Young People's Collaborative Project Launch Event

16 April 2021

On Saturday 13 February, 2021, the Arts Council Collection hosted the first event for the Young People’s Collaborative Project, part of the National Partners Programme.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and national lockdown, this launch event was hosted online via Zoom. It brought together members of the youth groups from the partner venues: Celebrate Different at Sunderland Culture, SEEN at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, and YAK at Firstsite, Colchester and was facilitated by the youth-led and Bristol based Rising Arts Agency.

This was the first time for members from all three youth groups to meet, albeit over the internet, have an introduction to the Collection and begin thinking about their collaborative project. Over the course of three hours, we did icebreaker activities, listened to presentations by Arts Council Collection artists John Walter and Flo Brooks, learned about curating from Rising Arts’ Campaign & Communication Manager Rosa ter Kuile, did breakout sessions to prompt discussions about exhibition-making, and finished with a zine workshop.

Prior to the event, artist Flo Brooks invited the young people to submit questions to him which he’d then respond to in a pre-recorded video which would be shared during the event. His willingness to answer “informal, intimate, challenging” questions was well and truly tested by our participants! Questions such as “how do you start the complex pieces”, and “do you work from photographs or memory?” allowed insight into his artists process, while others allowed for Flo to share more personal comments on his experiences as a queer, trans man. 

Using images of his works, together with archival photographs, sketches and found imagery, Flo put together a rich and varied slide show to illustrate his answers as captured in the two stills from the presentation below. You can read the full transcript from the Q&A here.


The Arts Council Collection : Young People's Collaborative Project Launch Event
The Arts Council Collection : Young People's Collaborative Project Launch Event

We were lucky to have John Walter join us in person for the event. John Walter’s work encompasses a diverse range of media, including painting, drawing, artist’s books, sculpture, costume, performance, video, sound, installation and spatial design. His oeuvre is characterised by an exuberant use of colour and pattern as well as an absurdist and tragicomic use of humour. He works serially, producing iterative bodies of work that accumulate to form large and distinct projects, and often collaborates with individuals and institutions such as other artists, scientists and museums in order to exchange images, ideas and narratives. 

John participated in an Q&A style presentation with Jodie Edwards, General Manager, National Partners Programme, discussing his background, his inspirations, his multi-faceted practice, and how it feels to have work in a national collection.

Walter explained “For me, it's an incredible honour. I'm part of two public collections in the UK – [the Arts Council Collection] and the Walker Art Gallery as well… The way I have survived is not primarily by selling work. It's by designing projects that I run, and so for the work to find a home is the biggest achievement it can have, that it can live on and other people can see it...for perpetuity.

John's answers the young people's questions in the following video clips:

The group greatly enjoyed hearing from John about his experience as an artist firsthand and having the opportunity to ask him questions directly. Many commented on his strong jumper game, of course.

“It was great to hear from curators and artists about how they approach different themes and situations - i’ve been very inspired to explore taking art outside of the gallery space more and perhaps using our organisations to spread the work more into the local community, rather than within the 4 walls of the gallery. I also feel inspired to explore more themes within my own work :)”  - Quote from YAK member.

“How we are not confined to doing one style, we can be our own personalities expressed into art” - Quote from Celebrate Different member.


“I’ve had fun seeing people like me and discussing how they curate art! Seeing other people’s thoughts and feelings about art has been a wonderful experience. Seeing other trans or queer artists has been like a very emotional mirror, it’s been lovely to see other people like me succeeding.”  - Quote from SEEN member.

As one attendee put in the chat “Much better than my usual saturday!”, we hope to all meet again in this digital space, speak with more artists from the collection, make together and along for more space to discuss the Young People’s Collaborative exhibition.


Learn more about Flo Brooks and John Walter.

New Acquisitions 2019–21: Poster Publication

27 August 2021

In celebration of our 75th anniversary year, we are delighted to present a new poster publication featuring information on the Arts Council Collection's latest acquisitions.

It has been an exceptional two years for the Collection. Despite the global pandemic, our ongoing commitment to supporting artists has seen 98 works by 42 artists acquired for the nation. All of these recent acquisitions follow in a tradition of supporting and promoting early career artists living and working across Britain today. 


