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Toni Lee

MA work


My project is based on the concept of Transfiguration. I explore different experiences, such as trauma, pain, depression, bereavement, injustice and loss. I have use my art as a form of therapy and to convey the simple message: “you get knocked down, you get back up.” As human beings, we replant and re-root and must be defiant when obstacles stand in our way. Pain comes in many forms; it is only a question of how we manage our pain.

One must stand strong like bamboo trees. In some Asian communities bamboo trees signify a strong life filled with prosperity. I was given a lucky bamboo by a dear friend and it inspired me to research more about bamboo and their significance which infused my work and was of particular interest to me.

I was propelled to paint on a female torso and mannequin to represent women (as I am one) but more importantly to represent human life, as we are all humans. 

My use of origamis is also significant, as this symbolizes joy, longevity and has been known for representing the soul of both the living and the dead. In addition, I have used fishing wire, which plays an important role in my installation because it is transparent and the pull before it breaks is six pounds which means strength. I have used it to hang my origamis in place.


  • Toni Lee
  • MA Degree


    School of Arts & Humanities


    MA Painting, 2018

  • My artwork is of a rustic composition, with a multifaceted effect.

    I enjoy constructing my canvases, from stretching to priming, organizing my colours for my pallet.

    My subject matter is of equal relevance, it is the soul. My choice of medium is oil paint, however, I am always open to experimenting with different mediums and techniques. My use of the wood effect in my work has come to represent the layering of different personalities that one has to create in order to fit in with today’s society.

    As an evolving artist, my art is an eclectic story of my search for identity in a world changing and moving at a pace that only leaves history to tell my story, which expresses diaspora. I feel my work is connecting to the community whether social or humanitarian. I want to use my art as a vessel to reach out to different communities and different sectors of people relaying that art is life and life is art. 

    Music, film, traveling and spoken word, plays a big part in my art practice. I now have an interest in installation, moving image, and photography. 

    I keep one eye on the past and the other on the future, my objective is to produce work in numerous formats which provoke and creates thought and emotions with the viewers.

  • Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Fine Art 2015; University of the Arts London Awarding Body 2012
  • Experience

  • Gallery Event Assistant, Bridge Models, London, 2016; Help with Logistics for Exhibition at the centre for better health, London, 2018
  • Exhibitions

  • Watch This Space,The Centre for Better Health, London. 2018; humbnails, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, 2018; White Noise, Royal College of Art, London, 2017; WIP Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2016; Group Show, Angus Hughes, London, 2015; UEL Fundraising Auction, Hoxton Arches, London, 2015; Contrast and Identity, Nolia's Gallery, London , 2014; UEL AVA Group Show, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, 2014
  • Awards

  • Certificate of Achievement for Adult Learners Week, Learn for Life 2012
  • Publications

  • The Guardian Newspaper November 2016 - Yvonne Roberts