The Royal College of Art Supports Local Talent in Wandsworth

The Royal College of Art (RCA) has teamed up with Wandsworth Council once again to offer mentoring support to three emerging artists and makers in Wandsworth aged 16 to 25. 

The winners, detailed below, have been supported with tailored mentoring by RCA graduates to develop their creative practice and showcase their work in via digital exhibitions on the Wandsworth Art platform that you can find links to below.

The Same River by WHABB Studio – The exhibition incorporates a series of interactive multimedia works created in 2020. Much of the work has been influenced by the artists’ experience of living afloat on the River Thames. Collected stories and visual imagery inhabit digital spaces, telling narratives of our changing planet. The exhibition considers how personal accounts can flow into wider environmental conversations through the artist’s localities and imagined spaces. Click here to access the exhibition and contribute to it before 11 December 2020.

Sculptural Drawings by Izabel Wocial – During the RCA Mentoring Programme, Izabel has been exploring an ongoing body of work created for “AFTER HOURS”,  a physical exhibition, currently on view, in a former department store in Southside, Wandsworth. Click here to find out more about this exhibition and artwork.

More details on the process

This is the third annual iteration of the programme and builds on the successful RCA Bursary scheme offered by Wandsworth Council’s Arts Service and the RCA as part of Wandsworth Artists’ Open House (WAOH) in 2018 & 2019.

The selected artists work across a broad range of media, including drawing, sculpture, architecture, 3D animation, and video. Their work explores critical issues including the climate emergency and the relationship between the individual and urban space. The RCA is dedicated to nurturing talent and creating opportunities for future generations of artists and designers. 

Victoria Patrick, RCA Community Engagement Manager said:

‘The RCA’s commitment to building meaningful connections with London’s diverse communities has only been strengthened by the challenges introduced by Covid-19. It’s been inspiring to see how RCA students, staff and our local community are staying connected and supporting one another. It’s been amazing to work with Wandsworth Council for a third year running, not only to host a fantastic exhibition, but to nurture and support local artists and bolster creative networks.’

Participating artists will showcase their work in a digital exhibit here, on the Wandsworth Art platform, launching on 5 December.

The participating artists are: 

WHABBstudio – Zoe Wheeler and India Gabb 

WHABB Studio portrait, Zoe Wheeler and India Gabb
WHABB Studio portrait, Zoe Wheeler and India Gabb

“As a creative partnership, we are very excited to be participating in the mentorship and to connect with new people. We are looking forward to receiving guidance on how best to engage communities through the arts and new media, whilst sharing and promoting different perspectives around the collective issue of climate change. We are looking forward to participating in the online exhibition, and to see what other artists exhibit.”WHABBstudio is a creative duo who are based in Nine Elms. The studio works collectively to explore our changing world and humans’ impact on the environment. WHABBstudio uses emerging technologies to communicate the climate crisis. Both members of the duo, India Gabb and Zoe Wheeler, graduated from Wimbledon College of Arts in BA Fine Art: Painting, 2017. Since then they have collaborated with socially engaged organisations such as APT Gallery, Digital Maker Collective, Tate Exchange and Uniqlo Tate Lates, Tate Modern. Most recently the studio has worked with local organisations in Wandsworth such as Battersea Arts Centre and Wandsworth Council.

Izabel Wocial

Izabel Wocial, portrait
Izabel Wocial, portrait

“I’m delighted to have been selected for the RCA mentoring scheme, it will provide a new focus for my work and it’s a privilege to have this opportunity to be supported by other artists, especially in these times” Izabel is a Furzedown based artist who grew up in Wandsworth. Her artwork focuses on the tensions and interrelationships between human society and urban space. Izabel aims to communicate this through the use of objects and their relationships in order to highlight how space influences human behaviour and life experiences. Izabel defines her practice as sculptural drawing – her site responsive work explores the architectural space through the process of expanded drawing. Izabel explores the concept of expanded drawing across her practice through evolving from two to three-dimensional drawing, questioning the boundaries of drawing using materials, line, space, form and process.

The RCA mentors are:

Nina Coulson
MA Contemporary Art Practice, 2020

Nina Coulson portrait
Nina Coulson portrait

“I’m delighted to have be a mentor to talented young local artists as part of the RCA mentoring scheme, and excited to have the opportunity share some of the knowledge that I gained studying at the RCA in Wandsworth with artist-duo WHABBstudio – Zoe Wheeler and India Gabb.” 

Nina is a recent graduate of the RCA (MA Contemporary Art Practice 2020).  Between 2002-16, Nina worked in collaboration as part of Yoke and Zoom, an artist-led duo/family, whose practice combined universal concerns with domestic private moments and relationships. In 2010, Nina co-founded MOVEMENT, an artist-led gallery on Platform 2 of Worcester Foregate Street Railway Station, currently being used during the COVID crisis by train crew as a site for social distancing during breaks. Her initial work as an RCA student investigated post-collaborative practice and involved muddy online group collaborations, art writing and performance and enacted forms of conflict resolution through performatively activated sculpture. Nina is currently leading the fundraising, renovation and future reinstatement of THE PIER (one of London’s 13 Cabmen’s shelters, located on the Chelsea Embankment) into an artist-led roadside refectory. 

Matthew Dowell
MA Print, 2020

Matthew Dowell
Matthew Dowell, Portrait

“People are the most valuable knowledge base that we have so to be able to share my experiences for others on this programme is a privilege” 

Matthew is a recent graduate of the RCA (MA Print 2020).  Matthew was born in Sunderland and is now based in the borough of Wandsworth. He studied Fine Art at Kingston School of Art (2013-16) before joining the MA Print programme at the RCA. He was shortlisted for the Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculpture (2019) and is the recipient of the Stanley Picker Print Tutorship (2021). Recent exhibitions include ‘London Grads’ (Saatchi Gallery), RCA Graduate Show (Kristin Hjellegjerde), ‘Beyond the Frame’ (Orleans House Gallery), ‘In Review’ (Southwark Park Galleries) and ‘2020: Insight’ (Soho Revue).