Review of Graduate Shows 2021. Goldsmiths and Royal Academy Schools

The impact that COVID-19 has had on the creative industry and educational institutions has been felt worldwide. For graduates globally, the foreclosure of their studios, in-person education and cancellation of degree shows has limited their professional and personal development. 
Over the course of the year we've seen adaptive approaches, the digitisation of degree shows and guerrilla street art interventions. The demand for cultural and creative content has intensified during this lockdown period and is now more important than ever, so how do we start rebuild visibility and address the calamity it's had on our most vulnerable creatives? With the return of the degree shows, we review those at Goldsmiths and the Royal Academy Schools.
There is no doubting the impact that has been felt. However the Goldsmiths, University of London and the Royal Academy Schools demonstrate that physical degree shows are possible in this current climate and highlight the fact that creative resilience has thrived during these unprecedented times.
Goldsmiths held a physical and virtual show that exhibited an array of dynamic spatially driven and experiential works. As soon as you step in you are invited to tackle a maze of corners and rooms that display graduate’s collection of artworks that captivates and gets you leaning closer to absorb. Below we’ve highlighted a few artists who’ve demonstrated their unwavering creative resilience.

Above is Leily Moghtader Mojdehi’s exhibition installation and featured artwork Backseat snacking, cream puffs and cheese puffs (2021, mixed-media textile collage, 130cm x 95cm).
Always Greener, Installation © Alya Hatta 
Always Greener is a collection of imagery dedicated to exploring Hatta's Southeast Asian identity. It combines experiences and memories which embody the colourful diaspora that the artist lives through as a Malaysian woman based in London. The work employs playfulness and naivety as a guise to mask the consequences of underlying racialised social and sexual experiences. @alyahatta
Conversion, Immersive Installation, Musical Experience Mrs.Blues (2021)

An interactive space translating sounds, forms, movements and colours.
A patchwork of 51 fabrics, paintings, digital prints, woven mats, bean bags, duvet, pillows and video. 


The Royal Academy Schools degree show was likewise varied and incredibly captivating, presenting an array of exhibits from fine art, photography, and sculpture. The experience of discovering the graduates work room to room was exciting and never underwhelming. 

Here is Harminder Judge’s piece Untitled (the last dance is a solo) (2021, plaster, polymer, pigment, scrim, oil, wax 235 x 230 x 6 cm)
Judge works across multiple media including sculpture, painting and installation. His works engage with portals, whether spiritual, political, or personal, as well as tantric rituals from India's history of abstract image making that link to the internal and external bodily experience. @harminderjudge

Clara Hastrup’s work, ‘Fishdriver (run free)’ 2021.
Above is Clara Hastrup’s work, Fishdriver (run free) (2021).

Hastrup’s works commonly focuses on staged experiences and performative art. She plays with juxtapositions such as chaos and order, noise, and silence, etc. By doing this she uncovers how domestic objects that are commonly described as dull and mundane can have a lot of purpose and a life of their own. By transforming and animating these objects through elaborate, repetitive or simple gestures she uncovers the new connections and outlooks of objects that can be hidden.

Amanda Kyritsopoulou’s work, ‘’Marian is wondering if she’s ever seen clearly,’ 2020. Giclee print on archival paper, framed. 110 x 150 x 4cm Edition 3.
Above is Amanda Kyritsopoulou’s work, Marian is wondering if she’s ever seen clearly (2020, giclee print on archival paper, framed, 110 x 150 x 4cm, edition of 3).


Amanda makes her work with the mediums of sculpture, installation, video, photography, and sound. Her art interrogates the ideas of control and support touching on topics on mental health and society.

There are only a handful of universities opening their doors this year, so make it top of your list to discover the next generation of talent. View Creative Review's 2021 full degree show guide to experience the IRL and digital showcases. Link here