Updates from Mall Galleries - the national focal point for contemporary figurative art, and home to the Federation of British Artists. Includes written content and photo essays from our Exhibitions, Call for Entries, Art Consultancy.

Figurative Art Prize 2021 Winner | Kristian Evju


Kristian Evju was awarded the £5,000 cash prize for his painting Interventions IV, which captured the judges’ attention with its creativity, imagination, and excellent technique.

"His work appeals to me especially because of its smart combination of archival photography and geometric elements – a kind of collage that is clearly very meant but its meaning is teasingly unclear. Good looking and clever." - Jonathan Watkins, Director Ikon Gallery

Kristian talks more about Interventions, the series of drawings and paintings investigating early 20th century archives of female mugshots, which the winning work is part of.

Kristian Evju Interventions IV Mixed media 60 x 100 cm £9,500

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There is currently a growing suspicion towards information and an increased disillusionment towards our own recording of reality. We don’t trust images or statements fully anymore.

In Interventions, I wanted to execute a purely visual investigation of the moment between freedom and incarceration and use the found imagery as factoids, re-represented as fiction.

The idea of an image as an avatar is familiar to us through social media profile pictures, passport photos, or video games.

We have gotten used to feeling in control of how we present ourselves.

The mugshot is an interesting antithesis to this idea, where the individual is documented clinically in what often is a low point in their lives.

I am trying to rewrite these moments in my drawings by combining visual facts from different mugshots into fictional representations, thus perhaps protecting the referenced individuals and transporting them into completely new environments.

I make sure that I know nothing about the individual when I use their faces as references, thus making the found imagery the only source of information.

The latest series of work in the series was more closely based on the ideas surrounding the mugshot. All the figurative elements reference real mugshots from American and Australian prison archives.

Still, they are re-contextualised so that the individuals sometimes even share features or appear with a different body than their own.

I wanted these pieces to be more sculptural - more like a tablet than a framed painting.

I produced a series of panels made from poplar wood and aluminium that I assembled using polished and glued together perspex to form physical lines going through the format in place of the previously painted ones.

Some of the wood is exposed, and other parts are painted, either directly onto the wood or on paper stretched onto the wood. The sides of the panels are made from brushed aluminum sandwiched between poplar ply. 

As I kept working on the series of panels, a different kind of context started appearing - less formal, more monochrome, volatile, and theatrical. And towards the end of the series, there are clear signs of a shift towards something different - the start of a different, almost operatic approach. 

Kristian Evju Interventions IX 60 x 100 cm

Discover more about Kristian

Browse & Buy Figurative Art Now

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Kristian Evju, Interventions IV (detail)

Q&A with Maddy Buttling


We were delighted to award Maddy Buttling the Mall Galleries Prize for Best Figurative Painting at last year’s Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize.

The prize is 8 Free Entries to Calls to Exhibit (worth £180), so we were excited to see what work Maddy would submit, and then keep our fingers crossed that it would be selected for exhibition by the Society’s Selection Committee.

We were very pleased to discover that Goodbye Mitsubishi! Was selected for the New English Art Club Annual Exhibition.

Goodbye Mitsubishi! Oil 16 x 21 cm £480

On an intimately small scale, Maddy's paintings ritualistically stalk household pets. She devotes herself to unironically deifying the ephemeral pet while observing the humour and tenderness of the relationship between human and animal. Goodbye Mitsubishi! bids farewell to a longstanding family car

We asked Maddy a few questions about her practice:

Past or present, what artist from the NEAC do you most admire? Why?

Gwen John (1876–1939). She paints small-scale interiors with cats!

Gwen John Girl with a Cat 1918–22 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition? Why?

I enjoyed On The Sofa by Max White. Within the fabric of the sofa I see the suggestion of a small black and white dog, but I think White is allowing you to see the things you want to see in this ambiguous picture of happy solitude.

Max White On the Sofa Oil 16 x 16 cm £300

What gallery did you first sell a work at?

My first gallery sale was at the RA Summer Exhibition 2020, it was a small painting of my deceased hamster called ‘Dead Pierre’.

Dead Pierre Oil on plywood 14 x 14 cm

Where do you produce your best work?

Being around my dog helps. I plan paintings through spontaneously taken photos on my phone. Usually in domestic spaces. Grief is also a huge influence, this idea of memorializing through the grandeur of oil paint. I really started painting when my childhood dog died.

What brand / paints make up your palette?

I mix a lot of colour so control and accuracy with my paint is important for me. I lean towards brands with a high pigment load, such as Michael Harding and the Winsor & Newton Artists’ line.

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?


The New English Art Club Annual Exhibition runs from 25 June to 3 July 2021

Discover the whole exhibition

Book your timed ticket now

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Maddy Buttling, Goodbye Mitsubishi!

Climb every mountain, or at least, paint it

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Whether the lockdown has meant you have spent more time in nature, or been separated from it, we hope you enjoy this collection of paintings of rolling hills and soaring mountains produced by members of the Federation of British Artists as part of The Figurative Art Fair.

View The Figurative Art Fair

Frances Bell RP Bonfire at Akeld Oil on board £1,845 Buy this painting

"In early spring there are number of attractive bonfires on farm yards as they prepare for the coming summer. I love the rusett light and blue smoke." Frances Bell RP

Akeld is a village in Northumberland.

Toby Wiggins RP Burning Rock: Mount Elijah above Ano Boularii, Mid-afternoon Oil on canvas £4,500 Buy this painting

"Lemon yellow, red ochre and stark, bleached whiteness. Shards of rock push through dry stream beds, stunted leathery shrubs - needle, spike, spine and prickle all baked and cured in the fierce sunlight." Toby Wiggins RP

Toby Wiggins RP Mani Mountain Tower Oil on canvas £4,500 Buy this painting

‘...towers and walls that so exactly tallied in texture and colour with the stone crop of the surrounding hills that it was as if the landscape had shrugged them together into a system of lanes and shot those tall parallelograms into the air on a sudden subterranean impulse.’ Patrick Leigh Fermor 

Andrew Stock SWLA Alpine Ridgeway Watercolour £800 Buy this painting

"Alpine Ridgeway was painted in Austria (Gargellen) in February 2019. It was one of a series of Alpine paintings I worked on." Andrew Stock SWLA

Richard Rees PS Sahara Fort, Morocco Oil pastel on paper £525 Buy this painting

"The Fort is right on the edge of the great sand dune area south of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and near an area popular for overnight camel trips. The scale of the dunes is emphasised by the juxtaposition of the Fort in the foreground. The light is near sunset, which makes the sand glow and emphasises the sinuous form of the dunes." Richard Rees PS

Salliann Putman NEAC Black Hills Watercolour & gouache £775 Buy this painting

Clare Haward NEAC County Sligo Oil on linen on board £900 Buy this painting

Tessa Coleman NEAC Crushed Milk Bottle and Paper Bag Oil on gesso panel £1,500 Buy this painting

"This still life was playtime in the studio. I just grabbed a few odds and ends that were lying around and made the painting all about the colour and abstract shapes that came about by a haphazard arrangement of objects, observed up close from a low point of view. " Tessa Coleman NEAC

I think this looks like a mountain scene, so I included it in this collection!

David Allen RSMA Winter Sun, Bolton Abbey Oil £750 Buy this painting

Colin Allbrook RSMA RI River Taw 22nd April 2020 Oil on board £495 Buy this painting

"One of a series of the River Taw and valley opposite my house here in North Devon painted "pleine aire" during this current lockdown." Colin Allbrook RSMA RI

There are lots more landscape paintings in The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

The Figurative Art Fair is the only exclusively online art fair for the finest contemporary representational art.

Presented by the Federation of British Artists, The Figurative Art Fair features 248 works for sale by around 100 elected members of the country’s leading national art societies, including:

  • The Pastel Society (PS)
  • Royal Society of British Artists (RBA)
  • Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI)
  • Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
  • New English Art Club (NEAC)
  • Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA)
  • Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA)
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI)

Make a Donation

Exhibition Admission is usually £5. If you enjoy viewing the exhibition online, and could consider making a donation to help us through this period of closure, any amount would be greatly appreciated.

