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Key details


  • 4 March 2024


  • RCA

Read time

  • 5 minutes

Together, the organisations will host two residencies in spring 2024, in collaboration with Guest Artists Space Foundation (G.A.S) in Nigeria; one for an exceptional early / mid career artist who is an RCA BLK member; and one for a research based proposal from the wider RCA BLK community.

The Yinka Shonibare Foundation (UK) and Guest Artists Space Foundation (Nigeria) were established in 2019 by the eminent British-Nigerian Artist Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, whose international multi-disciplinary practice explores colonialism and post-colonialism within the context of globalisation.

Yinka’s vision behind the two organisations is to support the development of new work and ideas, foster mutual understanding of cultural differences and break down traditional barriers of privilege. This is achieved by building access and creating new pathways to education, forging new networks and developing a resilient cultural infrastructure that will enable the next generation to thrive, not just survive. The vision is implemented primarily through hosting and supporting residencies, education, and professional development programmes in both the UK and Nigeria.

The two selected residents are Graeme Smith (RCA MA Ceramics & Glass, 2023) and Remi Kuforiji (RCA MA Architecture, 2021).

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith. Photographer Aisha Seriki

Graeme Smith is an artist and draughtsman of Jamaican-British descent born in Treaty 1 Canadian Territory. He is an RCA alumnus interested in craft as a fugitive and subjugated knowledge. He explores process, transposition, and spatial poetics working primarily with ceramics and glass. He will continue a study of Nigerian glass beads during his residency at Guest Artists Space Foundation. The small, historically ubiquitous, idiosyncratic glass crafts with complex origins and manifold journeys traded and moved between Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

Remi Kuforiji

Remi_Kuforiji Portrait copy

Remi Kuforiji (London, 1997) is an architect, spatial practitioner and researcher whose creative practice explores the intersection of performance, cartography and racial politics. Developing systems of critique that challenge territorial distinctions and neo-colonial policies of resource extractivism, Remi's work focuses on wetland ecosystems, indigenous knowledge and ethnographic methodologies as modes of spatial practice.

As part of the residency, the resident artists will be supported with travel, accommodation in Lagos, opportunities to collaborate with local artists and build their networks, basic materials, access to shared on-site multifunctional work/event space and the G.A.S Library and Picton Archive.

The two spring residencies will act as pilots, with RCA BLK aiming to continue to support artists to undertake residencies in Nigeria in the long term.


The Royal College of Art Association of Black Students, Alumni & Friends was founded as a grassroots organisation and community group in 2020. RCA BLK’s core objectives are to promote, improve and advance education by encouraging and supporting the practice of contemporary visual arts for artists who identify as Black within the RCA community, by fostering relationships with pre-enrolled students, current students and alumni.

Since its inception, RCA BLK has been actioning incremental change within an institutional ecosystem, evolving through a successful tenure of partnerships. The group has initiated the Sir Frank Bowling Scholarship, the RCA BLK x Yinka Shonibare Residency, and the BLACK STAR time capsule. RCA BLK has been recognised by the Samuel Ross Black British Artist Grant programme for its contribution to supporting Black British Artists and was awarded the 2023 Black British Artist Grant.

RCA BLK’s founding members are Emily Moore, Roxanne Simone, Melanie Issaka, Andy Hart, Josh Woolford, Jerome Ince-Mitchell, Ibrahim Cissé, Michael Forbes, Sheran Forbes, Mary Adeturinmo and Timi Oyedeji. The group currently has over 200 active members made up of current students and alumni with many friends and supporters from the wider RCA Community.

RCA BLK looks to positively impact the experience of students from the African diaspora and build upon the rich legacies of the RCA student and alumni body. RCA BLK members are supported through scholarships and bursary initiatives, artist residencies, and mentoring opportunities, as well as regular exhibitions, events and socials. Inspirational alumni who paved the way for the group include Barrington Watson, Sir Frank Bowling, Lubaina Himid, Harold Offeh, Ekua McMorris, Chris Ofili, Sepake Angiama, Dame Magdalene Anyango Namakhiya Odundo DBE, Bianca Saunders, and Althea McNish, as well as supporting tutors and staff both past and present from the wider RCA community Alexandria Smith, Adrian Lahoud, Pamela Golden, Paul Thompson, Halimo Hussain, Nathan Francois and Izzie Mensah to name a few.

RCA BLK’s founding members are Emily Moore, Roxanne Simone, Melanie Issaka, Andy Hart, Josh Woolford, Jerome Ince-Mitchell, Ibrahim Cissé, Michael Forbes, Sheran Forbes, Mary Adeturinmo and Timi Oyedeji. The group currently has over 200 active members made up of current students and alumni with many friends and supporters from the wider RCA Community.

Future plans include forming the RCA BLK research hub, establishing new scholarships and international partnerships and relationships as well as hosting an array of exhibitions and events to expand on the discourse and conversations around contemporary art and Design. Please find more information at rcablk.com.

About the Yinka Shonibare Foundation and Guest Artists Space Foundation

The Yinka Shonibare Foundation (Y.S.F.) is a UK-registered charity dedicated to facilitating international cultural exchange and supporting creative practices through residencies, collaborations, and education projects.

In Nigeria, Guest Artists Space Foundation (G.A.S.) is a non-profit that delivers residencies and public programmes across two sites; one in the heart of the dynamic city of Lagos and the second on a rural working farm in Ijebu in Ogun State. G.A.S. Foundation’s multi-use live / work spaces host multi-disciplinary artists, researchers and curators from all over the world in awarded residencies for up to three months. In Lagos, the Foundation is hosted in an award-winning building designed by Elsie Owusu in collaboration with Nihinlola Shonibare.

The secondary location designed by Papa Omotayo sits on a 54-acre working farm owned by Shonibare located on the outskirts of Ikise, a village neighbouring Ijebu-Ode. The farm produces crops ranging from yams and cassava to peppers and cashews.

In 2022, G.A.S. began populating its library archive after receiving a donation from Professor John Picton and Sue Picton of a lifelong personal library collection, consisting of around 1500 volumes. The donated books cover topics including Sub-Saharan African art, history, and archaeology, as well as African American and Black British arts. Collected over several decades, the books are an invaluable resource for scholars, artists, and researchers interested in the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Africa. G.A.S. Foundation enjoys a steady flow of diverse and multidisciplinary residents, ranging from emerging to celebrated artists, architects, curators and renowned researchers amongst others.

Both Foundations have partnered with galleries and cultural organisations to deliver their programmes, including the University of the Arts London, South London Gallery, Tiwani Contemporary, Goodman Gallery, Stockholm School of Economics, Access Bank, the German Federal Cultural Foundation, and ART X. Alumni include Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Alberta Whittle, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Umar Rashid, Raqs Media Collective, and Emma Prempeh alongside emerging West African talent such as Femi Johnson, Leïla Adjovi and Tobi Onabolu. In the UK Yinka Shonibare Foundation (charity no: 1183321) fundraises, develops international partnerships and programmes, and offers strategic support and oversight to Guest Artists Space Foundation. Both organisations are governed by a board of trustees chaired by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA.