Rod Kitson, the Surrey Quays artist in residence, has once again curated an open show that includes art from all ages, all levels, and includes a huge input of creativity from art students at Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe, with students from Years 7 through to 13 putting in art expressing the uncertainty and upheaval to their school life due to Covid. This will certainly put its art department in a good light, writes Michael Holland.
This End Of The Year Show 2021 has 210 artworks from 140 artists working across the spectrum, from painting to drawing, sculpture to printmaking, and textiles. Kitson says, ‘This is the third group show I have curated here and I think it is the strongest body of work I have displayed.’
There were no rules to enter – the artwork just had to be something made in the past 12 months. And as well as independent artists, there were entries from artists of all ages and backgrounds, from the full-timers right through to people just starting out. A father and his young daughter submitted their two paintings; there is a series of painted house bricks telling the story of migration, and vinyl records joined together as the basis for a piece celebrating music and friendship. Rod said, ‘This exhibition unites all levels of experience in one eclectic melting pot. That is the great strength of this show.’
Textile and fabric work also plays a big part, with a catsuit by Year 11s Precious and Zoe originally created for a Black History Month fashion show: ‘It’s brilliant to have Bacon’s College in the show. The students’ work is full of ideas, thought-provoking and powerful, which have brought added vibrancy and colour to the exhibition… And a group of neurodivergent artists also exhibited their creations,’ adds Rod.
I spoke to Zoe Umagho-Ukueku and Adebusola Sodipo about their creation. The two textiles students have used their African roots to create their fashion design and plan to use the skills and experience they are getting now to further their dreams at university. Zoe wants to be a fashion designer, while Adebusola plans to be an art therapist.
Skye Davies has already taken that step from Bacon’s College to studying art at Leeds University but was back to see her self-portrait hanging in the exhibition. It is a rather harsh portrait that is full of drama, which, she said, reflected the mood she wanted to portray: ‘I wanted it to stand out’.
The anything-goes nature of the exhibition means there is plenty to catch the eye, and most of the artworks are for sale, ranging from £5 right through to more than £1,000.
This End Of The Year Show 2021 runs until January 6, 2022 at the Art of Isolation gallery upstairs in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre.
To view the exhibits online: www.rodkitson.art (Click CATALOGUE)