During 2007-2008, I did an art foundation year in Wimbledon in London. During this time, I visited a wide range of art exhibitions and discovered new galleries other than the well known ones such as The Tate, The National Gallery, The Serpentine and The Royal Academy of Arts. I now regularly visit these lesser known galleries during my free time.
Previously I was not aware of any privately owned galleries however now I am a regular visitor to many such as the ones in Green Park and Cork Street. One artist that particularly stood out for me at one of the galleries on Cork Street was Graham Dean. Dean uses the figure to convey ideas, emotions and psychological states. He paints with watercolour onto porous handmade Indian paper in order to achieve beautiful, painterly effects.
During my year living in London, I also visited a few art fairs such as the Frieze Art Fair in Regent’s Park and The Art Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington, which both display work from new and established artists. The space was so vast and in each there was a huge mass of visitors, which was a nice change from the usual quiet confinements of a normal gallery space. The art was suitable for all ages and for a modern audience and there was a buzz and liveliness at each, which made the experience more exciting.
I always enjoy going to see The BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery as I am astounded by the realism of all the paintings. I am not keen on realistic painting however I admire the work as so much skill is involved and it also interests me as often there is a story associated with the portrait. This annual competition is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting.
The Saatchi gallery moved to Chelsea in 2008 and it is now much more successful and popular amongst the public than at its previous site. The gallery space is ideal; there are high ceilings and clean, white washed walls with ample light streaming through the large glass windows. There is a wide range of media on show and it all is engaging and appealing to all ages. Another reason why I like it so much is it is free, which is Saatchi Gallery’s aim to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible. Many artists showing at The Saatchi Gallery are unknown when first exhibited, not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world. I visited the New Art from the Middle East exhibition, which contained some extremely eye catching work.
The Wildlife Photographer of the year at The Natural History Museum is an International Competition, which showcases the very best nature photography. At age 11, one of my photographs was shortlisted to the top 25 from 3000 entries. I am now competing against professionals and so it is very difficult to be shortlisted but I still enjoy going as it is definitely my favourite annual exhibition in London.