Renowned British artist Yinka Shonibare RA will co-ordinate the 253rd Summer Exhibition in 2021. The Summer Exhibition Committee members are Royal Academicians Tony Bevan, Vanessa Jackson, Mali Morris, Humphrey Ocean, Eva Rothschild, Bob and Roberta Smith and Emma Stibbon. David Adjaye will curate the Architecture Gallery. The committee will be chaired by the President of the Royal Academy, Rebecca Salter.
For this year’s exhibition, Shonibare will explore the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’ and celebrate the joy of creating art. He also plans to include some work that has not been made in a ‘Western tradition’. Shonibare said: “Reclaiming Magic’ is an exhibition which seeks a return to the visceral aspects of art making. It will transcend the Western canon which formed the foundations of the Royal Academy and Western Art History’s points of reference. The exhibition will be a celebration of the transformative powers of the magical in art, a return to the ritualistic and the sheer joy of making”.
The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show which has taken place every year without interruption since 1769. The members of the Summer Exhibition Committee serve in rotation, ensuring that every year the exhibition has a distinctive character, with each Royal Academician responsible for a particular gallery space. Works from all over the world are judged democratically on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang within the galleries.
The Royal Academy now invites artists and architects to submit their work for a chance for it to feature in the exhibition: summer.royalacademy.org.uk. Entries will open on Tuesday 13 April and the submission deadline is Monday 24 May 2021. The RA expects to receive approximately 15,000 entries and around 1200 works, in a range of media, will go on display.