Little To Big

By Millie Winter


Months of isolation and lockdown have created a stagnant environment for many of London’s artists. As well for the viewer, the beauty of walking through the corners of mysterious art exhibits was no longer available. New pieces of art could not be displayed of their greatness to the fullest extent. The struggles with producing crafts from the new space at home. COVID-19 has created a hiatus in the progression of art for many emerging artists. It has been exponentially harder for new artists to have their voices heard in the chaos of this year. Bigger organizations are continuing to bring up smaller artists through exhibit events like Bloomberg’s New Contemporary. They have created an exhibit to honour the persistence of artists during the pandemic and bring attention to their work. Meet an annual exhibit that works to support emerging artists in their process of stardom, an emerging talent that potentially will become big, explore more here in Little To Big.

This year, 75 artists have been selected for New Contemporaries 2021 demonstrating the resilience of the creative process in a challenging year. Big helping small to get big as well.

Since 1949, New Contemporary has been supporting artists with an annual open submission touring exhibition. It has thus become the leading organisation supporting new and emerging artists.

The organization is supporting one of the hardest steps for artists everywhere. The support comes at an extremely crucial part in their careers, just as they are leaving formal or higher arts communication. With a bigger and louder voice, the annual exhibition has decided to bring up smaller craftsmen through a helping hand through their development program, which includes this annual touring exhibition, online platforms, mentoring, studio bursaries, residencies, fellowships, and more.

Through such exhibits, the proper tools are given to deserving artists so they can then become those that will make it big.

Agnieska Szczotka

“Bloomberg’s New Contemporaries is presenting emerging artists who have become some of the most internationally renowned artists of recent history. “

With art being such a competitive industry and one that survives only on a steady launch of new work, such exhibits have been essential for many big names in contemporary art.

Especially having lived through such straining circumstances of the past year, giving visibility to new artists is going to go a long way.

Hannah Lim

“Covid-19 is the toughest challenge of a generation. Artists’ lives and livelihoods have been severely impacted by the precarity of the pandemic with lockdown measures preventing access to studios, materials, and peer networks as well as the postponement or cancellation of many graduate shows and work opportunities,” according to Kirsty Ogg, Director of New Contemporaries.

How good does it feel to be able to walk through and connect with pieces that exude the resilience of their creators during a year of such turmoil? On top of this, knowing that the 75 names you are observing will one day become internationally renowned and respected.

Shannon Bono

The 75 started at a much larger number of 6,500 works. Thanks to a panel of three internationally renowned artists comprising Hew Locke, Tai Shani and Michelle Williams Gamaker, who have, after what has been a difficult year, chosen a new generation of artists.

Similarly, the Ingram Collection applauds extravagant contemporary art through their Ingram Prize, the leading annual award for contemporary artists in the UK.

Launched in 2016, The Ingram Prize was established by The Ingram Collection to celebrate and support artists at the beginning of their professional careers.”

There were four prize winners in total for 2021: with the Founders Choice Award going to James Dearlove, for his Figures on a Bed while Anna Perach (Daphne), Anietie Ekanem, (Yemaya o Yemojaand Katharina Fitz (Pupa and Queen) each scooped the top awards. 

This year’s Ingram Prize encompassed a variety of themes, including the environment, queer-femme experience, body image, immigration, and the pandemic, with the shortlisted finalists, from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Denmark and New Zealand, France, Ukraine plus Trinidad & Tobago – entering work in a broad variety of different media, from ceramics, oils, and watercolour, to video, tapestry, and found / recycled objects.

Fiona Campbell, Glut Photo by Mike Garlick.

Such displays and awards are what transgress the contemporary art industry to continue to portray the most innovative new artists.

Read more at Newcontemporaries.org

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