Artist Open Call for Mela Monument

Published on: 1 November 2023

John Hansard Gallery, part of University of Southampton, in partnership with Art Asia, has launched an artist open call seeking expressions of interest from early-career artists to collaborate with artist Permindar Kaur on a new co-creative public art project for the Southampton Mela in July 2024.

Mela Monument is part of Co-Creating Public Space, a programme led by John Hansard Gallery which aims to give local communities agency to engage with and activate our shared public spaces. Mela Monument project celebrates South Asian arts, culture and community contribution, as well as promoting multicultural heritage and identity.

In the UK, Mela is one of the most popular forms of festival, celebrating and representing the evolving and rightful existence of the diverse British cultures and communities. The word ‘mela’ is based on the Sanskrit word meaning ‘a community gathering or meeting’. Mela festivals in the UK, in their many forms, have remained true to this broad sense of families, people and communities congregating together in an atmosphere of festivity.


Shortlisted artists will be invited to a meeting on Monday 27 November from 9am–5pm to find out more about the project and meet the team.

Shortlisted artists will be invited go to a second stage interview on Friday 8 December.

Two selected artists will be commissioned to collaborate on Mela Monument. The commissioned artworks will respond to the themes of Mela and the aims of Co-Creating Public Space. Both artists will be offered mentoring sessions by Permindar Kaur.

Each shortlisted artist will receive £360 (inclusive of attending the meeting on Monday 27 November), enabling them to spend time on developing their idea and approach to the key themes.

Two selected artists will receive an additional £2,220 each to undertake the co-creative commission and process. Mela Monument production costs will be covered separately.

More information
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Deadline for Expressions of Interest: Thursday 16 November 2023 at 9am.

To respond to this artist open call APPLY HERE