Approved: 14.03.2019

Sylvia Theuri

Artist, Lecturer / academic, Researcher

Approved: 14.03.2019

As a Kenyan-British woman, I currently utilise digital media to explore Coventry’s iconic cultural landmarks and its current fast moving urban transformation. My work is centred around the urban landscape and I am interested in exploring, among other things, the way I – as a woman – experience, see and engage with the city I live in. And how my existence in Coventry challenges and redefines the city.

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Artist Statement

As a Kenyan-British woman, I currently utilise digital media to explore Coventry’s iconic cultural landmarks and its current fast moving urban transformation. My work is centred around the urban landscape and I am interested in exploring, among other things, the way I – as a woman – experience, see and engage with the city I live in. And how my existence in Coventry challenges and redefines the city.

 As a result of my Kenyan heritage I have an affinity to bright, vibrant colours. As a child I was often carried and wrapped in colourful ‘kanga’ (a traditional Kenyan fabric).  I am drawn to such colours as I was surrounded by them growing up, thus they influence the way I ‘see’ the world around me. And it is these bright colours that are the colour pallet I use to depict various locations in and around Coventry. I think ultimately, I am seeing Coventry through a ‘Kenyan lens’.

I begin my work with the colour black digitally painted over existing maps of places in Coventry. Black is a representation of my skin colour, my identity and my presence challenging and redefining the city I live in. I then digitally draw and paint over the black with bright colour depicting the urban landscape of Coventry as I see it. I work at turning an ‘unfamiliar’ context/location into a ‘familiar’ one, one that can become 'home'. bell hooks writes in 'Art on my mind' (pg 73) that 'learning to know a community or a landscape is a homecoming. Creating a vision of that community or landscape is a homemaking'.

My choice to use digital media to create my artwork is an acknowledgement of another part of who I am – a mother – for whom time is limited, the creation of artwork fitted in and around motherhood.

CV & Education

Education:
2011-2016 PhD Art and Design in Education, University of Salford
2007-2010 MA Art and Design in Education, UCL Institute of Education
2007-2008 PGCE Art and Design, UCL Institute of Education
2002-2005 BA (Hons) History of Art and Design with Practice (Fine Art), First Class, Manchester Metropolitan University 

Publications: 
Book chapter: 'Critical Race Theory and its Relationship to Art Education' in K. Hatton (ed) Towards an Inclusive Arts Education London: Institute of Education Press (2015)

Selected Exhibitions:    
2019 Refugee Week Conference. Coventry Cathedral, Coventry
2019 Coventry Open. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry 
2018/19 Rugby Open. Rugby Art Gallery, Rugby 
2018 Spon Spun Follow Up Exhibition. Artspace Arcadia Gallery, Coventry 
2018 Spon Spun Art Trail. Oasis Café, Coventry 
2018 Living Colour Art Exhibition. The Gallery, Kenilworth 

Open Studios
2018 Warwickshire Open Studios. University Hospital, Coventry 

Residencies:
2019 The Nest Residency (Talking Birds). Coventry Art Space – Eaton House, Coventry

Awards:      
2018 Curators’ Choice Award. Spon Spun Art Trail, 2018
2011-2014 PhD Research Funding. University of Salford 
2008 BAME Teachers Bursary. UCL, Institute of Education

Selected Conference Papers:
2018 Theuri, S. ‘Black Women and Arts Education’ in Black Girl Festival, at Shoreditch Town Hall, London 

2017 Theuri, S. ‘The Art and Design Educational Journeys of Black African Students’ in For, About, Nearby: The value of diversity and difference in Fine Art practice, research and education, at Conway Hall, London 

2014 Hatton, K and Theuri, S. ‘Bodies out of Place; Interdisciplinarity in art education and art practice’, in Building Interdisciplinary Bridges Across Creative Cultures, at University of Cambridge 

2013 Theuri, S. (invited Keynote presentation) ‘Black African Students and the Art and Design Educational Space’ in University of the Arts, London’s Towards a Progressive Arts Education: Inclusion, Change and Intervention Conference, at the British Library