At 75 years, the Collection includes over 8,000 works by close to 2,200 artists. We continue to bring art to every corner of the country through loans to museums, galleries, schools, hospitals, and other public institutions, and through our touring exhibitions. From multi-part installations to performance, painting and moving image, the works that joined the Collection in 2019–2021 represent the best and most ambitious art made in the UK.


The poster depicts a work by the artist Adam Farah. A testament to transformation and soaring optimism, Farah’s freely distributed poster encapsulates the Collection’s belief that art is for everyone.


The new poster publication is included in frieze magazine’s September 2021 issue.

A digital version of the poster can be viewed below. If you would like to receive a free print copy, please contact:



The Arts Council Collection supports and promotes British art and artists by acquiring their work at an early or critical stage in their career. With a focus on innovative work made by artists living in Britain, our acquisitions policy is characterised by a spirit of risk taking combined with an informed appraisal of current practice. 

Works from the Collection – spanning video, photography, performance, installation, painting, computer animation and sculpture – are lent to galleries and public institutions throughout the country.


If you would like further information about our new acquisitions or works in the Collection, please contact our Acquisitions Coordinator, or our Registrar,

Interview with Katherine Gili

1 October 2021

We had the pleasure of asking Katherine Gili, one of the artists featured in the Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition Breaking the Mould, a few questions about her work in the Collection and her process.

Katherine Gili is a sculptor and teacher whose works Pistil, 1979 and Vertical III, 1975 are part of the Arts Council Collection. Although abstract, much of Gili's work in mild steel appears to reference the human form. Works such as Pistil, 1979 have an energy and a sense of movement reminiscent of dance. This vitality is achieved through Gili's ability to exploit the expansive surface of her sculptures in a highly sensuous manner, transforming weighty pieces of steel with a lightness of touch.


Read the full interview below and watch a short film of the artist at work in her studio in Kent from 2017.



Special thanks to Cameron Amiri at Felix & Spear Gallery.


1. Both of your works in the ACC - Vertical III and Pistil - are made from steel. Can you tell us why you enjoy working with this material?

As a student at Bath Academy of Art, I worked in many materials and it wasn’t until my second year at St Martin’s in London that I began to work exclusively in steel. Actually, it is a very simple material, technically. You do not have to keep it damp as you do with clay. Or mix it up as you do with plaster and wait for it to dry nor worry about the grain in wood and keep your chisels sharp, nor do you have to cast it. You can get quick results; you can see what you have done almost immediately, this can be an advantage or a disadvantage.

I find the material a challenge and I like that. Steel is hard, cold, and heavy, it comes pre-formed in girders, sections, plates and bars. It also appears resistant to manipulation, but that is only an attitude of mind. To make anything with it you must have a purpose strong enough to overcome this. Whatever the purpose, the material gains an energy and a new character. When you join pieces together even more aspects start to appear. All manner of feelings emerge if you are alive to them. Even the heaviest lumps can have a feeling of lightness in a certain context. You can also change what you have done if dissatisfied. For me, steel and the use of construction continues to have huge potential as a material for making sculpture, still so much to discover.








Right: Image of Katherine Gili's Vertical III, 1975 on the roof of the Stockwell Depot, London. Courtesy of Felix & Spear Gallery.

The Arts Council Collection : Interview with Katherine Gili
The Arts Council Collection : Interview with Katherine Gili

2. Can you tell us about your experience of working in the field of welded sculpture, which is often considered a particularly 'macho' domain? What barriers and opportunities did you face?

I was not particularly conscious of any barriers and I was not looking for them. I was absolutely absorbed with my subject and keen to learn as a student and as a professional I was considered to be a serious sculptor by my contemporaries and the wider art world. Maybe I was lucky to be in a conducive environment. Of course, over a career of nearly fifty years there are bound to be fluctuations of fortune and interest, disagreements and disappointments. I lost my teaching job in the 1980s and had to find other ways of supporting myself financially but I never let that, or any other difficulty get in the way of pursuing my interests in sculpture. As for opportunities, I was included in many exhibitions in the 1970s notably surveys of British sculpture organised by the Arts Council at the Hayward Gallery, and those organised by other bodies and Galleries. The art scene changed in the 1980s – a shift of interest and attention occurred – but I still managed to show my work.


Left: Katherine Gili working on Pistil, 1979. Courtesy of Felix & Spear Gallery.

