UWE Bristol alum, Valda Jackson, has received an MBE for Services to Art in the New Years Honours List.
Valda is a multidisciplinary artist and published writer, exploring the psychology of migration, identity, and loss. Graduating from UWE Bristol in 1989 with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art, she has since shown in the National Portrait Gallery and Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol and has won multiple awards, including the PSSA Marsh Award for Excellence in public sculpture in 2017 for her collaborative public art piece Jackson and Harris.
Last year, Valda designed a new commemorative 50p coin to mark 75 years since HMT Empire Windrush arrived in the UK. Depicting two people of the Windrush generation against the backdrop of a Union Jack, the coin pays tribute to the many British Caribbean and Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK between 1948 and 1973.
Reflecting on the design, Valda said:
“My design is more than a celebration of one moment. It is an acknowledgment of the real, lived experience of generations of ordinary working people. And though we may have struggled, and we still struggle in many ways, we and our descendants are, in fact, at home.
“The coin honours our parents and their legacy; and celebrates our presence, achievements, and contributions that continue to enrich our society.”
Valda still maintains her connection to UWE Bristol, hosting talks for students in her Spike Island studio, where she is a resident artist, and mentoring individual students. Valda is currently working towards her upcoming solo show at RWA Bristol, which will focus on the interest of the child in migration. The exhibition opens 25 May – 11 August 2024.