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Andrew Stock SWLA, Alpine Ridgeway (detail)

Paintings of Windows, Paintings from Windows

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If eyes are the windows of the soul, what meaning do windows have in paintings? Letting the light in, allowing us to breathe, giving us an escape, keeping us snug and safe when it is dark outside.

There are lots of windows in the paintings in The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

Tessa Coleman NEAC Rear Window Oil on canvas £1,900 Buy this painting

"This is a small painting of light-catching surfaces. The challenge here was how to capture a sense of Charlene’s features whilst looking directly into the light of the window behind her, as most of the time the details of her features were practically invisible against the light. I tried to keep the whole painting as minimal and as delicate as possible without losing the bite in the drawing.

I kept in mind Vermeer’s Lacemaker whilst grappling with Charlene, a painting unsurpassed in my view for containing an entire world in a tiny slice of life.

In Lawrence Gowing’s words: “The Lacemaker bends intently over her pursuit, unaware of any other happenings, it is perhaps the fact that she is so absorbed, enclosed in her own lacy world, that allows us to approach her so close.”

Looking at the painting up close one sees all surface light being described in marvellously delicate and subtle paint application, the red skeins of thread being spun into lace are utterly extraordinary, paint and thread simultaneously." Tessa Coleman NEAC

Melissa Scott-Miller RP NEAC RBA Irises on a Studio Stool by a Sunny Window Oil on canvas £900 Buy this painting

"This is a square oil painting of flowers next to a window on a sunny day, with closely observed and detailed rendering of the petals and painterly rendering of the artists' wooden paint-encrusted stool." Melissa Scott-Miller RP NEAC RBA

June Berry NEAC The African Violet Watercolour £800 Buy this painting

Andrew Farmer ROI Wild Flowers Oil on panel £450 Buy this painting

"An original oil painting from my ongoing Wild Flowers series, this piece was painted from direct observation. The flowers were collected during our daily exercise under lockdown here in the UK." Andrew Farmer ROI 

James Horton PPRBA Kitchen Interior with Tulips Oil on canvas £2,300 Buy this painting

Part of a series of Lockdown Interiors by James Horton, Past President of the Royal Society of British Artists.

Victoria Jinivizian NEAC Tidcombe Oil on gesso panel £2,100 Buy this painting

Steven Outram RBA Belonging Oil £2,300 Buy this painting

"Twilight - a figure on a path seeing a house surrounded by trees, with stars in a fading blue sky - seeing the beauty of place." Steven Outram RBA

David Poxon RI When We Were Young Pure watercolour £2,250 Buy this painting

Neil Pittaway NEAC Blue Danube Facade Pen and ink drawing on paper £850 Buy this painting

"This detailed dip pen and ink drawing is based from drawings I made on earlier trips to Budapest and Bucharest and is based on the Art Nouveau Architecture of both those cities and is a romanticised and imaginary interpretation of that period's architecture and culture with the title referencing Johan Straus' Waltz of the Blue Danube." Neil Pittaway NEAC

Rosa Sepple PRI Kitchen Window Water-based mixed media £2,450 Buy this painting

"The view through the kitchen window of a spring holiday home along the Cornish coast." Rosa Sepple PRI

Richard Sorrell RBA NEAC Memory Room Acrylic £825 Buy this painting

Richard Sorrell RBA NEAC Spring Indoors Oil £2,225 Buy this painting

There are other windows in the paintings in The Figurative Art Fair to explore...

View The Figurative Art Fair

The Figurative Art Fair is the only exclusively online art fair for the finest contemporary representational art.

Presented by the Federation of British Artists, The Figurative Art Fair features 248 works for sale by around 100 elected members of the country’s leading national art societies, including:

  • The Pastel Society (PS)
  • Royal Society of British Artists (RBA)
  • Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI)
  • Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
  • New English Art Club (NEAC)
  • Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA)
  • Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA)
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI)

Make a Donation

Exhibition Admission is usually £5. If you enjoy viewing the exhibition online, and could consider making a donation to help us through this period of closure, any amount would be greatly appreciated.

