Royal Academy success for local artist
23 Sep 2021
by Cathy Block

A painting by a Shrewsbury-based artist has been selected to hang in this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. The exhibition is the longest continuous staged exhibition of contemporary art in the world and has been held every year since 1769.

‘It takes a village’, a mixed-media paper and acrylic ink piece, is the work of Ali Wright whose studio is in St John’s Hill. It is currently hanging in Gallery 1 at the exhibition, alongside other artworks specially selected by the chair of this year’s judges, celebrated British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA).

Shonibare’s vision for this year’s exhibition, the 253rd, is ‘reclaiming the magic of art … a return to the visceral, joyful aspects of art-making,’ and even the hardest to please critics seem to agree that he has pulled it off: ‘This has never been so much fun,’ enthuses the Guardian, whilst the Telegraph calls it ‘a bold and refreshing takeover.’

‘The lockdowns of the last year gave me plenty of time to work on my art and friends have been telling me for years I should enter something in the Summer Exhibition,’ comments Ali. ‘The RA took 16,500 entries digitally and shortlisted 4,000. I then had to deliver the painting to London for judging and was delighted to hear it was among the 1,000 selected. I do a lot of work with textiles and in ‘It takes a village’ I was exploring the colours and textiles of the kitenge cloths worn by women all over Africa. Luckily for me, it was very ‘on theme’ for this year’s exhibition.’

The Exhibition is running at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly until 2nd January, but if you aren’t able to make it in person you can view all the artworks in the show at

Ali’s painting is already sporting the coveted ‘red dot’ – it was sold even before the exhibition opened – but she is currently taking orders for a small run of signed limited edition reproductions and can be contacted on Instagram @artbyalibi, or by email at

royal academy
Yinka and Ali