A dark art gallery room. A floral carpet is on the floor and one wall of the gallery is covered with wooden crosses.

Ever wondered what artists do after exhibiting as part of New Contemporaries?

The annual exhibition was previously called Young Contemporaries. It shared art by students and was first hosted by the British Society of Artist Galleries in 1949. New Contemporaries became an independent organisation in 1988. Since then, they have held a vital role in the UK’s contemporary art scene.


New Contemporaries has highlighted the work of internationally renowned artists such as Paula Rego, Frank Bowling, Derek Jarman, Chris Ofili and Gillian Wearing. The organisation has also platformed exciting contemporary figures such as Tacita Dean, Sunil Gupta, Mark Leckey and Mona Hatoum.

But what do artists go on to do after the exhibition? We’ve tracked down some New Contemporaries alumni to see what they’re up to now. And there are lots of opportunities to catch up with them at exhibitions and events across the world!

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye was in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2004. Yiadom-Boakye is know for figurative painting of fictional people. She currently has a solo exhibition at Tate Britain titled Fly In League With The Night which runs until 26 February 2023.

Michelle Williams Gamaker was in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2001. The award winning moving image artist will present Our Mountains Are Painted On Glass, a solo exhibition at the South London Gallery opening on 18 March 2023. Since taking part in New Contemporaries her entire filmography has been recognised and preserved by the BFI National Film Archive, and in 2020 she was the joint winner of Film London’s Jarman Award.

Ufuoma Essi from Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020 and Ayo Akingbade from Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018 are both included in a group show at Cubitt, Cubitt 30. Since taking part in New Contemporaries, Essi has also been the South London Gallery postgraduate artist in residence in 2021.

Rene Matić was in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020. Following their solo show at the South London Gallery in 2022, this year their work will be shown in Austria for the first time. upon this rock is at Kunstverein Gartenhaus from 28 Jan-18 Mar 2023.

Rachel Maclean took part in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009. upside mimi ᴉɯᴉɯ uʍop, 2021 is the first time Maclean has working entirely with cartoon animation. In 2022, the film will be screened at Film Maudit 2.0 in January and at Berlin’s British Shorts Film Festival in August.

Lydia Pettit was in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2021. Pettit’s latest body of works is inspired by the representation of female victims and leading ladies in horror movies. Her solo show at Galerie Judin opens in April 2023 for Berlin Gallery Weekend.

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<p>Ufuoma Essi, <em>All That You Can’t Leave Behind</em>, 2019, (film still). Courtesy the artist.</p>

Ufuoma Essi, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2019, (film still). Courtesy the artist.

<p>Michelle Williams Gamaker, <em>Thieves</em>, (behind the scenes still with Ananya Jaidev as the Silver Maiden), 2022. Photo: Ellen Jane Rogers</p>

Michelle Williams Gamaker, Thieves, (behind the scenes still with Ananya Jaidev as the Silver Maiden), 2022. Photo: Ellen Jane Rogers