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Richard Sorrell RBA NEAC, Spring Indoors (detail)


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For almost as long as there has been painting, there have been paintings of dancers and people dancing. There are 9,000-year-old cave paintings of dancers in India, 5,000-year-old paintings of Egyptian dancers. Painters throughout the ages have sought to capture the movement, music and joy of dance in paint.

Members of the Federation of British Artists are no different, and here is a collection of contemporary paintings of Dancers from The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

Charles Williams NEAC Old People Dancing Oil on canvas £1,500

"Old People Dancing was an image that seemed to emerge unbidden while I was painting. I don't know why: it was about a month before the recent pandemic, so perhaps it was some kind of premonition." Charles Williams NEAC

Chris Bennett ROI Blue Girls II Oil on panel £3,600

Aimee Birnbaum RI Moving As One Watercolour embossed £800

"Moving As One is an embossed watercolour.  It is part of my series of dancers in perpetual motion. It is a metaphor for how we are with each other, reacting and balancing. My own dance training helps me to imagine the figures released from the normal constraint of gravity." Aimee Birnbaum RI

Aimee Birnbaum RI Spring Revelry Watercolour & etching £500

"Spring Revelry is about expressing a release of energy and life force, after a long period of hibernation." Aimee Birnbaum RI

Peter Clossick NEAC Degas Sculpture, Dancer Looking at the Sole of her Right Foot Pen & ink on paper £400

Tessa Coleman NEAC Robert The Dancer Oil on cradled gesso panel £4,500

"Robert is the most elegant of life models, as a professional dancer, he is extraordinarily lithe and flexible and holds a pose with impeccable grace. This is the quality I aimed to capture in this painting of Robert, done in the company of three other painter friends over the course of four painting sessions. It was one of those paintings that fell into place quite naturally, the fineness of Robert’s bone structure and his supple and upright pose reflected in the elegance of the house plants that he is nestled behind.

Painting fabric folds and patterns is not the specialist subject is used to be now that everyone wears jeans, but working out how to paint Robert’s kaftan reminded me of the airy Philip Pearlstein portrait of Linda Nochlin and Richard Pommer I saw a couple of years ago in New York. In the painting Linda Nochlin is wearing a blue and white geometric patterned dress and Philip Pearlstein has painted the folds of the material and the fall of light so precisely, yet with such lightness of touch: paint and fabric at the same time, hard to do and wonderful to look at." Tessa Coleman NEAC 

Ian Cook RI Rehearsal Steps Oil & acrylic £850

"A novice dancer makes tentative strategies on the dance floor, pointing her foot in the pattern of aesthetic hopscotch, visible only to her." Ian Cook RI

Raymond Leech RSMA Arabesque Oil £1,875

Julian Bailey NEAC Bather, Tasmania Oil £4,200

Can you spot the paintings of Singer and Musicians in The Figurative Art Fair

View The Figurative Art Fair

The Figurative Art Fair is the only exclusively online art fair for the finest contemporary representational art.

Presented by the Federation of British Artists, The Figurative Art Fair features 248 works for sale by around 100 elected members of the country’s leading national art societies, including:

  • The Pastel Society (PS)
  • Royal Society of British Artists (RBA)
  • Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI)
  • Royal Society of Portrait Painters (RP)
  • New English Art Club (NEAC)
  • Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA)
  • Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA)
  • Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI)

Make a Donation

Exhibition Admission is usually £5. If you enjoy viewing the exhibition online, and could consider making a donation to help us through this period of closure, any amount would be greatly appreciated.

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Aimee Birnbaum RI, Moving as One (detail)

Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA - Art in Lockdown

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Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA speaks about her life and work from her home studio during lockdown.

Cheryl currently has work in The Figurative Art Fair, the only exclusively online art fair for the finest contemporary representational art.

Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA Sunflowers (2018) Pastel, 85 x 48 cm, £950

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Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA, Sunflowers (detail)

A personal message from CEO of Federation of British Artists & Mall Galleries, Clare O’Brien


Hello everyone!

Little did I suspect when I joined the Federation as CEO just over a year ago what a tumultuous period would await us this spring!

