Summer 2021 Show at the RA: A Textile Perspective

Phoenix member Maria Walker was excited that the 2021 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy had been curated by Yinka Shonibare, with the theme of “Reclaiming Magic”. She was looking forward to seeing more textile art in this exhibition, as we all know that Shonibare appreciates the value of textiles in his art. Last month she found time to visit the exhibition to see how textile work had been represented in this year’s show.

I have always been interested in the career of Yinka Shonibare: he recognizes the cultural significance of fabric and uses it in a fine art way in his own practice, so I was excited when I saw this on arrival at the Royal Academy.

Inside the exhibition the rooms were not quite as densely hung as previous exhibitions I had visited, and I was struck bythe overwhelming sense of colour and texture within the exhibits. Artworks of a myriad of different media jostled on the wall to gain the attention of the visitors.

As the Royal Academy says on its website ‘Textiles are a part of our everyday lives – and this year they are a major part of the exhibition’. I haven’t counted what percentage of the work on show is represented by textile art, but some of the textiles certainly caught my attention for their visual impact, textural qualities, fine art context and meaning.

Here is a selection of the textile artworks that caught my eye during my visit:

Artist : Marie Rose Lortet

Artist: Victor Ehikhamende

Artist: Sally Mae Pettaway Mixon

Artist : Liz Mason

Artist: Chrissie Freeth

Artist: Madeline Famurewa

Artist: Basil Kincaid