New exhibitions in QUAD, Derby from 23rd September 2023

Featuring artists Seema Mattu & Lingfei Ren




Featuring artists Seema Mattu & Lingfei Ren

29 August 2023

Two exhibitions launch in QUAD in September as part of QUAD’s Autumn season.

New commissioned work for QUAD by Seema Mattu explores systems of caste, gender identity and how it is classified through digital technologies. Lingfei Ren responds the definition of ‘home’ and how people’s psychological conditions are affected by identity, family, social construction, and urban life. The exhibitions are made possible with funding by Arts Council England and Derby City Council.

The Scrawny Beauties of Ethni City is Seema Mattu’s first solo exhibition, and a deep dive into SEEMAWORLD, an immersive, multi-channel realm and streaming facility with a specific interest in fantasy storytelling, SEEMAWORLD is framed within a theme park which explores systems of caste, queer sorcery, fan art and how gender is classified through digital technologies. Through mixed-media animation, environment-building, audience interactivity, audio installations and visual spectacle, The Scrawny Beauties of Ethni City develops SEEMAWORLD’s unfolding narrative around caste, called ‘Engodamy’. ‘Engodamy’ is a play on the term ‘endogamy’, which refers to the custom of marrying within one’s own group. ‘Engodamy’ is set in the world-built world, called ‘Youterus’ in the mind and soul of its oldest origin: ‘Ethni City’. New works for the exhibition featuring a carousel and nightclub scenes are commissioned by QUAD; with the work ’podCASTE’ commissioned by Wysing Arts Centre.

Lingfei Ren: From That Day On is a long-term project presenting her multi-threaded memories and experiences that are interweaved through her work. The images metaphorically and candidly reflect Ren’s responses to family, love, changes in the social environment and world events. Ren’s work also discusses the definition of ‘home’ and people’s psychological conditions affected by identity, social construction, and urban life. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, most people’s lives have gone through a drastic change and attitudes towards life and perceptions of the world have completely shifted. Lingfei Ren explores how the consequent adoption of new habits in the way we communicate has become an accustomed way of life; also reflecting her own emotional projection of life during the pandemic: of loneliness, depression, disappointment, anxiety, and loss.  

The Scrawny Beauties of Ethni City by Seema Mattu will be on display in QUAD Gallery from Saturday 23rd September to Sunday 26th November. Gallery opening times are Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm to 6pm. Entrance is free.  

From That Day On by Lingfei Ren will be on display in QUAD Extra Gallery Spaces from Saturday 23rd September to Sunday 7th January and can be viewed daily from 10am to 9pm. Entrance is free.

A launch event for both exhibitions takes place on Friday 22nd September from 6:30pm; entrance is free but booking is required and free refreshments will be provided on the night.



 QUAD is Derby’s centre for art and film, a mixed arts venue based on the Market Place. QUAD is the city’s cultural hub with a three-screen cinema, an art gallery showing the best in contemporary visual arts, digital workshop spaces plus an award-winning Café bar. QUAD has been at the heart of Derby’s cultural scene since it opened in September in 2008 and is internationally recognised for providing quality and excellence in the Arts. QUAD delivers an exciting, innovative and diverse programme which is popular with visitors of all ages, with a reputation in Photography, digital innovation & family friendly events. The venue organises FORMAT International Photography Festival and Derby Film Festival. QUAD is a partnership between Derby City Council and Arts Council England. QUAD is open daily from 10am, for more information please visit:  For further information please contact QUAD’s Marketing & Audience Development Manager, Kathy Wilson on 01332 285422 /

Seema Mattu Artist Biography

Seema Mattu is a Valmiki world-building trickster, whose practice is framed as a theme park – known as SEEMAWORLD. Recent projects include work with: Berwick Film and Media Festival; IKON gallery; Eastside Projects; New Art City; Blindspot Gallery and QUAD. In April 2022, she completed both Film London’s FLAMIN Fellowship and a year-long residency with Wysing Arts Centre in March 2023. In December 2021, Seema became QUAD International Digital Fellow, leading to her first major solo show in Autumn 2023.

Lingfei Ren Artist Biography

Lingfei Ren is a visual artist and a curator based in New York City, US. She received her MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts New York City, an MA in Arts Management at George Mason University, and her BA in Fine Arts at Southeast University, Nanjing. Ren’s art practice discusses the definition of “home” and people’s psychological conditions affected by identity, family, social construction, and urban life. Her work has been exhibited internationally, recent awards include Annual Photography Rankings of China, FORMAT/Lishui Photography Awards, and the Winner of the Professionals’ Choice, Danny Wilson Awards at Photo Fringe Brighton. Her recent curatorial projects include Jessica Wee: The Shape of Self, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York City, Kanak Guo: Strange Him, space240 NYC, and magazine-based projects at Musée Magazine. She works at Fotografiska New York, is Senior Photo Editor at Musée Magazine, and a contributing editor for Chinese Photographers Magazine. She has written a number of exhibition reviews and had interviews and conversations with artists and curators like Jeff Wall, Barbara Kruger, Alec Soth, Alex Prager, James Welling, Nat Trotman, Liu Heung Shing and Karen Smith.  @spider_annie

The exhibition From That Day On by Lingfei Ren is curated by Jodi Kwok. Ren was awarded the Lishui/FORMAT Award 2021, selected by Louise Fedotov-Clements and Nimah Treacy as part of FORMAT’s ongoing partnership with the Lishui International Photography Festival, China. With thanks to Wang Peiquan and Isabella Xueke Wang.

Part of FORMAT International Photography Festival

QUAD is a registered charity.