After a wonderfully strong 2019, we enjoyed a powerful opening to this year by showcasing young talent with our FBA Futures exhibition, plus great crowds and sales at the eagerly awaited annual shows of The Pastel Society and Royal Society of British Artists.

But then everything changed and, like the rest of the world, in March, we urgently had to respond to the Coronavirus emergency. We scrambled our excellent team, notified our artists and stakeholders. We then quickly closed our beloved Mall Galleries -  simultaneously scaling up our digital operation like never before.

It says a lot about our dedicated staff that, on that last day,  we opened the locked door to one lone visitor at the eleventh hour – a lady who had travelled 2 hours to come and see our Portrait Journey exhibit. Our receptionist gave her a quick ‘private tour’ and she then rushed home. Little did she know she was our last visitor to the Mall for what will be many weeks….

The doors may be shut but the message is we are proudly open for business – and our Member artists are more than ever the heart of what we do. We call them the FBA600 (actually the number fluctuates between 580 and 610 depending on arrivals and departures!).

Across our nine Art Societies, they represent the front bench of British painting (and more). They are now, like the rest of us, in isolation, in lockdown, but are highly active preparing and in many cases taking inspiration from the challenge of the times.  Tim Benson, President of Royal Institute of Oil Painters puts this across in his inspiring short video.

Over the coming weeks you’ll see more of our artists’ work and stories online and for our current exhibition the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours we are doing virtual versions of tours and demonstrations.

Deborah Walker RI RSMA Be Still

Video links are now a key part of my daily life and it really helps keep our team of 21 or so in touch and motivated on the job in hand. Thinking differently is a key part of our response – as well as planning for a wonderful reopening. We are exploring our first video conference for life drawing with the Hesketh Hubbard Society, and exploring with our portrait artists the opportunity of ‘zoom sittings’. Watch this space!

We’ve had lots of messages of support and goodwill from Friends, supporters, artists and many across the art and media world. And our dedicated board is very active. We have quickly adapted to this new world and it’s encouraging that our first exhibitions online are getting a lot of attention  - and audiences are snapping up the artworks (for which thank you).

Do take a look at some of our April initiatives, and I hope you make our website a regular destination. If you don’t already, you can subscribe to our e-newsletter or follow us on social media via the links in the footer.

I do encourage you to join so we can keep in touch with you. There’s lots coming in the next few weeks!

Like many small businesses, and especially charities, the FBA operates on a financial knife edge. Our wonderful location on The Mall is a great asset but it is, of course, a significant cost when we can’t welcome visitors to our exhibition, shop and café; and can’t sell artworks or hire the space. Like other organisations, we are ‘furloughing’ some of our staff so we can keep the expertise available to us when we can’t directly use it – such as our front of house and shop team. We are exploring all funding avenues to help us through.  But the hard fact is we do need the public support to keep the ship afloat.

Rob Pointon ROI Visitors the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition

The very best way you can support is to buy a work of art from our online collections or consider a commission. This of course directly provides income to artists who often have no other source. And it makes a critical contribution to our running costs. As well as the current exhibitions we have just launched a new general collection on our Buy Art | Buy Now platform. There is a new free online catalogue for you to browse here.

If you are already a Friend of the Mall Galleries, thank you and please remain.  If you are not, please do consider joining, we can offer lots of engagement even in this lockdown.

With best wishes for the Spring

Clare O'Brien

April at Mall Galleries


Though the gallery is closed to the public Mall Galleries remains busy and open online.

This month we have been celebrating the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. 

Available exclusively online, the exhibition is the largest of its kind in the world. Last week, despite the gallery closure, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours were able to award 18 prizes to artists with the support of their generous prize-givers.

From Exhibitions, Events and Call for Entries, below is a round-up of all that is happening at Mall Galleries in April, including details of the prize-winning watercolour artists.


As always, work from the Federation of British Artists Annual Exhibitions is available to browse and buy online. We would like to thank those who are continuing to buy work during this time and helping to support the Federation and our artists.

The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world, showcasing over 400 of the best contemporary water-based media paintings from around the globe.

