Aquatopia – Coming Soon



6 July - 7 October 2018

An exhibition about water and water scarcity

Featuring the work of six artists from China, Hong Kong and the UK, including: Kingsley Ng; Lucy+Jorge Orta; Joao Vasco Paiva; Chen Qiulin; Liu Shiyuan and Liu Yujia.

Preview: Thursday 5 July, 6pm - 8pm

Water is a natural element, an inorganic compound essential to life, a universal symbol of purity. It unceasingly changes shapes and transforms itself while it constitutes the major component of every living organism and eco-system. Through a mixture of participatory art works and new media works 'Aquatopia' creates a place for engaging and reflecting on water - what it means to our communities and our environments, and the impact of water scarcity and water pollution from different global perspectives.

Through present urgencies and future imaginaries six artists from China, Hong Kong and the UK explore ways contemporary art can provide an alternative platform for addressing pressing realities and imminent disasters. At the intersection between fantasy and critical observation, different artistic positions examine matters of scarcity, pollution, uncontrolled development and effects of climate change; ultimately imagination and reality are tightly intertwined with each other.

Horizon is a playful installation by artist Kingsley Ng, which invites visitors to share water and collectively create a symbolic horizon on a set of communicating bottles. Water Fountain by Lucy+Jorge Orta is a sculptural installation that evokes the cylce of gathering, purifying and distributing water, a visualisation of a low-cost solution to problems arising from water pollution. Elsewhere in Green Island, bags and water containers cast in cement lie amid a swathe of sand; in this installation Joao VAsco Paiva focuses on the impact that urban development has had on the natural environment and resources.

One of the leading figures in China's younger generation of artists Chen Qiulin exhibits Empty City, exploring the social impact of China's rapid urbanisation; in a series of photographs she documents the return to her home town Wanzhau, on the Yangtze River. The entire population of the town was relocated following the Three Gorges Damn Project, the resulting images are both personal and socially relevant.

Other new media works come from artists Liu Shiyuan and Liu Jujia. The Edge of Vision, or the Edge of the Earth bu Liu Shiyuan is a film of synthetic futuristic representations depicting a watery earth and an uncanny procession of people mourning for humanity's uncertain future. Liu Yujia's Wave poetically depicts the ebb and flow of tides, triggering a contemplative oceanic feeling but also warning for climate change oceanic anomolies, as it lets the sublime power of the water speak for itself.

The exhibition is curated by Marianna Tsionski (Research Curator, CFCCA & Universtiy of Salford). It is part of CFCCA's  'A Season for Change'.

A preview event is taking place on Thursday 5 July from 6pm to 8pm, this is the opportunity to meet with artists and curators and be among the first to see the exhibition before it opens to the wider public.

The exhibition will be made accessible to younger audiences of all ages with an activity trail available from reception. There will also be two family friendly tours taking place on Saturday 28 July and Saturday 25 August at 11.30am to 12.30pm, both tours are free but booking is advisable on our eventbrite page.

Aquatopia is sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, with additional support from HKBU Visual Art Academy and Eduord Malingue Gallery.

陈秋林 Chen Qiulin, 空的城 The Empty City No.1, 数码艺术微喷印刷 Photograph 2012


Thursday 28 June

6pm – 8pm

Tickets £4, include a glass of wine or tea on arrival

This Thursday Late event has been curated by award-winning artist Shen Xin, to coincide with her current exhibition 'Sliced Units' at CFCCA.

The three films by Shen Xin featured in 'Sliced Units' use fictions to create new spaces for exploring emotive political issues. This event continues this theme with two films selected by Shen that use mythical narratives to address complex politics.
The films being screened are:
'Nightfall' by Anocha Suwichakornpong and Tulapop Saenjaroen
'And you will eat and be sated' by Sarai Kirchner
The screening will be followed by a Q and A with Shen Xin and Sarai Kirchner who will be discussing their practice in more detail.
There will also be the chance to see the open studio of our current artist in residence Keke Zhu.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite here
Or you can purchase your ticket at our shop.



Jeffrey Cheung Project

The Jeffrey Cheung Project

Jeffrey Cheung is an American based artist, illustrator and LGBT+ activist who set up Unity – an umbrella term for a multi-disciplinary collective involving skateboarding, publishing and workshops.

In the run up to Manchester Pride in August CFCCA with the Proud Trust are hosting a series of 3 free workshops inspired by his work. These workshops are aimed at 16 - 25 year olds, and will be run on a drop in basis.

The three workshops are:

Sunday 20 May, 1-3pm - Zine Making at the Proud Trust, Sidney Street ***THIS EVENT IS NOW PAST***

Sunday 15 July, 1-3pm - Skateboard Design at the Proud Trust, Sidney Street, followed by a skateboarding session* (*weather permitting!)

To find out more about Jeffrey Cheung and his work please see his website:

A selection of the work created in these workshops will be exhibited alongside documents and prints from Jeffrey Cheung at CFCCA to coincide with Manchester Pride in August. More details to follow!

