitment to supporting local artists in Liverpool and Merseyside, Liverpool Biennial 2023 and SEVENSTORE have joined forces to offer three bursaries of £3000 each for artists and creative practitioners between June-September 2023, as part of the 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial: ‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’. We are delighted to announce the selected artists: Alexis Maxwell, Sufea Mohamad Noor, and Willzy.
‘uMoya’ addresses the history and temperament of Liverpool and is a call for ancestral and indigenous forms of knowledge, wisdom and healing. In the isiZulu language, ‘uMoya’ means spirit, breath, air, climate and wind. The festival draws a line from the ongoing Catastrophes caused by colonialism towards an insistence on being truly Alive.
Expanding upon these themes, the selected artists all examine or work with practices of care. The creatives consider the various meanings and manifestations of care in different contexts and from disparate viewpoints, paralleling and contributing to the approach of our Liverpool Biennial 2023 artists. The artists explore care for, and within, different communities and identities; developing projects around ideas such as sharing and caring for Liverpool’s forgotten East and South East Asian heritage, and investigating the wants and needs of the local queer community.
The participating artists will receive support from Liverpool Biennial to develop their practices through self-determined activities inspired by their own unique needs. The creatives are invited to showcase their work during the final weeks of the festival, between 4-10th September, and will benefit from dedicated time with our festival Curator, Khanyisile Mbongwa, and the wider Biennial team to support their research and development and help make connections.
Alexis Maxwell is a transdisciplinary storyteller who makes work that celebrates the intersections of their identity; drawing from lived experience of queerness, mental illness and racial injustice. Firm believer that stories can be told in any medium, they use a blend of text, sound, projection and performance to explore how the digital and physical worlds can overlap. Their practice is a dialogue, often collaborative in nature and enriched by conflicting perspectives. They reach across disciplines to discover ways of retelling community stories and lived experiences, with a keen interest in autoethnographic explorations of oral histories.
Proudly and loudly working class, they navigate the art sector with a tongue in cheek use of its overblown terminology and a healthy dose of imposter syndrome. Their identity as a person of colour and its intersectionality with their working class status leaves traces in the things they create. Not shying away from crudely drawn imagery, purposely distorted audio and cheap alternatives to modern technology. Self-taught animator and long-time fan of all things spoken word, they’re using the bursary to develop the technical and creative skills needed for interactive projection mapped experiences. It’s an opportunity to experiment, attend workshops from contemporary practitioners and build the foundations of a sustainable practice.
Stay connected with Alexis on social media at @blacklivesstillmatterr .
Sufea Mohamad Noor
Sufea Mohamad Noor is a creative practitioner with a portfolio career working as an artist, curator and fundraiser. Her artistic practice focuses on bringing people together for a shared experience through cultural exchanges in the form of words, textiles and food.
She will use her Liverpool Biennial x Sevenstore bursary to work with communities in Liverpool to learn, share and care for the forgotten East and South East Asian (ESEA) heritage in Liverpool. The bursary will support Sufea to document ESEA monuments in Liverpool, make large scale prints and host a communal meal.
Sufea graduated with an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from University of Leeds in 2019 with a dissertation on Generational Gap: Black Art in Liverpool from 1985 Onwards. Recent projects include Pages x Tetley New Voices commission in 2019, Liverpool Independents Biennial x Metal Residency in 2021, The Artist’s Survival Guide 2.0 with GRAFT Lancaster in 2021, The Hardy Lotus at FACT in 2022 and Lunar New Year Tasting Menu at FACT in 2023.
Sufea is a studio holder and a trustee at The Royal Standard. She is also a director for Corridor8, co-founder of Not Just Collective and founder of Liverpool East and South East Asian Network.
Stay connected with Sufea on social media at @sufeamono.
Willzy is a self-taught artist, whose passion for painting, sewing, writing, and performing has culminated in a unique artistic practice. With a focus on costume, portraiture, and storytelling, their work is infused with experimental play and intuitive practice combined with art fundamentals learned via self-guided study.
As a queer, neurodivergent artist, Willzy’s identity, community, and experiences are central to their art. Their practice highlights and uplifts queer experience and presentation, exploring the intersections of spirituality, gender, and labor – especially domestic – with a joyful, whimsical and humorous approach. They are inspired by queer history and driven to find novel ways to utilize their skillset to create bold, accessible art that celebrates queer joy and resilience.
With a deep commitment to their artistic growth and the broader queer community, Willzy plans to use a bursary to seek formal training to build on their painting and sewing skills. They also plan to undertake research trips to London and Manchester to visit queer arts organizations, network with other artists, and see queer work. Additionally, they will be using the bursary to research the wants and needs of the local queer community via focus groups and surveys, further informing their artistic practice.
Willzy’s goal is to enhance their artistic practice and begin the journey to their first exhibition, where they can share their unique perspective and spark joy in others. By bringing together their skills, experiences, and humour, Willzy is poised to create a meaningful impact in the world of queer art.
Stay connected with Willxy on social media at @imwillzy and willzy.square space.com.