Illustraition by Tricia Mercer-David

being human


A pop-up exhibition by the YNA Collective

being human (NOW) was a Young Norfolk Arts Collective pop-up exhibition looking at all things human from young creatives in Norfolk, which took place at the University of East Anglia’s ‘Enterprise Centre’, on Wednesday 19th April 2023.

What makes us human? What inspires and enriches our everyday lives? Lived experiences, our relationships with others and the challenges we face in a forever changing world are just some of the many things that make us who we are.

But what does it mean to be human for young people right now? This is the question that the collective explores by creating visuals around words they had swapped with one another.

Each artist thought of one word to sum up what being human means to them. They then swapped that word with a fellow artist
and it became that artist’s prompt.

Poster Illustrated by Tricia Mercer-David

Belinda Leng

Adaptability, watercolour and ink on paper, 76cm × 90cm, 2023

Word given: Adaptability

I am a university student studying Year 1 illustration at Norwich University of the Arts. I am currently exploring different ways of experimental mark making in my practice. I was given the word ‘adaptability’ and made this my approach in both the medium and the action (method) of creating. Using free flowing paint and ink with no clear outcome in mind, observing and changing and growing with the flow, I feel this is the way of life and ultimately being human – constant adaptation.

Instagram: @belinda.leng.arts


Diya Vaya

Bulema Road, spoken word and film, 2023

Word given: Electric

As an artist I aim to celebrate and articulate human life; the joys of it, the miseries of it, the monotones of it, and in the same beat the dismays of it.  It captures the journey of what it means to be alive really alive on a spectrum of artistic mediums. This experience is captured via the expression of film, photography and writing, which deals with topics involving the human psyche, which can be found on the website


Joe Milne

Transience, wood, paper, cardboard, found objects, clay, 5 x 4ft, 2023

 Word given: Transience

I am an artist and film maker based in Norwich, for the Being Human exhibition I have created an altar which encapsulates the shamanistic roots of human consciousness and displays the psychic vision and terror at play in our subconscious and for those on the fringes of society. Much of the work is inspired by psychogeography and stone tape theory, and visualises the thoughts and hidden memories which haunt our homes and minds. This is a journey through the psychic undergrowth of Norwich and the mental landscape which is imprinted on our surroundings.


Instagram: @joemilne_art



Sam Perkins 

Man’s Evolution, three A4 photographs, 2023
Word given: Evolution
Man’s Evolution looks at three separate drag kings all of who have picked certain aspects of masculinity and morphed them to fit who they are not only as a performer but as a person. All three performers bring a different element of masculinity from the softer more flamboyant to the rougher more traditionally masculine, they mix the idea of masculinity with the advent-garde to create characters that each individually have their own personality and commentary on gender as a performance.
Instagram: @sam_moanella

Sophie Hockaday

Untitled, birch plywood and pyrography text, 645 x 310 x 105mm, 2023

Word given: Identity

I produce artwork that explores the possibilities of material and form across mediums. The process of making is an important element of my practice. I do not impose meaning onto the forms I create, but instead invite viewers to question and interpret the form for themselves. My approach to the word ‘Identity’ was to reflect on my identity as an artist. I constantly question what art is, where I fit in, and how to pursue an art career when working full-time. Identity is open-ended and my artwork reflects this. I have manipulated birch plywood and experimented with pyrography text, where the words represent my inner dialogue as an artist.

Instagram: sophie_fineart



Terran Burrell

Daily Struggles, acrylic on canvas, 8″ x 10″, 2023

Word given: Challenge

The word given to me was ‘challenge’. My reaction to this was facing the daily struggles of life. More than that, it was overcoming them. We humans are highly resilient, and I thought back to a cyanotype project I did with Genevive Rudd on weeds. There is a lot of beauty in weeds that people overlook, and I liken them to humans here in their adaptability and irrepressible nature. Thus, I drew a dandelion growing atop a mountain. I love the contrast between the size of the canvas compared to the scale of a mountain; this juxtaposition illustrates how a huge challenge for one person can be easy for another – it’s all a matter of perspective.

Instagram: @transience_arts

Tik Tok: @transience_arts

Facebook: Transience Arts





Tricia Mercer-David

Dance With Me, lino print, digitally coloured, A3 print, 2023

Word given: Pride

‘Dance with me’ explores how pride is celebrated in day-to-day moments. I thought about the importance of safe spaces for individuals and communities to explore all aspects of our identities freely. I’m an illustrator, printmaker and workshop facilitator based in Norwich. I identify as a queer person of colour, my lived experiences and interactions with the space I live in inform the themes of my work. I enjoy using bold linework and bright colours to make playful compositions.

Instagram: @tricia.mercer.david