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Fertile Grounds: Nikita Gill

Fertile Grounds

Tina Ramos Ekongo
Garth Gratrix
Tulani Hlalo
Isaiah Hull
Nadia Sultana

Curated by Nikita Gill 

​05.06.2022 - 31.07.2022

Open Thursdays to Sundays 12pm - 6pm

REIGN: Opening Street Party

Artist and Curator bios

We are proud to present Fertile Grounds, an exhibition curated by Nikita Gill.


Fertile Grounds explores the notion of the ‘Carnivalesque’ in the everyday (Mikhail Bakhtin, 1984)


*Familiar and free interaction between people


*Carnivalistic mésalliances



The exhibition is inspired by resistance and celebration using the lineage of Caribbean Carnival practices of looking to folklore, the ocean, and to nature. Our exhibition vision is awoken by the story of the well loved, stilt walking carnival character Moko Jumbi. A divine being, healer and protector of people.

Moko arrived…walking all the way across the Atlantic Ocean from the West coast of Africa, laden with many, many centuries of experience, and, in spite of all inhuman attacks and encounters…yet still walks tall, tall, tall. 

John Cupid (We Have Been Called Carnival People, 1998)

This exhibition is a love letter to the descendants of the windrush and also the legacies of the emancipated. More than this, Fertile Grounds is presented with care in honour of people for whom Carnivalesque is or may be seen as a way of living a good life. 


Collectively, our bodies retain an archive, safeguarding oral and material heirlooms to be inherited by future generations.

Artists bios:

Tina Ramos Ekongo is an Equatorial Guinean painter and illustrator who lives and works in Manchester, England. Ekongo's work is mainly tribal and vibrant, exploring her African heritage. The main character of her work is the African women from the continent and the diaspora, in this way Ekongo’s work attempts to give back their lost identity.

Garth Gratrix work deals with queerness and, or queering; how working with materials, language and space can remain ‘slippery’, experimental, and curious. Their Queer, minimal practice explores formal relationships within given or used spaces; the tensions between hard to soft, camp to controlled, formal to frolic play out in the choice and arrangement of materials, interrogating how ‘queer’ is embedded within construction materials such as wood, concrete, metal, and paint. Gratrix lives and works in Blackpool (UK) and inevitably the specifics of site inform the formal and aesthetic decisions which run through their work.

Tulani Hlalo is an artist who uses humorous performative videos and sculptural works as a method of reconnecting with the Zimbabwean heritage she once neglected in her childhood. Although the subjects she touches upon in her work are personal, she sees such themes as universal in the context of growing up and existing as mixed race in the uk. Tulani is a 2017 graduate of Manchester School of Art and is currently based in Scotland.

Isaiah Hull is an Afro-Caribbean British noir writer from Old Trafford, exploring and challenging the extremities of self with image, word and soul whether on page or stage. He is an artist who has been acknowledged as a TEDx Rising Star. Hull has produced work with the Moss-Side based collective Young Identity. The poet has also supported Kate Tempest, Lemn Sissay and Skepta and commissioned works include ‘192’ for Manchester Literature Festival and ‘Altered Nature’ Ripples of Hope Festival at HOME in Manchester.


Nadia Sultana is a Lancashire born artist inspired by her south asian heritage and specialises in traditional Henna practices. She received her training with Ash Kumar Henna, Hair & Makeup Artistry. Nadia regularly leads family friendly workshops, introducing Henna as an art form to a wider community. The artist takes inspiration from the beauty of nature to create Henna with floral delicacy, these patterns are a visual meditation on loss, grief and healing in tribute to her Mother.

Curator bio:

Nikita Gill is an Afro-Caribbean artist and curator in training with the International Institute of Visual Arts (INIVA) and Manchester Art Gallery. She received her MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester in 2019. Her previous work includes support of the exhibition and development of Excavating the Reno (2017 – 2018), Portraits of Recovery with David Hoyle and Mark Prest (2017), Bodies of Colour (2018) and Joy Forever (2019) at the Whitworth Art Gallery. She has developed and supported performances for Block Universe (2020) Jade Montserrat (2021) and Glasgow International (2021). Nikita is interested in decolonial practices within performance and new media, centred on care within the context of art gallery collections. Currently Nikita is working on Future Collect, supporting Jade Montserrat’s commission by INIVA. Nikita is a recipient of the 2021 UK New Artists Future Producers Grant and is joint creative producer for PROFORMA Desire Lines project (2021 - 22). Nikita is a member of the Black Curators Collective.

Supported by A Modest Show​, Manchester City Council and Great Places

Main Image credit:

Queen o' di' Dazzle 2021-2022

Photography: Nikita Gill

Model: Rachel Daniel

Costume Construction: @k_created

Carnival Queen of @wer1mas family 

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