This project is supported by a grant from Superbia. Superbia Grants provide financial support for LGBT+ events as part of Manchester Pride’s commitment to the quality and diversity of cultural events taking place throughout the year in Greater Manchester.

Artist Residency: Keke Zhu

Keke Zhu

In Residence: 5 May to 1 July 2018

Open Studio: Thursday 28 June, 5.30pm - 8pm

Our current artist in residence has joined us from Birmingham City University for two months, where she is studying for her Masters in Contemporary Arts.

Keke's practice is mostly in oil painting, but she also experiments with different materials and found objects playing with different surfaces and textures.

Recently she has focused on capturing and exploring visually issues of mental health, and her artwork leans towards encouraging audiences to think in new ways about depression. This is a reflection of her personal life and people she has know with depression.

During her time with us Keke will be exploring her practice more and draw influence from her time in Manchester and at CFCCA, which will incorporate working alongside the artwork of Faye Wei Wei and Shen Xin. Her residency will culminate in an open studio event in which the public are invited to see what she has been working on. This takes place on Thursday 28 June from 5.30pm - 8pm.

Sliced Units, Shen Xin

Gallery 1

11 May - 1 July 2018

FREE Entry

Preview: Thursday 10 May, 6pm - 8pm

CFCCA presents ‘Sliced Units’ – three films by award winning artist Shen Xin

Includes the international debut of new commission Warm Spell

Shen Xin’s practice engages with moving image and performative events, examining the techniques and effects of emotion, judgement and ethics as they circulate through individuals and collective subjects.

This exhibition, opening on Friday 11 May, will show three short films that use different techniques to create fictionalised spaces where discussion on complex political issues plays out.

The ‘Sliced Units’ of the exhibition title refers to the different positions represented in each film, from layering and interweaving different images and film styles to scripted performance.

In Shen Xin’s new short film Warm Spell, presented for the first time in this exhibition, a haunting and ghostly presence is introduced alongside images from Ko Yao Yai, Thailand. The film uses slicing techniques to create a narrative about Climate Change and the disparity between high emission countries that are most immune to its effects, and countries (such as Thailand) that rely heavily on natural resources yet are facing more imminent threats.

Warm Spell is a new co-commission by Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and the University of Salford Art Collection. The work will enter both institutions' holdings through a joint acquisition. It is also supported by The Elephant Trust London, and completed during Shen Xin’s residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

The performative film Provocation of the Nightingale Channel 1 (2017) shows a meditative, intimate conversation performed by two women sitting together on the floor of a dark theatre space. One woman is the manager of a commercial DNA testing service; the other a Buddhist teacher of meditation. As they search for a common ground in their differing perspectives, the conversation becomes physical and loving.

Snow Country (2013) engages with the trauma of women being violated during the Second World War, particularly in Asia. ‘Comfort women’ was a term given to women systemically sexually exploited by the Japanese military. Soft, pilowy snow falls over serene and idyllic scenes shot in Norway and Sweden, as we hear harrowing accounts of women who were victims of the tumultuous times of conflict. The film resonates with Yasunari Kawabata’s novel of the same title.

This exhibition in Gallery 1 runs alongside a solo show featuring new paintings by artist Faye Wei Wei as part of CFCCA’s ‘Concepts of Gender’ season. Both exhibitions are curated by Tiffany Leung and there will be a launch event for both on Thursday 10 May, 6pm to 8pm.

Please note - each film is screened in turn, so please allow approx 1 hour 30 minutes to enjoy all three films during your visit.

Faye Wei Wei

Faye Wei Wei

11 May - 8 July 2018

Gallery 2

FREE Entry

Continuing our Concepts of Gender season, we're delighted to be showing a collection of new works by celebrated artist Faye Wei Wei.

Recently graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in 2016, 23 year old Faye Wei Wei is a young painter whose passion and energy has earned her considerable attention in the public eye. Faye's large-scale figurative artworks draw you into an imaginative, painterly world that brings together symbolism, mystery and mythology. Wei Wei sees her mark-making as the record of vast sequences of gesture and movement. Her painting has a sense of enjoyment, revelling in the beauty of the unassuming and unexpected.

This brand new collection of art work, marks a development in Wei Wei's artistic practice, with experiments in unorthodox colour palettes which complement her characteristically bold and swooping brush strokes. The imagery continues to be about texture, physicality and the pleasure of representation as the actual subject-matter in itself.

In its interplay of detail and spaciousness, Wei Wei's work is acutely aware of the way more than one space can exist at the same time. Along with figures who rest on the plane nearest to the viewer, her compositions are populated by an array of unexpected objects often inspired by real-life discoveries by the artist. Sea urchins, luxurious and repellent, fuse abrasiveness with a suggestion of tender sensuality. A dog-shaped puppet, found in Manhattan's Chinatown, is draped around the shoulders of a figure. A merman derived from an old box of matches fills in for the 'Fisher King', alluding to the fertility myth cited by T.S. Eliot in his notes to The Waste Land.

This exhibition in Gallery 2, runs alongside a solo show of video works by artist Shen Xin including a new commission. Both shows are curated by Tiffany Leung.