CSM2021 highlights

This year, Central Saint Martins decided to do another online degree show. Art, fashion, photography studios within the 1 Granary building remained empty. The fully flocked degree shows are no longer filled with viewings, food/ alcohol, or even works installed. As sad as it may be, the experience to participate may even be harder for those (many!) International students of CSM - if the college decided to have one. Many countries still have travel restrictions and borders are still closed, not to mention the 10 days quarantine for those coming outside of the UK. As the UK prepares to return to normalcy that includes more gallery openings, new exhibitions, and even IRL graduate shows from other colleges in London - it might not be as easy for the rest of the world. With that being said, we want to dedicate this text as a way to support and highlight talents from Central Saint Martins in the field of Fine Art, Photography, and Fashion. We also want to give a special shout out to the MRes Art: Exhibition Studies, MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy, MRes Art: Moving Image, and other Fine Art programs that participated in the making of Exhibition as Process. They are paving a way to recreate traditional degree shows. This year alone, there are 50 public events, exhibitions and activities across the UK and the world. Check out Exhibition as Process as an archival platform for works of students that’s finished and the ones that yet are to take place.

Seli Korsi 

Winner of the LVMH Scholar L'oreal young talent award winner 2021, Seli combines fashion and paintings.  Graduated with a BA (Hons) Fashion: Fashion Design Womenswear, he made faint prints of faces on a thin fabric. Making it seem like something is coming in and out of focus, just like a dream - he described it as his “hazy state of mind”.  Under his amazing bulbous-shaped jackets and floor length dresses, there is a lot of pain and how he dealt with grief during the COVID pandemic. You can read more about his practice on the degree show page here.



Seli Korsi, Awake In Sleep collection, 2021



Faris Bennani 

Benani’s work explores the relationship between raw materials and fashion. His work is impacted by his family background. ‘With my dad being an interior designer/ sculptor and my grandad a painter – and by watching the process of their work – I have always been attracted to raw colors and materials like metal, latex, plaster’, he writes (savoirflair.com). His work is also massively influenced by his Moroccan heritage. The Moroccan elements can be seen from the textures, defined shapes and neutral colours of the clothing. You can read more about his practice on the degree show page here.


Faris Bennani, MY WEDDING collection, Look 5, 2021 





Kieu Ly Le

Experiencing weird and unusual dreams have often happened to us. It is especially strange to have these dreams because we don’t have complete control over them. So, how can they be a reflection of our emotional processes? In Le’s collection, she explores just that. She writes, ‘The collection is emphasising the reflections on the humans’ hard to control emotional state’. The key elements in her collection will be the 6 human’s emotional states which includes joy, anger, love, hate, greed and delusion/ stupidity. You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.



Kieu Ly Le, Love (ái) collection, 2021





Amber Healey 

Healey’s latest collection called ‘ME WATCHING YOU WATCHING ME’ was inspired by ‘the manifestation of feeling when you’re being observed’, she writes. This inspiration started during lockdown as she missed the feeling of ‘dressing up and being watched’ by people. She wanted to create a collection that is more personal to her by playing around with large volumes and unique silhouettes. Those are the substance of this collection. Dealing with delicate materials, most of the pieces resulted to be sewn by hand. You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.


Amber Healey, ME WATCHING YOU WATCHING ME collection, Look 1, 2021





Bunga Larascaesara 

Working in a coffee farm back in Indonesia, Bunga was keen to tell a story of coffee production. Seeing there was a lot of coffee waste from the roasting process, she became interested in exploring waste materials that she could turn into objects. She then amazingly turned those coffee waste into Wayang (shadow puppets) which became an object that tells quite a story. This can be seen from her project called ‘Dua Sisi’. She explains ‘Dua Sisi is not about solving the problem by creating a solution; it’s about making objects that tell a story. I want to raise awareness about the impact of globalisation in the coffee industry.’ You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.


Bunga Larascaesara, Shadow puppets from ‘Dua sisi’ (A Coffee Story), 2021



Claudia Gusella 

Gusella can make us believe that you can turn anything into a masterpiece. In her final collection, she uses different kinds of waste materials in the hope to ‘reduce the environmental impact of my practice to a bare minimum’, she writes. The idea of ‘overcoming trauma and finding acceptance’ is the foundation of her final collection, which speaks through the peculiar and distinctive silhouette of her pieces. ‘This final project allowed me to explore the different stages of this process and conclude with the egg dress, which is a testament to finding hope. I wanted to create a collection that talked about the last 15 months – the hardship, the fears, and finally the hope of a new start.’ You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.