3. Pistil seems to occupy a place between abstraction and figuration, and there is a strong sense of movement and of gesture. Can you reflect on your interest on this inbetween the space?

I have often felt that applying labels such as abstraction and figuration are somewhat artificial and can get in the way of experiencing the sculpture. We can generate words very easily but our eyes are wonderful things which I feel we do not use as much as we should. Maybe my work does sit in the in-between space but I do not want it to be diagrammatic, I want it to have a life of its own. In Pistil and other sculptures around that time I was trying to make parts that would feel that they were bearing down upon; or increasing tensions with; and precipitating reactions with other parts to energise the form of the whole. This was a result of my search for an understanding of what physicality in sculpture might mean. When looking at the sculpture I hope the viewer can feel and relate to the experience not just intellectually but viscerally as one does with music.


4. Can you describe your studio practice: do you work alone, as part of a team? Do you work with fabricators or is it important to you that the work is made by you?

I work alone, making sculpture is an emotional and intimate experience, it is important to me not to have any distractions. It is difficult to hand the work to an assistant because I need to get to know everything about the work until it is finished. I do sometimes use an industrial process, such as anti-corrosion treatment which must be done by professionals away from the studio. But even there I have to find someone who is sympathetic to what I am doing. I have worked with other sculptors outside the studio in a group context, to discuss and share ideas and to conduct some experimental work in the past and found it fruitful at times, but I always go back to the studio to consolidate on my own.

5. Can you comment on the wider artistic influences of your work, past and present? Have any particular female role models, historic or contemporary, been important to you?

The painter Jean Spencer, who was part of the Systems Movement, was my art teacher at school. To her, art was not just a pastime but an enquiry to be taken seriously. Her expansive approach resonated with me and sparked my interest in art. She encouraged me to apply to Bath Academy of Art where I discovered my feeling for sculpture. She was the most significant female influence.


6. What are your perceptions of discrimination within the art world today. Many gains have been made and there are many exhibitions by women and artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. Is the battle finally won?

I think the artificial barriers have gone.


7. Your work was acquired by the Arts Council Collection on two occasions. How important were these acquisitions to you at the time and since?

When my work was first acquired by the Arts Council Collection it was a great confidence booster, recognition does matter. I was very pleased to sell a second sculpture because it showed that the Arts Council were interested in my direction.

Since then, my two sculptures have been shown by the Arts Council Collection many times.










Left: A short film of Katherine Gili working in her Kent studio in 2017. © Cameron Amiri and Felix & Spear Gallery.

Breaking the Mould is an Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition initiated in response to Women Working in Sculpture from 1960 to the Present Day: Towards a New Lexicon, a research project led by Catherine George (University of Coventry) and Hilary Gresty (independent). 

After the first presentation at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Spring 2021, Breaking the Mould will tour to Djanogly Art Gallery Nottingham Lakeside Arts, The Levinsky Gallery at the University of Plymouth, Ferens Art Gallery Hull and New Art Gallery Walsall.

More information about artworks and artists featured in Breaking the Mould can be found via our exhibition page.

Content Picks: National Partners Programme

13 December 2021

With only a few months left of the National Partners Programme Round 2, we want to highlight some of the extraordinary digital content and resources our National Partners have created so far…

The National Partners Programme was launched in 2016 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Arts Council Collection by creating a network of regional galleries and museums to present and curate exhibitions drawn from the Arts Council Collection. The second round of National Partners for 2019-22 are Firstsite in Essex, Sunderland Culture in Tyne and Wear and Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in Cornwall.

Funded by the National Lottery, the programme aims to build a deeper relationship with regional audiences by building a UK-wide network across regional partners, connecting local visitors to their national collection.

The National Partners have each organised an incredible array of programming drawn from the Collection in the past two years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdowns, some of the exhibitions and engagement had to move online. Each National Partner responded quickly and creatively to this challenge by producing podcasts, video series, online workshops, virtual exhibitions, learning resources and more.




Listen, watch, make and interact below with a selection of the resources created for the National Partner Programme...



1. LISTEN: Art Pod with Young in Hong and Michelle Williams Gamaker

In this episode of the Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange podcast Art Pod, artists Young In Hong and Michelle Williams Gamaker are in conversation about their artistic practices and respective works in Newlyn Art Gallery’s 2020 exhibition Go On Being So. The work was selected from the Arts Council Collection by The MBA Collective, a group of art, photography and graphics students from Mounts Bay Academy.



