Continuing our in-depth look at recent UAL graduates, in this article we focus on Beverley Onyangunga – who completed an in MA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts – and Lucy Corwin, who completed an MA in Fine Art: Painting at Camberwell College of Arts.
Having graduated in 2020, both artists feature in the current UAL Graduate Showcase, which will remain available online until summer 2021.
Beverley Onyangunga – MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts
Beverley Onyangunga is a London-based artist who seeks to tell “untold tales – investigating the notion of identity, politics and race.” The work Beverley presented for the Graduate Showcase “questions the link between the rubber trade and conflict minerals in the Congo, highlighting notions of perspective, procession, perception and information.” Through her art, Beverley prompts viewers to consider where the materials that go into the technology and devices we use in our daily lives have come from, and whether the ideals of a “progressive society” are matched by more widespread “advancements within humanity.”
As someone of Congolese descent, born and raised in the UK, Beverley says that her interest in “what was going on within the Congo” became more pronounced in her late teens. “Both of my parents” Beverley explains, “were heavily engaged in staying up-to-date with the country’s politics, agriculture and economics. I would see them watch news outlets and platforms, such as TV5, France 24, Al Jazeera and Vox Africa. Of course, being in this environment made me want to know what was going on too. My starting point was to do my own research into the country’s history. From there, I started to realise that there was so much more to explore and understand.”
As part of her search for content and reference points, Beverley makes use of “found images from online news articles and blogs” as well as
books, such as Red Rubber, Scramble for Africa and King Leopold’s Ghost. Having completed her MA, she plans to continue to do more research and exploration, with “a few project ideas in line”, as well as “spending time applying for open calls and looking for studio space.”
Lucy Corwin – MA Fine Art: Painting, Camberwell College of Arts
An American artist based in London, Lucy Corwin is an oil painter who turned to digital art as her medium of choice during the pandemic. Lucy describes the digital collages she creates as being, “visually overwhelming, over-saturated in colour, and highly filtered to the point of unreality.” Using the “white female fitness influencer” as a visual reference point and archetype – “that embodies elements of popular feminism and neoliberal capitalism” – the work Lucy presented as part of the Graduate Showcase sets out to “examine notions of success, perfection, whiteness, and self-care.”
Discussing the experience of studying at Camberwell, and the contrast to her undergraduate degree at Davidson College in the USA, Lucy says:
“The teaching at Camberwell is exceptional. I found that every tutor offered a different perspective on my work and on areas of research I might explore. The general atmosphere of the MA Painting program was one of encouragement and generosity. My BA program (15+ years ago) was highly academic and gave me a solid foundation in understanding conceptual art and how to make and talk about art. However, the painting department in my BA was very much a tough love environment that offered minimal positive feedback. I found that the Camberwell MA, in contrast, encouraged curiosity, exploration, and potential failure in the pursuit of new ideas while constantly encouraging each student’s specific efforts. This environment fostered artistic and personal growth for many of us while helping us to hone our strengths and interests as we researched and made art.”
alking about the process of transitioning into that digital space, Lucy explains:
“I am a large-scale oil painter, but at the start of lockdown, I had to find new ways of creating that suited living and working in a small, shared London flat. I transitioned to making digital collages and GIFs using screenshots from Instagram, old photos on my phone, and pictures from the web. Doing work, seeing friends, and communicating with colleagues all began taking place on our screens due to the pandemic, so making art on my screen was a fairly seamless transition. I found that this way of working allowed me to move through ideas much more quickly than making an oil painting, which would take weeks or months at a time. Moving forward, I plan to continue to work through concepts and ideas digitally, while making paintings that coexist and engage with my digital art. I would love to show paintings alongside my GIFs when we’re able to have in-person exhibitions once more.”www.graduateshowcase.arts.ac.uk