Nottingham WEYA festival: 1,000 artists from 100 nations

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Media captionThe ten day festival features music, dance, visual art and fashion

Over the next 10 days, 1,000 artists from 100 nations will be in Nottingham for the World Event Young Artists (WEYA) festival.

The event is the first of its kind and is part of the finale to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

The idea is to give young artists aged between 18 and 30 the chance to showcase a piece of their work, ranging from music, dance, theatre and spoken word to film, visual art and fashion.

Nottingham was chosen to host the event partly because of its diverse range of arts venues.

These include well-established spaces like the Nottingham Contemporary and Nottingham Castle to smaller galleries such as Backlit. Work will be dotted across 30 venues in total.

Three artists spoke to BBC News about their work and how it feels to be a part of a festival dedicated to emerging talents.


For Lauren O'Grady, 29, being selected was a complete surprise.

A Nottingham Trent University MA graduate, her work was personally chosen by the designer Paul Smith to exhibit in his flagship Nottingham store during the festival.

"It's such a big deal because there is such a large amount of artists coming from all over the world, so there's going to be a much bigger reach of people seeing the work," she said.

Lauren's work recalls imagery from science fiction films and literature. The three sculptures that form Only Give Me Back The World I Threw Away, seem to imply an impending human catastrophe.

She said: "It creates a narrative perhaps about some future disaster that might strike the earth but there's also a sense of hope with the tree growing from the top."

In the past Lauren has taken on a part-time job to sustain her art work. She says being selected is a big boost to her confidence.

As a Nottingham-based artist, Lauren feels events like this open up the city to lots of different people.

SAARA NEKOMBA, Visual Artist, Namibia

Saara Nekomba, 26, has always been inspired by the traditional costumes worn by the Ndonga people of Namibia.

Her paintings are created using beads, textiles and collages in an attempt to recreate the movements of traditional ceremonial dancers.

She said: "I've always loved the vibrancy of colours in the clothes worn during our traditional ceremonies and so I wanted to convey that and the rhythm of dancing in my work."

A recent graduate from the Nambian College of the Arts, Saara lives in the capital Windhoek.

She has worked with community projects across the country, spreading creative skills in isolated areas. Being selected to be a part of WEYA was a big moment for her.

She said: "I was so excited when we found out last February. Since then it's felt like time has moved too slowly to get to September."

Saara says it's not just about personal recognition but she says "being able to see other people's work will inspire me to do better."

CAROLINE MONNET, Film-maker, Canada

An award-winning film-maker, Caroline has screened short films at festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and Cannes.

Based in Montreal, the 27-year-old is of Aborigine and French origin.

She said: "My work often explores the duality of identity and what happens when two ideologies mix together."

Caroline will be screening Gephyrophobia at WEYA. It is an experimental black and white film that explores the phobia of crossing bridges

She said: "The film is set in Ottawa and looks at the tension between the two regions on either side of the bridge."

She said being part of WEYA was "a unique opportunity for emerging artists and is the place to be if you want to know where the art world is heading".

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