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Exciting new exhibition shows China how art makes England - and England makes art
John’s relationship with China began in 2003, when he was invited to contribute to the creation of a lasting landmark as part of the Beijing Cultural Olympiad.

SUZHOU.- One of China’s oldest cities is hosting an exhibition of exciting new works by internationally renowned sculptor John Atkin and a group of emerging young British artists- Made in England.

On 19 December more than 46 artworks by young British artists - including paintings, sculptures, installations and videos – went on display at China’s renowned Culture and Arts Centre in Suzhou.

This group of artists are all recent graduates from Loughborough University’s School of the Arts, where they studied under celebrated sculptor John Atkin, who is also Reader in Fine Art at the university.

John Atkin first came to the art world’s attention when he was funded by the late, great British sculptor Henry Moore for his three years of Postgraduate study at London’s Royal College of Art. From there, John established an artistic practice, firmly rooted in drawing, which has flourished over the past three decades to become a much-celebrated and sought-after sculptor.

John’s relationship with China began in 2003, when he was invited to contribute to the creation of a lasting landmark as part of the Beijing Cultural Olympiad. His 27-ton sculpture, Strange Meeting, remains in situ in the Olympic Park today. As a consequence of his relationship with fellow artists and the Chinese authorities, in 2012 Atkin was made an Honorary Fellow of the Beijing Academy of Arts by Professor Wu Wei Shan. Since then, the pair have become firm friends and Wei Shan subsequently invited Atkin to become an international panel member for next summer’s Nanjing Youth Olympics, where yet another of his works - The Archer - has been selected for the accompanying exhibition.

John explains how MADE IN ENGLAND came about - “Following on from numerous arts projects I have participated in throughout China, I was invited to exhibit new artworks at the prestigious Jinji Lake Museum in Suzhou. The space is huge, so I decided to invite some of my recent and most inspiring graduates in the exhibition. The organisers loved this idea and we came up with a concept for the exhibition, MADE IN ENGLAND.”

John says “MADE IN ENGLAND will demonstrate the myriad ways that contemporary fine art in the UK can be realized: through painting, sculpture, installation, drawing and film - all of which have been central to my own artistic development. It will explore the ways in which a teacher might influence his students and how threads of his own practice might be found within his student’s output. It is also going to be fascinating to see art that is born out of one culture, tested it within a completely different environment.”

MADE IN ENGLAND is being co-hosted by Qu Art and the Jinji Lake Art Museum. Jinji Lake Art Museum, situated in the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre, is dedicated to international art exchanges and is the biggest art space in the ancient city. Qu Art is a Brussels based promoting contemporary and modern sculpture.

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