Artist Opportunity: “I Matter”

An upcoming exhibition at the Babylon Gallery 

To matter: to be important or significant

Black Curator and Artist, Olu Taiwo, is seeking innovative creative responses to the theme of ‘I Matter’, specifically targeting artists and groups from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and communities residing in the UK. 

Olu Taiwo is currently taking part in the Babylon Young Curators Programme; a year-long professional development opportunity for young people aged 18 – 25.  As a Babylon Young Curator, Olu is presenting an exhibition called ‘I Matter’ at Babylon Gallery in Ely, from 9 April – 3 May 2021.  Work is sought from approximately 10 – 15 artists that best portray the theme. 

Responses to the theme should interrogate the powerful declaration, ‘I Matter’, and its recent complex iterations.  The Curator is interested in work in any medium, including 2D, sculpture, installation, moving image, digital, spoken word, performance, interventions and interactive or participatory works and from either emerging artists or artists with established careers who wish to stretch their practice in response to the notion of ‘I Matter’.  The submission may be new or existing artwork that has a close affinity with the ‘I Matter’ theme. 

Works should excite, inspire and entertain a diverse audience of all ages.  In particular, the Curator is concerned to showcase work that connects to the importance of diversity as it relates to local traditions, customs, crafts or stories and portrays the skills and creativity of artists and creative practitioners.


A message from the Curator:

“I would like to see work that has a story to tell through its presentation or by the process in which it was created, and that ponders on why the work matters to the artist and why it should matter to the audience. 

I am keen to expand our own perspectives on art, using it to shed light on the broader range of narratives and forms of making. Art is a powerful tool that can be utilised to portray the issues that plague people across all races, backgrounds, religions, orientations and genders. I am looking for work that engages with audiences through creating accessible art experiences for a wide audience.”

Olu Taiwo, October 2020



Audience engagement

Connected to the exhibition there will be audience engagement activities for a range of ages, drawing on key elements and themes depicted in the selected works.  This programme will respect the Covid-19 guidelines at the time, offering such activities via interactive online sessions if deemed necessary. 

Upon selection, Olu will follow up with artists on an individual basis to see if they wish to contribute.  There are additional funds available for audience engagement activities.


How to apply

Each artist selected for the exhibition at the Babylon Gallery will receive an Exhibition Award or honorarium of £100.  There is no fee to submit a response to the open call.  The opportunity is open to students, emerging artists and established artists aged 18+.

To make a submission artists are required to:

  • Share details of the work they would like to be considered.
  • Include photos, film, audio or written documents that illustrate the piece of work (up to 5 documents).
  • Provide a 200 – 300 word statement in response to the ‘I Matter’ theme.


Submissions are now open.  We can only accept online applications via the Zealous platform.  Please click here to apply.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday 31 January 2021, 5pm.

Download the Open Call here

Audio version of the Open Call

Large print version of the Open Call

(Please note that due to the unprecedented time, in relation to Covid-19 pandemic, the date and duration of this exhibition is subject to government and local authority guidance and our own risk mitigation policies. Every effort will be made to deliver this exhibition safely and enjoyably for all artists, visitors, volunteers and staff; however, we reserve the right to make changes, cancel or postpone this exhibition without notice.  Submitting artists and creative practitioners will be notified of any changes as soon as possible.)


This project is a partnership with:





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