Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 'not all doom and gloom' says Chief Exec

·2-min read

The Royal Academy of Arts' Summer Exhibition is underway in London.

One of the joys of this annual exhibition is that anyone can submit work.

From established artists to members of the public, the event always aims to show a truly diverse selection of art.

From 14,000 submissions from the public, around 800 have made it into the galleries, and unsurprisingly, it's an eclectic mix.

"We have almost 1,400 works of art here in the show and really ranging widely between the works that were sent in by the public, as it were, of which we made a selection and works by our own members, the academicians of the Royal Academy and some artists who have been specifically invited by the coordinator and the committee this year," says Axel Rüger, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts.

But after such a long period of confinement across the globe, many submissions demonstrate underlying loneliness or frustration, for some the hallmarks of life in a pandemic.

"We saw a lot of figurative art. There was certainly a whole group of works dealing, of course, with either COVID and aspects of COVID directly or the period that has been behind us with a lot of dealing with loneliness and with self-reflection and so forth," Rüger says.

"But otherwise, it was also just a joyous variety of really very, very different and often also really joyful and fun things that were submitted. So it's not all doom and gloom."

The exhibition has been held every year since 1769.

It ran through two world wars, and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly wasn't going to stop it from taking place either – although the timing is a little more autumnal than summery.

Fans of celebrated Ai Weiwei should keep their eyes open for his 'F Size' work.

But there are many lesser-known artists on display too – and for those hoping to buy something, they are much more affordable than the big names.

The Summer Exhibition opens on 22 September and runs until 2 January 2022.

Take a look at some of the exhibits in the video player above

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