Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy

Gallery view the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition 2021. Photo: © David Parry/ Royal Academy of Arts

The Summer Exhibition is really something quite special. The world’s longest running open submission exhibition, it hasn’t missed a year since the Royal Academy was opened in 1769 – including during both world wars. So, it’s no surprise that things have marched on during Covid-19, despite starting a little later than usual both this year and last. A showcase of prints, paintings, photography, sculpture and architectural design, there is truly something that appeals to everyone.

Coordinated by Yinka Shonibare RA, alongside a panel of artists, this year’s theme “Reclaiming Magic” is particularly playful. It is full of colour and plenty of tongue in cheek political commentary, reflecting Shonibare’s own focus on “colonialism and post-colonialism in the context of globalisation”. He has taken the opportunity to fill the cavernous rooms with artists who may have been marginalised in the West — including self-taught artists and those with disabilities — alongside more recognisable names. The result is room after room of vibrancy. It is a must see.

And for those looking a little extra added fun, the Summer Exhibition Bar is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Gallery view the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2021. Photo: © David Parry/ Royal Academy of Arts

Grayson Perry, Chris Whitty’s Cat, Bronze, 48 x 48 x 20 cm. Edition of 10 plus 1 artist’s proof (AP 1/1), © Grayson Perry. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Mir0

Yinka Shonibare, Mayflower, All Flowers, Relief print with woodblock and fabric collage on somerset tub sized satin 410gsm paper, 111.5 x 103 cm, Courtesy the artist and Cristea Roberts Gallery, London © Yinka Shonibare

Mali Morris, Colour Go Round (7), Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90cm, Courtesy of the artist

And finally, some really great stories about Summer Exhibitions of the past. Well worth a read!

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2021
22 September 2021 - 2 January 2022
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD
— Elizabeth Eaton
22nd September 2021

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