Another BIG scale exhibition opens this weekend @ 20:21 Visual Art Centre

19 June to 25 September 2021

Click here to book your free ticket to see this and our other current exhibitions

In one of our most ambitious exhibitions to date, sculptor Dan Rawlings presents a powerful installation that explores our exploitation of nature’s resources and nature’s ability to respond. It invites us to examine our own part in commercialization and its impact on our natural environment.

Future Returns transports us to a future of industrial relics in a state of decomposition. It imagines a time when flora has reclaimed the artefacts of our intervention in the environment, forming monuments that honour transformation, hope and the inevitability of change.

The installation is inspired by heavy industry and our complex relationship with industrial production and fossil fuels in the modern age. A reclaimed oil tanker truck sits in the 19th century church building, transformed by the artist’s pioneering, freehand plasma cutter drawing of intricate foliage motifs. It dominates the space, surrounded by mounds of earth and dark, mirrored ‘pools’, which reflect the omnipresence of oil in our lives.

Future Returns invites us to examine our own part in commercialisation and the resulting changes to our natural environment. Rawlings believes it is easy to demonise industry but we must acknowledge that it has allowed life as we know it to bloom. It is our ability to design, create and produce that has put towns like Scunthorpe on the global map.

He also believes oil companies have much to answer for, from the state of our environment to mistrust of science.

Future Returns has been commissioned to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of 20-21 Visual Arts Centre and produced in partnership with Dan Rawlings and Paul Barkworth Events.

About Dan Rawlings

Contemporary British sculptor Dan Rawlings was born in Essex in 1979. He currently lives and works in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

A self-taught artist, Rawlings’ early interest in graffiti and street art led him to create multi-layered stencils and it is from this stencil cutting technique that his trademark style emerged. When a welder in the studio next door loaned him a plasma cutter he became obsessed with its possibilities. From these beginnings he developed his experimental style of plasma cutter ‘drawing’, creating artworks from reclaimed metal forms, including road signs, cars, planes and grain silos.

Rawlings is fascinated by industry, taking inspiration from nature’s resilience – plants growing through the concrete of abandoned buildings, a tree thriving from within old machinery. His work explores new ways of pushing boundaries in creating ‘relics of an alternative future’ which are at once poetic, optimistic, challenging and humorous.

Dan Rawlings has shown work in Paris, London, Berlin and Los Angeles, and was awarded a large-scale commission by London’s 2018 Moniker Art Fair, the largest urban art fair in the world, as well as Glastonbury Festival in 2019. Street-art museum Urban Nation commissioned a large-scale aeroplane installation, Short-Haul, from Rawlings for their 2019 Biennale in Berlin.

Rawlings has a permanent installation in the UNESCO Völklingen Ironworks, as part of the World Heritage Site’s 2019 Urban Art Biennale. His most recent solo show, at Galerie Openspace in Paris, also opened in 2019. In March 2020 Rawling’s work was included alongside some of the biggest names in street art in a group show in partnership with The Big Issue and OurTypes at the Jealous Gallery East, London.

Let 20:21 Visual Art Centre know your thoughts on the place by filling in the short survey below.

Ticket gives your social bubble of up to six people admission to Dan Rawlings’ installation Future Returns, our 20th anniversary exhibition, and ‘Ghost Horses and Guns’ by Melanie Tomlinson.

Tickets are not needed for entry to the gallery cafe and shop

*Please Note: Covid secure measures will be in place until at least 24 July. Please make sure you agree to these requirements before you visit.

In accordance with government legislation, visitors must wear face coverings. Please check terms and conditions when booking, for other Covid secure measures in place.

NHS Test and Trace: For your safety we are required by the government to collect contact information for all visitors. For convenience we would advise you to download the NHS Covid app which will allow you to record your visit by scanning our QR code on arrival. All other visitors will have their contact details recorded on arrival on our secure system, in accordance with GDPR regulations. 

We have put this range of measures in place in line with government requirements to ensure your visit can be as safe as possible. Thank you for your patience and co-operation, and we hope you enjoy your visit.

Access requirements

Our building is fully accessible

Building works are currently taking place in Church Square. Access from Carlton Street is via the footpath along the side of the UTC building. See our short video Visiting 20-21 Visual Arts Centre to see the route you need to take.

You must wear masks and observe Covid measures in place if these are still required by government regulations at the time of your visit.


Images: Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Published by Scunthorpe Nights

Volunteer run network to support our local area by showing what it has to offer.

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