2023 Exhibitions

Round up

In 2023 ONCA hosted 12 exhibitions engaging with over 40 artists to produce artwork and public events supporting people to engage with climate, culture and social change.

Every exhibition generates moments for collaboration and learning, both of which are central to ONCA’s mission to use creativity to address environmental and social justice issues. We’re grateful to everyone we’ve worked with throughout 2023 and invite you to have a closer look at each exhibition below.

We The Human: A Quiet Blue Wall 

20 February 2023 – 20 March 2023

Grid of four square painted self portraits in Prussian blue and white oil paint.

Credit: Laura Mohapi

We The Human: A Quiet Blue Wall was a collaborative artwork aiming to lower the number of suicides by inviting people to participate in creating portraits for a public exhibition. Designed and developed by Laura Mohapi, a neurodiverse artist who highlighted the increased risk of suicidal ideation and attempted suicide among people living with neurodiversity throughout the exhibition. Find out more the exhibition here.

Vilma Vargas: Remembering Eduardo Mendúa

24 March – 6 April 2023

A cartoon digital drawing of Eduardo Mendúa a forest defender from Ecuador who was murdered in 2023.

Credit: Vilma Vargas

Remembering Eduardo Mendúa showcased an artwork by cartoonist Vilma Vargas displayed in ONCA’s window gallery. The exhibition honoured Ecuadorian forest defender, Eduardo Mendúa, who was murdered outside his home on 26 February, 2023 for his vocal and courageous resistance to oil extractivism. Read more about the exhibition here.

Earth Day: Traces Of The Future

8 April 2023 – 26 April 2023

An image of food and herbs growing in different discarded items including a kettle, old glasses, tins and tetra packs. wires weave between them and the items stand on top of bricks in between spider plants and old cardboard boxes.

Earth Day: Traces Of The Future was an exhibition by Maddy Kelly and Ishtar Parish Wain supported by Culture Declares Emergency. The installation was part of a larger programme of events that invited the public to reflect and imagine: how we will be living 50 years from now? Find out more about the exhibition here.

Daniel J.G. Solo Exhibition

6 May 2023 – 28 May 2023

Photograph shows the back of Daniel J.G. hanging paintings on a white wall with the support of freelance artist support Lydia Heath.

For Artists Open Houses, ONCA’s studio artist, Daniel J.G. held a solo exhibition displaying a collection of work inspired by the beauty of nature and the positive impact being in nature can have on mental health. Daniel is a Brighton-based Deaf artist, who grew up in Cornwall, he has spent countless hours outside studying the colours, shapes, textures, lighting and forms of the landscape. Read more about Daniel J.G. and his exhibition here.

Rudy Loewe: The Depths Of Our History

14 June 2023 – 3 July 2023

A photograph of Rudy Loewe's work in ONCA Gallery window. Two large scale textiles with paintings displaying

The Depths Of Our History was an exhibition of two works by Rudy Loewe, an artist visualising black histories and social politics through painting, drawing and text. Loewe works closely with archives and as part of their PhD at University of the Arts London began producing research that critiques Britain’s role in suppressing Black Power organising in the English-speaking Caribbean during the 1960s and 70s. Loewe is creating paintings and drawings that unravel this history including recently declassified Foreign & Commonwealth Office records.

Find out more about Rudy Loewe’s work by listening to them in conversation.

Threads Of Survival

5 July 2023 – 10 July 2023

A photograph of colourful quilt blocks supporting the NHS.

Threads of Survival is part of a long continuum of textile protest or radical stitching. The collaboratively-made quilt, stitched to mark 75 years since the foundation of the National Health Service, was displayed in ONCA’s window gallery to celebrate and renew a commitment to fight to save the NHS. Read more about the exhibition here.

Sharon Kilgannon: Pride

12 July 2023 – 7 August 2023

Two people stand in the street amidst the Trans Pride march kissing each other whilst wearing T-shirts that say 'Pride is a Protest'.

Credit: alonglines

For Trans Pride Brighton and Brighton Pride 2023, ONCA was delighted to show works by Brighton-based photographic artist Sharon Kilgannon, aka Alonglines. Sharon has been documenting Brighton’s LGBTQIA+ community for over a decade, generating a rich archive through photography at queer events and portraits generated through empowering collaborations with the sitters. Read more about the exhibition here

Cheryl Beer: Cân y Coed

9 August 2023 – 4 September 2023

A photograph of Cheryl Beer using sound equipment whilst crouched next to an exposed root system of a living tree in an ancient forest.

Cân y Coed: Rainforest Symphony was an exhibition and artist residency with Cheryl Beer, a sound artist based in Wales who composes music in collaboration with the biorhythms of nature in crisis. She does this by repurposing hearing aid and biomedical technology and notating conductivity, literally from within the natural world. Cân y Coed: Rainforest Symphony reunites 5 fragile pockets of Celtic rainforest across Wales. Find out more here

Lila Wordsworth: The Untangling

6 September 2023 – 1 October 2023

Lila Wordsworth exhibited a textile piece called ‘The Untangling’ as a celebration of the profound impact the trawling ban is having on the Sussex seabed ecosystem. The artwork speaks to a tale of hope where the once shimmering kelp forests, formed of giant seaweed plants reaching up to 3m high, are starting to return to the area. Read more here.

Claudette Atkinson: Brighton Is Burning

3 October 2023 – 13 November 2023

A painting by Claudette Atkinson of a QTIPoC dancing Vogue.

Credit: Claudette Atkinson

For Black History Month, Claudette Atkinson exhibited paintings celebrating the dance form Voguing, which emerged in the late 1980s out of the Harlem ballroom scene. Claudette is an artist and teacher from London, now living in Brighton, where she discovered a QTIPoC* Vogue group run by social support network Radical Rhizomes. She began creating paintings of people she danced with at sessions whilst honouring the five elements of Voguing: Catwalk, Spins and Dips, Hands/Arms, Duckwalks, and Floor Performance.  Read more about the exhibition here.

Can We Live?

15 November 2023 – 10 December 2023

For Lost Species Day 2023, ONCA dedicated our exhibition space to calling for a permanent ceasefire in Palestine with Can We Live? Exploring the olive tree by displaying the first verse of ‘Victim #18’, a poem by Mahmoud Darwish. We sought to highlight the connection of families and livelihoods to the earth – olive trees are at the centre of webs of interdependence, and the violence against them prefigures, enables and echoes the killing of Palestinian people. The systematic destruction of Palestinian olive groves to attack Palestinian food sovereignty and economic autonomy is an example of the kind of colonial violence that Lost Species Day exists to highlight and protest. Read more about the exhibition here


15 December 2023 – 20 December 2023

HEAL was a members exhibition displaying a wide array of works that inspire or are inspired by thoughts and actions of social, environmental and physical healing, reparation and restoration. Find out more about the artists and exhibition here.

If you’d like to find out about ways to get involved with ONCA’s artistic programme then check out the Open Calls.


Image credit: Dry Tears a painting by Daniel J.G.