London Grads Now. 21 at Saatchi Gallery

LONDON, UK, Thursday 7 October 2021 – Following the success of London Grads Now. in 2020, Saatchi Gallery announces London Grads Now. 21 opening from November 4 through to January 16, 2022. This second edition aims to support and highlight the emerging artists of today and will feature over 200 artworks created and curated by MA graduates from seven of London’s leading art schools.

 

The exhibition will include MA graduates from: Goldsmiths University (curated by LaTosha Monique), UAL: Camberwell College of Arts, UAL: Chelsea College of Arts (both curated by Juan Bolivar), UAL: Central Saint Martins (curated by Jingwen Weng & Lingfei Rena Song), UCL: Slade School of Art (curated by Victoria Cantons), Royal College of Art (curated by Thomas Hjelm & Lauren Bevan), and, new to this years’ edition Kingston School of Art (curated remotely from Tehran, Iran by Shahrzad Jahan). The exhibition identity was developed by UAL: Camberwell College of Arts MA graduate Tom White.

London Grads Now. 21 will give a unique insight into exceptional teaching techniques, artistic practices and cultural approaches – a microcosm of the diversity of London.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: “This exhibition will showcase some of the best new artistic talent our city has to offer and represents another brilliant reason for visitors and Londoners to come back into central London to visit our world class galleries as part of the Mayor’s Let’s Do London campaign. More than 200 artworks created by the next generation of artists will be on display – each one represents a triumph for art against the setbacks faced by so many emerging artists during the pandemic.”

The aim of London Grads Now. 21 is to present a survey of London’s new emerging art scene. Addressing meaningful dialogues of today, curators have selected artworks focusing on themes including: environmentalism, gender identity, post-pandemic reflections, UK race politics as well as explorations of the human psyche. The works selected for London Grads Now. 21 span moving image, assemblage, installation, performance, painting, sculpture, photography and drawing. Nine galleries across two floors will be utilised for this headline show, with dedicated exhibition space allocated to each school.

London Grads Now. was initially conceived in 2020 as a response to the unprecedented, pandemic-induced cancellation of graduation shows, which disrupted a crucial moment in artists’ creative careers. This summer, higher education students experienced another setback with the government’s announcement of UK-wide funding cuts of 50% for arts and design courses. As a result, Saatchi Gallery remained committed to supporting graduating artists and renewed its pledge to dedicate exhibition spaces for the graduating class of 2021 through a larger and longer-lasting graduate-led major exhibition.

New highlights of London Grads Now. 21 – Saatchi Gallery will curate a space featuring works from all of the schools together, including larger scale works.

Kingston School of Art will participate for the first-time and, overcoming Covid-19 restrictions, their space will be curated by a graduate living and working in Tehran, Iran – defying traditional barriers and embracing the rise in virtual conversations.

 

Selected Curators Quotes:

 

“A second wave of provoked ingenuity; this selection of graduates continues to define themselves through their fortitude and resilience. It has been our privilege to work amongst this community of artists that relentlessly inspire and uplift one another – a willingness to embrace the raw and unknown with unflinching certainty.” – Thomas Hjelm & Lauren Bevan, Royal College of Art

 

“The artworks selected reveal the confines of human knowledge, demonstrate the artists’ tolerance and diverse understandings of the unfamiliar and the unusual, and highlight mankind’s relentless quest for adventures and new discoveries.” – Jingwen Weng & Lingfei Rena Song, UAL: Central Saint Martins

 

London Grads Now .21 at Saatchi Gallery has been such a uniquely incredible project to be a part of. From my personal experience, to curate an exhibition space without even stepping foot in the gallery itself is incredible and I feel honored to be part of the project, defying the odds – a testament to the power and beauty of collaboration we must take from overcoming challenges in lockdown and how connecting virtually can sometimes be a powerful tool to connect, and break down barriers.” – Shahrzad Jahan, Kingston University

 

The London Grads Now. 21 exhibition is a beautiful opportunity to show the works of dedicated artists who persevered through the most challenging of times due to Covid-19. The selected work provides a look as to how creativity plays an active role in sustaining our collective well-being. This collection is reflective of the safe havens explored internally, which informed a diverse form of creative processes.” – LaTosha Monique, Goldsmiths University