The annual exhibition of artworks missed, unappreciated, misunderstood or sacrificed at the last minute by the Royal Academy Selection Committee is opening at Candid Arts Centre, Islington London on the 1st of June 2017. Now in its sixth year, the Salon des Refusés will feature over one hundred artists. All joining the illustrious company of artists going back to Monet, Manet and Whistler for example who were also initially rejected by the art establishment.
Anastasia Popoola, is the founder of Salon des Refuses which began in response to helping 12 artists from the Ukraine submit their artworks to the RA Summer Exhibition in 2012. It is extremely difficult for some International artists to get visas and flights and they were therefore unable to personally submit their works for the competition. To combat this issue Anastasia, along with her husband Olu, brought the 12 artworks in a handmade crate on a plane to London and submitted them to the RA. Despite this generous move all 12 were refused.
Anastasia was a firm believer in the quality of the artworks and that they had a story to share to the public. This, accentuated by the amount of effort undertaken to bring them to the UK, led to her looking for an alternative show for the ‘Rejects’. Apart from a one-off show organised in 2010 for rejects, there was no alternative but for Anastasia and her husband to organise and host it themselves. The news of this substitute exhibition spread amongst artists rapidly with the RA ‘refused’ artists feeling relieved that they could, after all, exhibit their works.
The name was easy. Taken from the historical Salon des Refusés of 1863 which had made such an impact in Paris at the time and as Anastasia says: “'refusés' sounds much nicer than 'rejects'”. It’s worth noting that this exhibition is not a direct copy of the Summer Exhibition at the RA. One distinct difference is that Anastasia and her team also introduced a democratic voting system. Everyone visiting the exhibition is invited to vote for their three favourite artworks. Following this the top 12 artworks chosen by the general public are announced. This is in direct opposition to the RA where this was and still is a privilege only the Royal Academicians can enjoy.
Inspired by the success of the first edition of Salon des Refusés in 2012, Anastasia organised it again the following year, and again, until it finally turned into an annual show. She is rightly proud of the success and how her team has grown. In addition she is very happy to see how the artists within the exhibitions succeed and get the recognition they deserve after exhibiting with her.“It's also very satisfying to see that our artists eventually do get selected by the RA and have their works exhibited at the Summer Exhibition, and even better - sold.”
About the exhibition and its history: What You Don't See at the Royal Academy
In its 6th year, Salon des Refusés Summer Exhibition is a collection of various genres and directions in the international art of today. A lot of artists who have exhibited continue their art careers and exhibit in leading art fairs and international galleries. Organised by Happenstance Art & Framing Gallery, it shows paintings, graphic and mixed media works, photographs, sculptures, prints, installations and video artworks.