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RA Schools Exhibition 2024

As an art lover I am thrilled and proud to say that Stuarts, the firm I work for during the day time, has sponsored the RA Schools show for the third time. The exhibition is free to the public and will run from 14 - 30 June featuring the work of eleven artists (Ilze Aulmane, Fungai Benhura, Kevin Brennan, Racheal Crowther, Fleur Dempsey, Jame St Findlay, Massimiliano Gottardi, Lizzie Munn, Fischer Mustin, Tanoa Sasraku and Norberto Spina). The work is exhibited in the RA Schools' Studio and Weston Studio and covers a wide range of practice including painting, print, sculpture and performance.

The School's two year renovation was recently completed and it looks fantastic. The Keeper's statement announces that "after two years of upheaval, our students have returned to their studios at the centre of the Academy. The brilliantly designed Smirke and Shaw studios, built in the late 1800s, have been sensitively and ingeniously restored and renewed by David Chipperfield Architects and now our fully accessible Hans and Julia Rausing Campus is fit for future generations of artists."

The RA was founded in 1769 and it invites a select number of students to join its contemporary fine art post graduate programme which is unusually free to the artists who study there. Historical Royal Academy graduates include William Blake and JMW Turner RA, and more recently Rebecca Ackroyd, Eddie Peake and Michael Armitage RA.

A Stuarts committee awards the Stewarts Prize to one of the artists. The winner receives prize money to help establish their career after three years of study. This years winner was Fungai Benhura whose work I find very interesting.

Fungai uses discarded materials with the aim of bringing them back to life. He is interested in the organic nature and evolution of material, it's history and reclamation of what comes out of activity making. His paintings consist of layer upon layer or different materials: leaflets, tissue paper, acrylic paint, oil pastels, bottle tops, coffee sacks, India ink and plastic with each layer representing the history that has been buried and is now being rediscovered. The end product unveils a painting that has a character and personality of its own. His process of constructing and deconstructing means that the painting is being constructed into something else, similar to an archaeological restoration. His work questions the notion of being at a stage of creation or destruction. A lot of materials are already made and leave traces of what has been buried underneath each layer.

Fungai Benhura

Fungai Benhura: Paper, ink, acrylic paint and canvas on wood

Fungai Benhura

Fungai Benhura: Tissue paper, acrylic paint, paper and pigment on canvas

Fungai Benhura: Acrylic paint, paper, ink and pigment on canvas

Fungai Benhura: Acrylic paint, ink, paper on canvas

Fungai Benhura

Work by other talented artists is superb and a small selection is shown below.

Norberto Spina

Ilze Aulmane

Fischer Mustin

Fleur Dempsey


The RA is an independent charity without government funding, led by artists. Donations help them to continue to be an academy for artists and art lovers.

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