RCA x WAF Creative Bursaries Artists Chosen

23rd February 2022
The Royal College of Art (RCA) and Wandsworth Arts Fringe are delighted to announce the recipients of four creative bursaries, which offer support to local artists and designers aged 16–25 years old.

The four artists work across different mediums – from painting and illustration to animation and games design – and draw upon their experiences, identities and locality to inform their work. They’ll now receive tailored mentoring and support from RCA staff and students, as well as financial support to take part in WAF 2022 and the opportunity to showcase their work in a group exhibition at Outlined Gallery in Nine Elms.

After the exhibition, which is set to take place from 10 to 26 June 2022, Outlined Gallery will feature each bursary recipient’s work on their website for 12 months with options to create prints for the public to buy – providing a financial revenue stream for each artist at the beginning of their career.

Meet the creative bursary recipients:

Sena Appeah

“I’m so thrilled to receive this award, especially as a lifelong resident of Wandsworth and local artist.”

Sena Appeah is a young visual artist based at the Barbican Centre. As an emerging artist, she has exhibited her contemporary fine artworks in various London galleries. The unique and surreal worlds Sena creates, characteristic of her style, stem from her self-taught practice as an oil painter. She is inspired by identity, imaginative freedom and philosophy.

Theo Chaudoir

“Making art is when I am most free, I feel humbled to be chosen for this award.”

Theo Chaudoir is a self-taught artist based in Tooting, whose work aims to explore how we engage with community life and various experiences in both a purposeful and psychological way. Theo said: “I’m excited to continue this journey of experimenting with new mediums through drawing and digital tools. Living in a city flowing with inspiration, I am motivated by its people and energy.”

Louis Morel

"I really can't believe this is happening."

Louis Morel works across drawing, sculpture, creative writing and games design, ‘exploring the line between cute, creepy and weird.’ Louis is an autistic artist who suffers with a chronic pain condition and severe sensory processing issues. This means he is extremely sensitive to sounds and smells in particular, making it very difficult for him to leave the house. Making art has been a way for him to process trauma and find meaningful ways of interacting with the world.

Merlin Summers

Thank you for this great opportunity.”

Merlin Summers was born in London and lives in Tooting with his family and dog, Arnie. Merlin is autistic with learning difficulties and is studying BA Animation at University West of England in his Foundation year, where his work is driven by his imagination and how everyday situations can become absurd and surreal. As well as animation, he enjoys scuba diving, hill walking, travel and learning to read and speak Japanese.

The winners were selected by a panel made up of Ken Neil, Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities at the RCA; Anna Vickery, Interim Arts Programme and Partnership Manager, Wandsworth Council; and Greig Scott, Joint Managing Director, The Logical Choice Group and Outlined Gallery.

Praising the breadth of applications for the bursary and quality of the winning artists, Ken Neil, Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities commented: “I was very impressed by the applications and the quality of the work being done. Our shortlisted artists are creating works that are connected in interesting ways to contemporary times, and to the experience of living in our city. I very much look forward to the exhibition opportunity for these artists and know that they will make very good use of the mentoring inputs as well.”

Wandsworth Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Open Spaces, Councillor Steffi Sutters, said: "We are delighted to be teaming up once again with the Royal College of Art to support young artists in the borough. Wandsworth Council is dedicated to developing young talent, supporting creative businesses, nurturing relationships with local cultural partners and building professional pathways for the next generation of artists and creatives. This partnership with the RCA builds on the wonderful success of the Wandsworth Artists’ Open House bursary scheme in 2018 and 2019, and it’s very exciting that Outlined Gallery, a new contemporary gallery for Nine Elms, will be exhibiting the work of these four talented local artists as part of their first Wandsworth Arts Fringe festival."