Click the triangle icon on the image to the left to listen to the podcast.

2. WATCH: Artist Series with Posy Jowett

Sunderland Culture's Public Engagement and Learning Officer, Posy Jowett, presents a series of films looking closely at works featured in the National Partners Programme Exhibition, Received Wisdom, which challenged the notion that creativity, boundary-breaking and dynamism are the preserve of youth.


Join Posy as she takes a look at the artwork Received Wisdom by Amikam Toren, from which the exhibition takes its title.

3. LISTEN: Audio Descriptions by Emma Howe

Civic leaders, community organisers, artists, designers, politicians, mothers and Colchester business owners worked with Firstsite to present Tell me the story of all these things which examined the role of emotion and soft power in our society and how this can be used positively to connect and empower us. This artwork was one of the Arts Council Collection chosen by women of Colchester to feature in this National Partners Programme Exhibition.



Listen to Emma Howe, Programme Manager, Communities at Firstsite, Colchester, describe Hilary Cartmel’s Sprawling Red Woman, 1984. 

4. MAKE: Creative Challenge for Rose Wylie, Girl on Liner

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: National Partners Programme

For Received Wisdom, Sunderland Culture developed creative challenges inspired by Arts Council Collection works in the exhibition. Girl on Liner, 1996 is a painting by British artist Rose Wylie who is known for making large paintings featuring things she sees in films, news stories and magazine pin-ups.


Download the creative challenge to make a paper doll chain of the girl on liner and her friends, dressed for a party on the ship!

5. READ: Poems in response to 'My name is not Refugee'

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: National Partners Programme

My name is not Refugee at Firstsite was curated by a group of refugees and asylum seekers, working with Firstsite staff and Refugee Action Colchester, and explored what it means to find new connections in a different place, and ponder questions about our purpose, choices and morality as human beings. The group of curators worked with poet Laila Sumpton to write poetry in response to the Arts Council Collection works chosen.


Read the poems here about Prayer Meeting in Windermere, 1992 by John Kippin.

6. MAKE: Artist Workshops in Palace of Culture

Made in collaboration with V21 Artspace, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and Arts Council Collection, the virtual exhibition Palace of Culture offers a virtual set to discover the 10 artworks selected by children at Newlyn School. 11, artist-led workshops were commissioned alongside the exhibition to stimulate both body and mind.

Attending Stass Paraskos' art school in Cyprus was pivotal in encouraging a young Naomi Frears to pursue a career as an artist. In her workshop 'Painting, Drawing & Offsetting' she recounts the warmth and generosity of Stass as she employs various creative responses to a selection of his work. 



Join Naomi Frears in her artist-led workshop [video on the left] to create your own work of art. You can find more videos and the virtual exhibition here.


7. LISTEN: Letters to Artworks in House Share

House Share was curated by Firstsite's Young Art Kommunity (YAK) and explored the changing relationship to our homes during lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic. The YAK members, all aged 16-25 years old, used the exhibition to examine how their home took on a dual role as a creative and safe space, but also encompassed feelings of being confined. As part of the interpretation, YAK members of wrote letters to the Arts Council Collection works on view, creating an imagined conversation between themselves and the art.



Click the play icon to listen to Alicia's letter to Five Heads, 1981 by Jean-Luc Vilmouth. Discover all the young people’s letters here and choose your own artwork from the Arts Council Collection to write a letter to.


8. INTERACT: 360° Tour of Paint the Town in Sound

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: National Partners Programme

Paint the Town in Sound at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, curated in collaboration with the Sunderland band Field Music, explored the relationship between art and music. Though  it was never opened to the public because of lockdowns in the UK, you can still visit the exhibition virtually through a 360° walkthrough created by V21 Artspace.


Enter the exhibition here to discover the works that offer a fascinating insight into the musical heritage of the region and provide a route to examine our own cultural identity and its relationship to class, politics and place, such as Evan Ifekoya's The Gender Song, 2014.

9. LEARN: Seen Education Pack

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: National Partners Programme


Seen at The Exchange in Penzance is co-curated by young LGBTQIA+ people from Cornwall aged between 11 - 19 working in partnership with The Intercom Trust and SHARP, Programme Producer at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange.

