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.
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