British-Bangladeshi joins Royal Academy elite


Begum has been elected in the category of painting and joins sculptors Sir Anish Kapoor and Dhruva Mistry among those who can add RA after their names.
Begum has been elected in the category of painting and joins sculptors Sir Anish Kapoor and Dhruva Mistry among those who can add RA after their names.

RANA BEGUM, a visual artist who was born in Bangladesh in 1977, has been elected a royal academician (RA), the Royal Academy of Arts has announced, writes Amit Roy.

Begum has been elected in the category of painting and joins sculptors Sir Anish Kapoor and Dhruva Mistry among those who can add RA after their names.

One of the privileges she will now enjoy is that her work will be included in the Summer Exhibition should she choose to submit one or more of them.

According to the Royal Academy, which has 127 royal academicians in total, 80 aged under 75, and 47 over that age, “the work of London-based artist Rana Begum distils spatial and visual experience into ordered form”.

“Through her refined language of minimalist abstraction, Begum blurs the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture. Her visual language draws from the urban landscape as well as geometric patterns from traditional Islamic art and architecture,” it said.

“Light is fundamental to her process. Begum’s works absorb and reflect varied densities of light to produce an experience for the viewer that is both temporal and sensorial.”

It added: “In 1999, Begum graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design and, in 2002, gained an MFA in Painting from Slade School of Fine Art.”

Some of Begum’s previous exhibitions include: Is This Tomorrow? at the Whitechapel Gallery (2019); Space, Light & Colour, Djanogly Gallery (2018); Solo show, Tate St Ives (2018); Actions, Kettle’s Yard (2018); Women to Watch: Heavy Metal, NMWA Washington (2018); curated Occasional Geometries, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017); Space, Light & Colour, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich (2017); Tribute to Sol Lewitt, Gemeente Museum Den Haag (2016) and Flatland/Narrative, MRAC Serignan (2016).

Her forthcoming exhibitions include: Solo show at the Kate MacGarry (2020); Group Show, Istanbul Modern (2020); displays at the Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2020); and Solo show, Meads Gallery (2021).