This learning resource by DECODER is aimed at educators to support learning that is inclusive of LGBTQIA+ experience, individuals, and families via the Seen exhibition. 


Download a free copy here or view the publication online via ISSU to learn more about LGBTQIA+ history, artists, terminology and organisations.

10. WATCH: Meet the Curators of What Lies Behind

What Lies Behind at the Newlyn Art Gallery is an exhibition featuring works from the Arts Council Collection selected by a core group of 10 participants, referred to the project through social prescribing initiatives in local GP practices in Cornwall. In a series of online meetings, the group chose pieces that reflected their personal responses to the pandemic and their hopes and dreams for the future.



Click the triangle play button on the image to the left watch the video and learn more about social prescribing, the participants and their process curating the exhibition.

Seen is on view at The Exchange until 08 January 2022.

What Lies Behind is currently on display at Newlyn Art Gallery until 08 January 2022.


Learn more about the National Partners Programme and discover more projects here.


Related Exhibitions

House Share

Curated by Firstsite’s Young Art Kommunity (YAK) group, House Share responds to the group’s experiences during the three UK lockdowns.
Paint the Town in Sound

The exhibition explores the timeless relationship between art and music, taking Sunderland based band Field Music’s own collaborations as a starting point to explore wider trends.

Seen is co-curated by young LGBTQIA+ people from Cornwall and increases young LGBTQIA+ people’s engagement with contemporary art, allows them to create a platform that speaks to them, for new voices to be heard and for them to be seen.
Tell me the story of all of these things

Radical women of Colchester worked with Firstsite to present this exhibition which examined the role of emotion and soft power in our society and how this can be used positively to connect and empower us.
What Lies Behind

What Lies Behind is an exhibition featuring works from the Arts Council Collection selected by a core group of 10 participants, referred to the project through social prescribing initiatives in local GP practices.

Birmingham Billboard Project

22 August 2022

Arts Council Collection has partnered with JackArts and Birmingham Museums Trust to show the work of three Birmingham-based artists to create vibrant artwork for billboards across the city. The artists were chosen by Turner-prize winning artist, Lubaina Himid CBE, and their stunning artworks draw on themes from our latest touring exhibition, Found Cities, Lost Objects: Women in the City, also curated by Himid. The three artists are Haseebah Ali, Round Lemon x Helen Grundy and Leah Hickey. 

Found Cities, Lost Objects: Women in the City is an Arts Council Collection  national touring exhibition curated by Turner Prize-winning artist and cultural activist Lubaina Himid CBE. Drawn from the rich holdings of the Arts Council Collection this exhibition considers the privileges enjoyed and boundaries faced by women in the modern city. This extensive and diverse exhibition of over 60 works presents a wide array of modern and contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, photography and film. The exhibition is currently on show at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Gas Hall until 3 September 2022.

Billboards will be live from Monday 22 August until Saturday 3 September 2022 in the following locations in Birmingham:

122 Great Barr Street

58 Stratford Road

Barford Street

Bradford Street

Old Crown Pub

The Arches


The Arts Council Collection : Birmingham Billboard Project

Leah Hickey examines themes of love, loss, and dysphoria in her work. Hickey's My Heart (2022) utilises visual material from Brian de Palma's Carrie (1976) and speaks to the artists facination with typography. "My heart is an ode to dysphoria, typified as ‘severe unhappiness, especially a person’s feelings of being very uncomfortable in their body’, associated with navigating the city."

The Arts Council Collection : Birmingham Billboard Project

Haseebah Ali's The Pink Route (2022) is a four colour reduction lino print in the style of an Islamic repeat pattern. Ali hints at the restriction of women's movement in the city at night and the choice of longer, 'safer' routes home. The complexity of the design is inspired by Islamic architecture and echoes the complexity of winding routes. "The print directly links into the rise of gender violence and mortality rate of young women of colour."

The Arts Council Collection : Birmingham Billboard Project

Helen Grundy and Round Lemon reimagine 'The River' by Dhruva Mistry (more commonly known as 'The Floozie in the Jacuzzi' by Birminghum locals), an iconic sculptural landmark in Birmingham. Surrealism, satire, and feminism collide showcasing the freedom and visibility of women in Birmingham alongside the challenges they face in Grundy and Round Lemon's And They Were Behind Us (2022). "Women from the past, present and future roam around and behind ‘The River’ in a playful and vibrant Victoria Square, celebrating the cities empowering diversity."

Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

25 November 2022

Explore the Collection through the eyes of our team as we take your through our favourite artworks and explain why!

Check back regularly for more updates to this page.


The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Oscar Murillo, Catalyst #13, 2016. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

“Murillo describes the production of his work as being part of a ‘continuous process’. What evolves in this work is an intensity of mark making where the everyday and culture collides.”


The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Lynn Chadwick, The Seasons, 1956. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The Estate of Lynn Chadwick

“It suggests to me a tortured animal and a landscape of nuclear disaster ruined mountain and woodland. Created during the height of cold war, it has the unsettling atmosphere which bares all the hallmarks of what Herbert Read called ' the Geometry of Fear' Merry Christmas.”


The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Susan Collis, Untitled (rawl plugs), 2007. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

“I drilled some very tiny specific sized holes and concealed these works in the wall during the Breaking the Mould installation in Hull. They are incredibly intricate and delicate made from brown goldstone and onyx. I enjoyed the subtle intervention in the space, you wouldn’t notice them at first glance."


The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Joan Eardley, A Field of Oats, 1962. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The Eardley Estate

"Joan Eardley's  landscape paintings of the fishing village Catterline in Scotland evoke a sense of freedom. There are wonderful photos of her painting outdoors on large canvases battling all types of weather, observing the changing landscape."

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Michael Horsley, Untitled 77-78, 1977. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

“I saw this work in person for the first time when visiting the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University last week where it has been on long loan for the past few years. It is huge in size and its colourful, collage-like appearance worked so well in the space and really lit up the interior of the building.“

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Carol Rhodes, Industrial Landscape, 1997. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

"Carol Rhodes was a Scottish artist known for her paintings and drawings which depict the peripheries of urban and industrial sites. Rhodes used source material including geographical textbooks, maps and her own aerial photographs to create fictionalised landscapes that always position the viewer from above, looking down. I love the complexity and psychological intensity of Rhodde’s works; in Industrial Landscapes the edges of infrastructure and inhabited areas encroach on the landscape. As with all of her paintings, it feels both ambiguous and familiar at the same time”

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Rachel Jones, lick your teeth, they so clutch, 2021. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Thaddaeus Ropac, London

"When I first saw this stunning, large-scale pastel work it pulled me across the gallery. Her use of colour is masterful, it sparked a bit of joy and made my eyes brighter. The longer you look at the work the more you get from it and I could stare at it all day!"

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Emma Hart, Fork Face, 2017. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

"I love the playfulness of Emma's work, her use of materials, visual design and everyday objects. Reflecting on her own life experiences, emotions and using humour makes light of her struggles and observations. I also like that she works beyond the gallery context in the public realm."

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Keith Piper, (You are now entering) Mau Mau county, 1983. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

"Textural, colourful, and bold while conveying a message, Piper's artwork centres conversations around race, gender, history, and conflict. I love the way the use of textile adds a rough dimension to the piece and subject matter."

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Faisal Abdu'Allah, The Last Supper, 1995. Arts Council Collection, Souhbank Centre, London © Faisal Abdu' Allah & Clive Kofi Allen

"I have worked on his collection before and I always thought he created and captured incredible scenes. The images do not justify his photographs. I am not sure which edition the Arts Council has but I have worked on the first edition on unsized paper and they are out of this world beautiful."

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Lygia Clark, Animal 1, 1969. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

"I love this piece because it is both quiet and complex. It looks like it would be lovely to handle and view from many different angles"

The Arts Council Collection : Our Favourite Artworks this Holiday Season

Lindsey Mendick, Cigs, 2020. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. Installation view (detail) at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and Carl Freedman Gallery,

"I find this work really interesting due to its playful and endearing qualities while recounting a really difficult point in the artist’s life. After returning to her parent’s home, following a nervous breakdown at art school, Mendick was suffering from agoraphobia and insomnia, convinced she was hallucinating, seeing men dressed in black and carrying walkie talkies walking up and down her street. She later discovered that her neighbour, the Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, had been poisoned. This particular sculpture portrays the artist peering out of her window at the spies below."


The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.