Deborah Walker RI RSMA Quiet Watercolour 89 x 147 cm £5,300

Showing a diversity of styles and techniques, the exhibition is an annual survey of how contemporary artists are using this age-old medium and a great place to pick up vibrant, original works with prices starting from £350.

Discover the exhibition now

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition is online now to browse and enjoy. There is always so much to see in this exhibition, from the faces depicted in the portraits, both famous and unfamiliar, to the wide variety of high-quality paintings. It is a celebration of the very best in contemporary portraiture nationally and internationally.

Peter Brown PNEAC RP ROI PS Hon RBA Hattie in the Yellow Room

To encourage this unique genre, we run a commissions service throughout the year to help you commission a work of your own.

Our Head of Portrait Commissions Annabel Elton is available to discuss any portrait commission enquiries you may have.

In an upcoming series, Annabel describes portraiture as something that "brings happiness, hopefully, it shows love, and is a legacy of an object of beauty, as well as a sentiment to cast into the future."

Begin your Portrait Journey with our Commissions Service


Though we cannot welcome you to the gallery at the moment we are continuing on with our much-loved Drawing Sessions. Join us as we travel via webcam to the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Jose Gonzalez-Bueno’s Trevi Nocturne will act as our inspiration as we all sit down in front of our computers between 10 am and 12 noon on Thursday 16 April with our sketchbooks, pencils and paint and watch the live feed from SkyLine Webcams and draw along.

Drawing Session: The Trevi Fountain

On the Blog

We have continued to publish articles to our blog, and our artists have responded magnificently to the closure of the gallery in helping us to do this.

Via text, audio, video and images the prize-winning works from the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours can be found here:

George Butler, who won the Winsor & Newton Award discusses his work.

During the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Paul Banning RI RSMA was due to discuss his sketchbooks in the gallery. Instead, he has written of his experiences of sketching around the world taking us on a tour from an old cobblers shop in Holland to Petra and on to his birthplace, Trinidad.

Similarly, Tony Hunt RI has for several years given informal tours of the exhibition. Tony's starting point is to look for paintings which change or expand our ideas of what a watercolour painting is and he writes of how artists in the exhibition are challenging some of the traditional conventions of watercolour painting.  

Watercolours on the blog:

Buy Art

Our online sales platform continues through this period and we have a new selection of almost 100 works available to buy now. You can discover the works via our Issuu catalogue or via the link below

Buy Art | Buy Now

Rob Pointon AROI Visitors to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition £1,650

Rob Pointon's Visitors to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition typifies a lot of what Mall Galleries and the Federation of British Artists is about. Art lovers intensely enjoying the work on the walls while one of our member artists is present and creating in the gallery. Something we will see happening again soon.

Call for Entries

At the end of April, the Royal Society of Marine Artists Call for Entries opens for their Annual Exhibition that we will host in the autumn. 

In 2018, Frances Bell RP was awarded the New Generation Award. In the video below, Frances talks inspirationally about the beauty and challenges of painting the marine environment.

Discover last year's prize-winners from the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibitions 


Your Support is Key

The FBA’s unique charitable role in supporting British artists, at the heart of which are 600 member artists, will continue as we present a crop of new work online to browse and enjoy - but also to buy. You can make a donation below or click here to discover more about donating to the Federation of British Artists

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Keep up to date with what's going on at Mall Galleries by signing up to receive our e-newsletter

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Rob Pointon Visitors to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition

FBA Futures 2020 | Prizes & Awards


Prizes were awarded at the Private View of FBA Futures 2020 at Mall Galleries on Tuesday 7 January.

Mall Galleries would like to congratulate all prize winners for their outstanding work.

FBA Futures is open at Mall Galleries until Sunday 18 January.

Work from the exhibition is available to browse & buy now  

The Hottinger Prize

Tobi Alexandra Falade for her work Between Two Worlds and My Other.

