Morley Fellowship Awarded to Denzil Forrester
The second Morley Fellowship has been awarded to artist Denzil Forrester in recognition of his over 30 years' service as a painting and drawing tutor at Morley College London.
The Fellowship was awarded at a special event held in Morley's Emma Cons Hall, where Denzil was presented with a plaque by Principal Dr Andrew Gower and Chair of Governors Dr Stuart Edwards. Also in attendance was Ela Piotrowska, who was Principal of Morley during Denzil's time as a tutor with us, and Professor Julian Henriques from the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. A film maker, Julian joined us to present Denzil's Dance, his short film about Denzil's practice and inspiration during a visit to the dance halls of Jamaica, as part of the Fellowship event.
"In terms of the cultural life of the College, painting and drawing is in the DNA of the institution, as Emma Cons, the founding force of the college, was a trained artist herself," said Dr Gower in his welcome address. "So throughout the history of Morley, painting and drawing have been a very large part of what we do. So one of the great delights of this evening is to recognise a very long-established and influential colleague, in the form of Denzil Forrester. He has given to our students through his skill, his expertise, his generosity, and his interest in learning. So we're really pleased to have this opportunity to recognise Denzil's contribution."
Speaking to Morley staff and his former students at the event, Denzil said, "It's great being back, and I'd like to just say thank you to everyone who works at Morley - cleaners, management, Head of Morley, all the tutors, and of course you - all the students, which is most of you here. The main person I would like to thank is John Flemons, who saw my Royal College MA show over 40 years ago in 1983. And he really liked my work, so that's why he gave me the job. So thank you to John Flemons, thank you to Morley, and thank you to London for providing me my backdrop for my paintings."
The inaugural Morley Fellowship was awarded in July 2019 to Linda Gainsbury in recognition of her eight years' service on our board of governors. Speaking about the Morley Fellowships, Dr Edwards said, "We've introduced Morley Fellowships to recognise outstanding contributions to the College community, whether they're made by students, staff, or governors. In making these awards, we look at a person's contribution to the Morley mission of empowering individuals and strengthening communities through adult education in arts, culture and applied sciences. Denzil was a highly respected tutor at the College for over 30 years before retiring in 2016. I'm very pleased to have this opportunity to recognise the contribution that Denzil has made to Morley College and to confer on him one of our first Morley Fellowships."
Denzil's new touring exhibition, "Itchin and' Scratchin", begins on 8 February 2020 at Nottingham Contemporary Gallery, before moving on to Spike Island Gallery in Bristol. His original work, "Boys in the Hood", is part of the Morley Art Collection and is on display in the College.