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Student Showcase Archive

DRAW Alumni Exhibition Explores the Human Power of Drawing

What is DRAWing? celebrates ten years of the RCA DRAW seminar series. Curated by two DRAW alumni, Grace Holliday and Bethan Durie, the exhibition represents contemporary drawing practice in all its forms. From 4–25 July, diverse approaches to drawing will be on show at the Triforium Gallery above Temple Church, exploring the significance of drawing to the practices of 20 MA Visual Communication alumni.

‘DRAW was founded in 2008 at the RCA to celebrate crossovers between disciplines, promote drawing as a specialism and share it as an expanding practice’, explained Anne Howeson, Visual Communication Tutor and co-founder of DRAW with Catherine Anyango. ‘At a time when everyone does everything in art, drawing has not gone away. It crosses the space between the arts, following its own track – contemporary and timeless. Drawing is instinct not reason, but it helps you work things out. In our digital age people are attracted to it, but are nervous because it’s so difficult to do well. We will keep drawing.’ 

The cross-disciplinary work featured in What is DRAWing? includes a range of explorations through photography, printmaking, mixed-media, sculpture, installation, collage and video. The exhibition addresses themes such as memory, identity, journeys and narrative as well as material processes and attention to the senses and physicality.

Bethan and Grace were invited by Anne to co-curate the exhibition. Grace described the ten-year anniversary of DRAW as a ‘brilliant opportunity to bring so many different makers and creatives together from a time-line of involvement’. 

Discussing the importance of curating a drawing exhibition, Grace commented: ‘The act of drawing, its interpretation, reading, presence and even very basic existence is crucial in every creative discipline – especially design. Drawing as communication has the power to transcend language, rules and reality – all to bring people together, tell stories and provoke emotion. There is something very human about drawing that I think needs to be nurtured and preserved always.’

Highlights from the exhibition include Emma Rudge’s digital drawings and visual collages of memories and warped re-imaginings; Rebecca Truscott-Elves’ work that uses the meditative quality of drawing to investigate a kind of ‘paralysis of being’; Tom Spooner’s prints that disclose the poetic dimensions of the everyday and reimagine familiar landscapes of routine and hardship as sites of possibility, uncertainty and becoming; and Latifah Al-Said who uses drawing as a safe place, haven, best friend and counsellor, as well as an instinct and adaption of survival.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of three drawing workshops delivered by Grace and Bethan, which promote the inclusive ethos of DRAW. All workshops feature a guided tour of the exhibition, creative conversations and a different making experience, embodying the idea that contemporary drawing practice is not just about aesthetic outcomes or following artistic convention, but is also about research, thinking and cross-disciplinary processes.

Discussing their approach to curating the exhibition, Grace commented: ‘Both Bethan and I are creative educators, so wanted to use the anniversary exhibition as a pilot event to mark the beginning of the DRAW Collective's on-going legacy and wider public reach. We are both active supporters of contemporary drawing practice and considered being part of the DRAW Collective while studying at the RCA a hugely valuable, challenging and stimulating experience – we hope to recreate this environment within the exhibition itself.’

What is DRAWing? 4–25 July 2018, Temple Church Triforium, London, EC4Y 7BB
10am – 4pm daily

Private view: Friday 6 July, 6–8.30pm

For more information about the DRAW Collective, visit the DRAW website

Find out about MA Visual Communication at the RCA and how to apply.