Tobi's oil paintings and sculptural works explore the duality of her past and present, and her belief that a ‘shadow self’ continues to live on in Nigeria. Derived from found family photographs, and Falade’s own photographic images, and using collage and printmaking, the works uneasily conjoin two constantly merging and separating worlds, with the subject unable to fully identify with one or the other. Falade’s bronze work in the form of masks develops the idea of the shadow self by regenerating past histories in the contemporary diaspora through the Ife and Benin mask traditions of her Yoruba ancestors. Her painting Between Two Worlds has been purchased for the Höttinger collection, which includes contemporary art by artists exploring notions of family, trust, identity and home.

Ally Hunter, Director, Hottinger Capital Partners said, “Tobi’s artwork stood apart as being both original and incredibly powerful. We are thrilled that she will be the fourth recipient of the Hottinger Prize, and truly excited about how her creative practice will develop. In making this award, we are delighted to be supporting another art graduate from the outstanding showcase selected by the Federation of British Artists”.

The Minerva Prize

Lydia Blakeley Is This Internet Art (2)

The work is a series of eight small paintings based on a meme of Persian Cat Room Guardian (2013), an animal sculpture by Anya Boz, originally created to protect the home from negative energies. After the artist posted an image of the cat online it became – without her permission – a viral meme, captioned with text about annoying situations to which the cat appears to be reacting.

Marine Tanguy, judge for the Minerva Prize and founder of MT Art Agency said, “‘I was impressed by how Lydia Blakeley’s paintings reflect on the speed of contemporary consumer culture, whether it’s the excesses of the retail sector or online media, and the aspirations to change this. Lydia is a passionate, ambitious and visionary artist who deserves every success in her career.”

Be Smart About Art Award

Won by Alexandra Searle

Alexandra wins £500 worth of mentoring from Susan Mumford, founder of Be Smart About Art.

FBA Futures continues at Mall Galleries until Sunday 18 January. Admission Free. 

Work from the exhibition is available to browse & buy now  

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Lydia Blakeley Is This Internet Art (detail)

Introducing FBA Futures 2020


Mall Galleries is pleased to present the eighth edition of FBA Futures, the UK’s largest annual survey of emerging contemporary figurative art, mapping new practices and ideas of representation and draughtsmanship.

In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in figurative art emerging from British art schools and more generally in the wider art market. FBA Futures, as a survey of figurative art by new graduates, has been enriched and diversified by the way early-career artists are embracing and experimenting with the genre.

Within this agora of voices surface themes that stand out each year, illuminating the preoccupations of the next generation of artists. For example, bodies abound in this exhibition, and in the wake of the #MeToo movement, particularly so from female artists exploring their own through a feminist lens or challenging the male gaze in the history of painting. 

Amy Steel A Long Last Look

Amy Steel’s neolithic mound in Silbury Hill draws comparisons with the female body, and is shown being discussed by male archaeologists with their backs turned to it in an unconsulted dissection of its form and function. Nearby, Miranda Forrester’s translucent bodies painted on stretched plastic are drawn from a life drawing class for womxn of colour, a safe space to combat the fetishization of black women’s bodies.

Miranda Forrester Naked Truth Series

As if to complement the Body, a theme of the Mind: a reoccurring thread of memory. Alex Clayton’s tapestries in a technique taught by a Finnish grandmother are the product of personal and collective memory. Seungwon Jung’s Rock, also tied in knots of yarn, traces the Earth’s geological memory, a vertical history, drawn from a digital archive.

Tobi Alexandra Falade unpacks her Yoruba, Nigerian and British histories: generational memory impacted by colonisation, migration and diaspora. Eleanor Watson’s tiny oils of objects from stately homes built on the wealth of the Empire confront ideas of nostalgia in British history and remind us that some histories require an active unforgetting.

Tobi Alexandra Falade Between Two Worlds

FBA Futures 2020 is comprised of the artists who will go on to shape the future of figurative art and they will join seven previous years of rising stars whose work we see in museums and galleries around the country.

We would like to thank our exhibition sponsor Minerva, without whose support this exhibition would not happen and in particular Minerva’s CEO, Ben Tucker, for his individual support along the way.

Anna Bromwich, Curator, FBA Futures

FBA Futures 2020 runs until Sunday 18 January. 

Discover the exhibition now

Image credit

Amy Steel A Long Last Look (detail)