Since 1997, the University of the Arts London have been showcasing the university's finest artistic talent through Xhibit. Set up by Kit Hammonds and Angela Robinson, the exhibition is open to all current students across all courses, making it a melting pot of artistic disciplines and points of view. This year marks Bustle UK's first time joining with UAL as media partner on the event, and sitting on the exhibition's selection committee offered a fascinating insight into the preoccupations of our most talented, creative minds. Amidst the doom and gloom of the news cycle, and despite the challenging nature of the subjects confronted, seeing the talent on offer felt like a much-needed burst of optimism.
To celebrate our participation, we're delighted to be honouring one exhibitor with the Bustle Vision Award. Selecting the winner with the brilliant team of editors who sit beside me in the Bustle offices provoked plenty of healthy debate, but the winning entry stood out because it made us all sit up a little straighter. At Bustle, our goal is to create content that is timely, relatable, and honest, and there are surely few among us who would look at the winning entry without having a "eugh, same" moment.
Below, we're also proud to spotlight the brilliantly broad work of female and non-binary artists exhibited in the show. "We throw at female artists this expectation that their work has to speak to the female experience," Eleanor Catton, author of the Man Booker prize winning book The Luminaries, once said. "And if it doesn’t, you’re letting the side down. Throwing this stumbling block in the way of female artists is counterintuitive." If the work exhibited proves anything, it's that the city's finest female and non-binary artists are telling their own stories, on their own terms. They are not trying to live up to anyone else's expectations. Read on to find out who won the award and to see the other fantastic entries.