Emmajane Kingaby

Emmajane Kingaby
Throughout this week, alumni form Gray’s School of Art are taking us back to their Gray’s Degree Show. Emmajane Kingaby turns back the clock to her 2022 exhibit.

Emmajane joined Gray’s in second year through the Degree Link pathway from her HNC studies in art and design at North East Scotland College. Due to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, her final year at Gray’s was the only full academic year spent on campus.

‘Welcome to the real world’ was the first post-pandemic degree show, marking not only the reopening of the school to the public but introducing a collection of work from, what Emmajane expresses as, “a new generation of creatives”.

“It felt surreal returning to the real world” she says.

“Our degree show was a way of inviting everyone back into Gray’s to explore the development of our creative practice in response to the limitations brought on by the pandemic throughout our education.

“I remember during the final part of preparation for our show, I was cleaning the mirrors within my space and it just hit me how much we had all come through together. At that point I cried.

“The pandemic wasn’t easy for anyone but together with my peers, from 2020, 2021 and 2022, we are part of a different generation of creatives that have emerged from Gray’s, this too involves our 2023 graduands and this is very exciting.”

Emmajane’s creative practice is influenced by themes of evolution, changing bodies, the senses and prosthetics which shaped her final collection of work. An education room was created as part of degree show activity, this was a collaboration between Gray’s and the ACES team.

She explained: “A number of different schools were invited into Gray’s to explore the work within the degree show. I had the opportunity to meet with pupils, talk about my practice and share the journey of the work on show.

“The standout moment for me here was being able to share my sketchbooks and some of the experiments behind my work. Those examples allowed me to communicate about what it is like to study in an art school and the opportunities to integrate with other disciplines such as science.

“I was able to share tactile examples with the aim to inspire young creatives considering further study in a creative field.”

The 2022 show saw the introduction of the Principal’s Design & Fine Art Awards of which Emmajane received the award in fine art. The awards were funded by RGU’s Arts & Heritage Collections and the physical awards were designed and created by 2015 winner of The Great Pottery Throwdown, and Gray’s lecturer, Matthew Wilcox.

Emmajane recieves award from Principal
Emmajane with art installation
Emmajane working on art installation
Art installation by Emmajane Kingaby

“It was an absolute honour to be awarded the first Principal’s Award for Fine Art and I remain immensely proud that my work is on show in RGU’s Art and Heritage Collections.

“Matthew took a mould of the steps of Gray’s School of Art to create the awards – an area that he felt is symbolic to the school. He noted that the steps are a touchpoint for all Gray’s students, past, present and future and connects us all and for that I am still very touched to hold this award.”

Soon after the excitement of degree show week, exhibit preparations started again as Emmajane’s work added to the Experimental Use of Space exhibition at Bon Accord Baths a few months later. This was around the same time she began working on campus as a member of staff.

She said: “I joined the RGU:Union team as an Activities Co-ordinator where I worked closely with our incredible student societies, student groups and networks. Alongside this role I was psyched to join the Look Again team to work as their Creative Development Co-ordinator focussing on the creation of a very exciting programme called ‘Engage’.

“Engage is a new creative development programme designed at Gray’s School of Art. As part of this, we bring everyone together through a range of different art and design disciplines involving Ceramics, Jewellery, Textiles, Printmaking, Photography, Drawing and Painting. Currently, this is in the form of our ‘Art Weekenders’ and evening workshops.

“We are excited to be currently curating our summer intensive activity which will involve four different Art Weekenders. The first focus involves ‘Exploring Printmaking’ which will take place on the 8th and 9th July.”

Find out more

Emmajane will be exhibiting again as part of the ‘Experimental Use of Space’ collective. This involves a one-day exhibition taking place on the Sunday 25 June from 10am -4pm and includes the work of over 40 artists, many of whom are Gray’s alumni.

The exhibition is open to the public and will take place at Ardo House Gardens in White Cairns, Aberdeenshire.

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