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Kedisha Coakley

‘YSP is a favourite place of mine for reflection. It inspired and rekindled deep in me the desires I had as a child to develop a career in art. This motivated me to attend university as a mature student and a single mother of two children.’

Kedisha Coakley

Kedisha Coakley is the recipient of the Yorkshire Graduate Award 2020. Coakley recently completed her BA in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University and is an artist who reconsiders objects in relation to race and culture.

During her time at YSP in autumn 2020, Coakley plans to create new bronze sculptures in relation to the historic site and the work of Henry Moore. She aims to extend her practice to encourage reconsideration of the social and historical narratives bound up with objects of different cultures.
Coakley says: "I want to challenge colonial construct, which is an ever-present issue in our society, particularly in places that function to encourage freedom of thought. I want to decolonise these spaces.
"Being exposed to an understanding of the art world through my degree has been life-changing, but also disheartening to find that few black ethnic minority people see art as an optional journey for them. I'm still learning how to not condition my blackness and I feel that having ‘safe spaces’ enables that to happen in the public domain as the everyday.
"YSP allows for certain freedoms of interpretation. The outdoor space in particular allows artworks to be viewed in a non-prejudicial environment and enables the artwork to respond to its environment without interference. I think for me that is probably about acceptance, the acceptance of difference."
The Yorkshire Graduate Award is presented each year to a student graduating from a Yorkshire institution. It is designed to give vital support at the critical stage of transition from student to artist and includes residency at the Park, access to making facilities, and curatorial and technical support. It is part of YSP’s founding commitment to investing in artists at every stage of their career.