The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is by far one of the biggest events in any artist's calendar. Its unique celebration of contemporary art and architecture attracts artists, collectors and even regular gallery goers from all over the world every year. For this year's showcase, the RA dedicated its annual summer show to the ever-pertinent theme of climate change which, as could be predicted, had the entire industry talking.
Each year, the RA presents several prizes for outstanding works within the exhibition, all awarding a different art medium; from The Hugh Casson Drawing Prize and The Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture to The British Institution Awards for Students, the prizes have long since helped young artists and students alike with recognition for their work. Stepping up to offer support in the name of fashion is Burberry, whose award - The Thomas Burberry Prize for Print - makes up one of nine prizes available and offers £10,000 for a print in any medium. Judged by the fashion house's chief marketing officer Rod Manley and esteemed artist Grayson Perry, this year's lucky winner was Gaia Cains, thanks to her thought-provoking piece, Forgotten Cans.
'To win the Thomas Burberry prize is life changing, I can’t even put into words how happy and thankful I am to have been selected. Living in London has been a real struggle financially this year, but this prize will enable me to continue at UAL and to develop my artistic education. It will allow me to really explore and experiment with my artistic ideas and materials. I can now also consider the prospect and feasibility of applying to join the RA Graduate school to help fine tune my artistic skills post UAL and gain an understanding of how to be a successful artist.' Cains commented in a statement.
Not the first time Burberry have teamed up with the RA, it turns out the two have mutually supported each other on many occasions; spearheading the conversation concerning collaborations between the arts and fashion industries respectively. Acting as an official sponsor for the gallery's 2022 summer party (a role they also filled in 2021), the fashion house's work in supporting emerging talents aligns with the Royal Academy's increasingly modernist values - both wanting (and willing) to break down restrictive class, race and gender barriers that have forcibly remained in place for too long. The brand have also been known to financially support other art institutions, famously awarding £3 million to the Royal College of Art in 2017 to establish the Burberry Material Futures Research Group – the first of its kind in the world – and expand the Burberry Design Scholarship Fund in line with Burberry’s new five-year responsibility agenda.
The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition will be open to the public until 21 August.