Published On: Sat, Jul 29th, 2023

Rejects show celebrates stunning affordable art for all | City & Business | Finance

It’s a rebel with a cause and a must-see for the dazzling beauty on show – art exhibition REJECTS has opened in central London showcasing works submitted, but then rejected by the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Not making the grade has never looked so good and the exhibition is running now until Thursday August 3 in a pop-up art gallery in the heart of Bermondsey just south of the Thames.

The works, affordable, for sale and perfect to enhance any interior, are a selection from the 13,000 submissions that didn’t make it.

The outlier show is the brainchild of female gallerist and entrepreneur Shona Bland, founder of Art Friend (, a non-conventional, inclusive space that makes art accessible, inviting and fun by celebrating works from artists of all backgrounds and identities.

Strictly non-snooty, “this is a safe space where everyone can enjoy art – no stuffy vibes, no admission fees,” declares Bland.

“Art is subjective and should be enabled for everyone to make and buy, so instead we are welcoming the public and the art world, the collectors and the curious, to come see for themselves the pieces that won’t be in this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.”

The art is as eclectic as the artists themselves and in a variety of mediums.

Pieces on display range from large-scale abstract paintings, mixed media collages, and experimental photography to oil paintings and drawings, screen prints and embroidery.

“We set up Art Friend in an effort to make the art world more inclusive,” explains Bland.

“REJECTS is a small but mighty representation of how much talent and wonderful art is out there. There really is something for everyone.

“Artists are up against a huge amount of challenges, as is everyone. The industry at the moment just isn’t set up in a way that enables the marketplace in the right way.

“We hope that through REJECTS we’re giving more people a chance to feel empowered in their art creation, and for people to come by and judge what they like for themselves.

“Some of the biggest names in the art world were rejects once – and now Art Friend is showcasing the best of a new generation of rejects. You might just find an artist as talented as previous rejects such as Banksy, Edouard Manet and Rebecca Salter. The difference? You can probably still afford this art.”

Art lovers, collectors, everyone, this is for you.

Where: Unit 3, Larch Court, 156-170 Bermondsey Street, Royal Oak Yard, London, SE1 3GB, When: 11am–7.30pm Mon–Fri, 10am–6pm Sat, 11am – 5pm Sun, from 27 July to 3 August

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