Claudia Gusella, everything is great *, 2021



Hadiyah Hussain 

People say that we must never forget where we came from. In this project, Hussein explores her photographic journey celebrating and honouring her homeland and family. She asserts, ‘This project is a love letter to my dual British Pakistani upbringing and pays homage to the richness of my ancestry’. The inspiration behind her work was of her mother’s childhood home and the 1970’s interiors which she perfectly captures in her collection. Her photographs are ablaze with vibrant colours from the textiles worn by her chosen family to the background. You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.



Hadiyah Hussain, Community and Homeland, 2021


Ken Turner

Turner is a mixed media artist who has explored a wide-ranging media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, printing, video, photography, performance and digital media. Drawing and photography are however ‘two of the starting points for many of my practical exploration into mark making that extends and combines with other media including augmented reality’, he writes. 

‘Life is a journey and it is through the connections made, emotions experienced whilst traveling that my practice as a contemporary artist becomes manifest as a personal response to the urban and social, political environments that we live in today. This response is my attempt to make sense of my life experiences, whilst exploring and experimenting to identify new directions that utilise contemporary developments in media and methods that could enhance or expand my practice.’  

You can read more about his practice on the degree show page here.


Ken Turner, ‘I Don’t Like People’ – Mixed media screen print and hand drawing, 2021




Jamie Iain Genovese

A photographer from Malta with an academic background in psychology, Genovese tries to develop and experiment his photographic journey in a rather playful way. An impromptu work is the way to go for Genovese when it comes to creating pieces that produce the illusion of spontaneity. As he writes ‘the one common element in the works: not having a plan and having faith in a process’. This can be clearly seen from one of his works called ‘The Confederacy of Spite and Prestige’ that embodies ‘a series of limited edition prints of digital work, the six works are the product of a fun exercise in exploring content visually, with no thesis.’  You can read more about his practice on the degree show page here.




Jamie lain Genovese, ‘The Confederacy of Spite and Prestige’, 2021


Carlota Dos Santos 

A MullenLowe NOVA award nominee, Santos is a multidisciplinary artist who explores different forms of works such as performance art, photography and installation in different areas of art domain between Fine Art, Performing Arts and Fashion. She employs the human body as her medium and research focus of her work. She asserts, ‘In my practice, I search for sensations, through my bare feet. As my experimentation process evolves, there is a celebration of the human body with itself and the environment’. You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.




Carlota Dos Santos, ‘Bodies of Rhythm’, 2021


Lisa Marie Harris 

In the works of Harris, the body is explored through a hybridized approach to be understood as an object. Her work reflects the absence of a body together with the breaking-apart and putting-together of its form. Her work processes also revolve around reproduction, lineage and personal histories. As she writes, “This work brings together 'parts of a whole' in order to understand the tension inherent in the breaking-apart and putting-together of bodies, particularly when placed under duress, limitation and isolation. The works find their way through the conjoining of separate parts that bear; swell; tear; comfort; reject; hold; and morph into things vaguely resembling a body that once was.” 


Harris is the recipient of the 2021/2022 Helen Scott Lidgett Award. You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.


Lisa Marie Harris, ‘Triumvirate – The Ruling Parts’, Archival, saddle-stitched leather and linen 40 x 60 cm (each), 2021



Meriem Mecili 

Mecili's project focuses on the importance of immersing yourself in your culture and traditions and not completely dumbfounded by the impact of globalisation. She asserts, “This year my practise has been rooted deeply in my journey of ‘de-arabising’ my identity, my people and my country. Indigenous cultures have been suffering since civilisations were recognised and unfortunately have been rapidly losing their unique identities as ethnic cleansing has now become the norm due to its desensitisation from the internet.” She utilizes the Tuareg dialects of the Tamazight language to come into play in her work.


You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.


Yuge Hui 

The mixed media artist, Hui creates her astonishing works in the hope to unfold the sense of touch. Living in a life where we are highly dependent on the internet only questions Hui if touch has been changed. She continues to explore the mystery of touch behind the digital world. She writes, ‘Has touch, as people's most primitive social action, been changed by the development of the Internet? Whether or not touch has a digitalisation tendency to become an invisible touch on the Internet? Once the invisible touch is formed, it also forms a delicate relationship with the physical touch in real life, which is the main topic of the Interweaving series.’  You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.


