Where to go this week - - by Jack Smurthwaite

The Burlington Gardens Festival at the Royal Academy

The Burlington Gardens Festival at the Royal Academy (IMAGE: Shepherd Manyika)

The Burlington Garden Festival is the place to be in London for Independence Day: everything about Piccadilly is going to be bustling, from Vera Tussing’s choreography to Royal Academy alumni’s installations on a temporarily pedestrianised Burlington Gardens.

We Out Here, based in the rarely-opened Royal Academy Schools’ ‘hidden link’, is, at one and the same time, a wonderful group show and a combined effort of revolt which seeks to work within the notion of an academy art exhibition but at the same time question that (so very European) institution.

The current Starr Fellow at the Royal Academy Schools, Felipe Castelblanco, has invited three international artists based in London to take up residencies as part of an extension of his practice as fellow at the RA – Melanie Coles, Serra Tansel and Shepard Manyika all have work showing at this week-long exhibition. We Out Here displays four artists’ work which defies the constructs of differing societies and circumstance: all the artists hark from outside of the EU (who, under the current government’s policies aren’t permitted to enrol at the Royal Academy). The practice of Castelblanco in inviting these under-represented artists in is a feat in itself and can be interpreted as a politically radical act against a society which can be seen to erase some of its most valuable cultural assets.

Shepard Manyika’s artist statement asks: “how does one prove his or her contribution to society if one is invisible in society”? This is a question which seems to sum up the entirety of ParaSite’s remit in critically confronting governmental stances on cultural polices while bringing in wider uncertainties around the power of artists in the world of today.

It will be, undoubtedly, a sight to be behold within a spectacle of institutionalised celebration.

Felipe Castelblanco is a Colombian/American interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of socially engaged and new media art. He is current Starr Fellow at the Royal Academy Schools.

Melanie Coles (b. Canada, based London) will be showing a video and sound installation documenting unexpected histories from the town of Oliver, B.C. Canada, accompanied by a performed text.

Serra Tansel (b. Istanbul, based London/Istanbul) will set up her tattoo stall “mobile text is the best”.

Shepherd Manyika: How does one prove his or her contribution to society if one is invisible in society?

The Burlington Gardens Festival, Royal Academy, 4th July 2015 12-6pm, click for more information


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