Slade School of Fine Art

UCL

Two Slade students interview four Slade alumni about their path to and through art education, their experiences along the way and what they are doing now.

This project shows the differing art education journeys people take and we hope this inspires you to find out more about studying fine art.

Responding to the Slade students’ questions, the artists speak honestly about how they supported themselves through their studies, navigated challenges and how this has affected what they do in their careers now.

Slade student Remi Ajani interviews Slade alumnus Alvaro Barrington

Alvaro Barrington, artist bio:
Born in Venezuela to Grenadian and Haitian migrant workers, Alvaro Barrington was raised between the Caribbean and Brooklyn, New York, by a network of relatives. An unwavering commitment to community informs his wide-ranging practice alongside an exploration of migration and cross-cultural exchange. While Barrington currently considers himself primarily a painter, his artistic collaborations encompass exhibitions, performances, concerts, fashion, philanthropy and contributions to carnival and the Notting Hill Carnival in London. His approach to painting is similarly inclusive – embracing non-traditional materials and techniques such as burlap and sewing – and infused with references to his personal and cultural history.
Barrington studied at Hunter College, New York, and the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where he has lectured since 2019. His first solo exhibition, which opened the same year he graduated, was curated by Klaus Biesenbach at MoMA PS1, Queens, in 2017.
Website: www.ropac.net/artists/27-alvaro-barrington/

Slade student Harpreet Uppal interviews Slade alumna Sara Naim

Sara Naim, artist bio:
Artist Sara Naim (b. 1987, London) is of Syrian origin, growing up between Dubai and London. Her practice investigates human perception through scientific and existential modalities of seeing. Also fundamental to her practice is the notion of boundary, which she explores through visualizing micro-formations and their surrounding sinuous lines. She often uses scientific apparatus to make her sculptural photography, video and installation works.
Sara lives and works between Dubai and London.  She received her MFA in Fine Art Media at The Slade School of Fine Art, London (2014), having completed her Bachelors in Photography at the London College of Communication (2010) and Art Foundation at Chelsea College of Art (2007). Her selected solo shows include Building Blocks, The Third Line, Dubai, (2019), Reaction, Parafin, London (2018), When Heartstings Collapse at The Third Line, Dubai (2016); Heartstrings at Concrete, Hayward Gallery, London (2016).
Website: www.saranaim.com

Slade student Remi Ajani interviews Slade alumnus David Blandy

David Blandy (1976, lives & works in Brighton) investigates the stories and cultural forces that inform and influence our behaviour. Collaboration is central to his practice, examining communal and personal heritage and interdependence. He has developed a gaming art practice writing original role-playing game’s, examining social justice, climate change and posthuman futures. He works in installation, performance, writing, gaming and sound, and has had national and international solo exhibitions of his work. He is represented by Seventeen Gallery, London.
Website: www.davidblandy.co.uk

Slade student Harpreet Uppal interviews Slade alumna Emma Hart

Emma Hart, artist bio:
Emma Hart lives and works in London. In 2016 she won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery. In 2015 she was awarded a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award for Visual Art. In 2022, Hart will realise her first permanent sculpture for the public entrance of the UCL East, Pool Street West building, on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Be Some Body, The Sunday Painter, London (2020); Banger, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2018); Mamma Mia! Whitechapel Gallery and the Collezione Maramotti, Italy (2017); Commercial Breakz, Frieze Art Fair, London (2017); Love Life with Jonathan Baldock, Peer, London, The Grundy Gallery, Blackpool and De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2016-7); Giving It All That, Folkestone Triennial (2014); Dirty Looks, Camden Arts Centre (2013).
Hart received an MA in Fine Art from the Slade in 2004 and completed her PhD in Fine Art at Kingston University in 2013. She is represented by The Sunday Painter, London.

Student Interviewers

Remi Ajani, artist bio:
Remi Ajani is a London-based artist currently studying at the Slade School of Fine Art. Her work deals with colour and gesture and is connected to an understanding of self and identity. Ajani explores painting as an outlet for radical self-expression and truth. Her work seeks to create an atmosphere and explore a sense that transcends the image and speaks to duality, longing and visibility. Inspired by her interest in phenomenology, she investigates how to make  work that allows viewers to connect with a shared emotional space and how in turn this emotional space can be transferred to a surface.
Website: www.remiajani.com

Harpreet Uppal, artist bio:
Harpreet Uppal is a British Indian artist based in South East London. At its core, her practice is about engaging with aspects of spirituality. She is particularly focused on the interpretation of Divine Feminine energy and how it exists in a modern society. Her work often explores escapism through alternate dimensions and realms. During the course of the pandemic, painting became her medium of choice, as she was best able to navigate her emotions and experiences. Her paintings are vibrant and beaming with energy. There is a vast amount of detail within each piece and every element is vital. Additionally, Harpreet brings a depth of meaning to the medium of photography, with striking double-exposures that layer omnipresent figures with spiritual imagery.
Website: https://instagram.com/Harps11/

Applying to the Slade

Further information about our degree programmes can be found in the Degrees section of the website.

For any questions about applying to the Slade, please contact us at: slade.tlo@ucl.ac.uk

Acknowledgements

This project was made possible by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Small Grant. It was won by Rebecca Loweth, Slade alumni, artist and Associate Teaching Fellow who also produced the films. The films were edited by Sara Borga, Slade alumni, artist and independent researcher.