Saatchi Art’s Rising Stars is a list of emerging artists to watch, pulled together by the leading online gallery’s curators. Tackling social issues and experimenting with new technologies, these artists work across mediums including sculpture, painting, photography and mixed media. This year’s cohort features 27 artists from 13 countries, and here’s the talented Londoners who made the cut…
Photo: Bush Piccolo, Kirsty Sims
1 Benjamin Stephenson
Benjamin deconstructs colonialism and the idea of the exotic. He reimagine narratives surrounding these themes and their subsequent motifs, which have been mystified and romanticized in the Western canon. Drawing on the styles of Henri Rousseau and Paul Gauguin, Benjamin describes his practice as self-reflective, critical, and sometimes humorous, questioning and reimagining the myths of the Western explorer. He has exhibited his work across Mexico and the UK, including at the Angus-Hughes Gallery in London. In 2021, Benjamin exhibited at El Museo de la Ciudad and Outsiders Gallery in Queretaro, Mexico, and completed a residency at BEMA Espacio Cultural in Queretaro. Benjamin has worked with The RYDER Projects in Madrid and Hauser & Wirth in London.
2 Katie Burdon
Katie‘s figurative photography captures the complexities of the physical human condition. Her images emphasize both active movement and motionless contemplation, demonstrating the interconnection between the self, the other, and the natural world. Katie ultimately uses her practice to capture the human body through the historically underrepresented female gaze. In 2018, Katie’s work was exhibited at the 2018 Photo Vogue Festival in Milan, Italy. In 2019, she received the Palm Photo Prize at The Print Space in London.
3 Kirsty Sim
Concerned with the toxicity of social media and developments in artificial intelligence, Kirsty’s photography hints at humanity’s fragility in the digital age. In her series, Ambient, which was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2020, Kirsty uses the theme of daydreams to explore how different cultures and modern technologies can subvert the aspirations of young adults. Currently completing her MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art, Kirsty’s work has been exhibited internationally, at exhibition spaces such as the South London Gallery and the New School in New York City.
4 Nooka Shephard
Nooka’s figurative works aim to cultivate harmony with nature. Drawing on regional folkloric imagery and styles, Nooka combines the human form with elements of nature to create haunting images that take on a sacred aura, and spur us to consider our symbiosis with our natural environment. Nooka was a recipient of the 2020 Cass Art Prize and the 2017 Thomas Epsley Painting prize. They have also participated in shows across London at the Hari Hotel, Underground Flower Offspace, and Asylum Chapel.