Yuge Hui, ‘The ring of Saturn’ – Mix Media 30 x 30 cm, 2021



Bridget Swann 

When it comes to understanding selves vs. the world, Swann uses intersectionality in her works. She has always been fascinated by the science of art relating to the aspects of psychology and philosophy, the relationship between the physical and metaphysical properties of light and the idea of spacetime. She paints all her interests by using these vibrant and brilliant colours on voile panels.

‘I feel that the science of art can offer a deeper insight of how and what we can understand about the world and why. When studied by means of analysing what is uncovered through response, it can be a way for us to understand the relationship between not only self and others, but ourselves and the world around us- the point of perception.’ 

You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.

Bridget Swann, ‘Relational Conversations’ – Mixed media installation, oil on voile panels, steel sculpture, 2021






Zhengwei Li 

These adorable creatures may look sweet and loveable but they also symbolize the insecurity and curiosity of the painter’s life. Li’s curiosity towards the paradoxical sense of closeness in relationships and living as a female in patriarchal societies is demonstrated by these hares who some are ‘keeping alert, some are making a mess, some are having naughty games. They always react as if they do not belong to the environment’, she writes. (cargocollective.com)

You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.

Zhengwei Li, ‘Rabbit in the Forest 02’ – Acrylic on canvas 70x140 cm, 2021




Yunhang Huang 

There is something about Huang’s work that is so peculiar yet very fascinating and intriguing. This MullenLowe NOVA Award nominee investigates the impact of online by-products such as social media, short video apps and barrage websites through different media like paintings, installation, videos, etc.  You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.



Yunghang Huang, ‘Planet series 7’ – Digital painting 60 x 60 cm, 2021





Virginie Nugere 

Communicating through silence and immobility is Nugere’s specialty. She, who specializes in photography, performances and video uses those elements as a way to protest and a way to connect to the world. She writes, ‘My work starts from the diagnosis of a globalized “glitch'' in contemporary societies. Starting from this observation, I work following a journey of de-construction. Deconstruction of beliefs, thoughts and identity. This action of remaining silent and motionless is an act of protest, but also an invitation for the viewer to change his or her perspectives. I thus walk with the return to silence and immobility as a focal point.’  You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.



Silence and Immobility, 2021



Ziwei Lu 

Living the life of a barbie surely can be entertaining and fun. These are the perfect words to describe Lu’s ‘Chinese Barbie’s Chinese Friend’ project. However, there is complexity behind all the fun displays. Her work is filled with questions around ‘her (in)ability to see herself with complex questions around the (un)knowability of one’s self’. (ziweilu.art) She asserts, ‘My recent concerns include performative femininity, gender and race politics, cultural appropriation and the impacts of the “face value” economy.’ You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.


Ziwei Lu, Selected works from ‘Chinese Barbie’s Chinese Friend’



Maite Pereda

Fascinated by how colours can make you feel certain ways, Pereda is a Fine Art student from Mexico whose works revolve around exploring and understanding the use of colour to create stronger connections between the audience and the work displayed. ‘Having my interest in colour arises from the common ground that exists between my personal experiences with the effects of colour and my professional artistic practice. I try to use my work as a way to get familiar with both the far-reaching capabilities of colour and its resourcefulness when transforming everyday scenarios into desirable realities.’, she writes.  You can read more about her practice on the degree show page here.



Maite Pereda, ‘purple light’ – Acrylic on canvas 40 x 80 cm, 2021



Collaborative work of (Dandy-day Heffernan (Project Leader), Kerensa Star (Artist), Jade Guinard (Artist), Amelia Darcey Brewerton (invited artist locating work around the city on a billboard-on-wheels)

The Billboard project is a collaborative work of four remarkable artists. The work is precisely inspired by the Poll tax Protest that took place on the 31st March 1990. By observing some archival photos through historical protest sites, the artists are able to ‘explore the use of public space by society and how architectural scapes blend with nature and our human condition in terms of psychogeography.’ They continue to write that ‘The Billboard signifies capitalist advertisement, and the protest image contrasts against this standard expectation. Opposing anti-capitalist imagery allows for a new narrative that reflects, considers and challenges whether we have developed as a society.’  You can read more about their practice on the degree show page here.



Dandy-day Heffernan, Kerensa Star, Jade Guinard, Amelia Darcy Brewerton, ‘The Billboard’ - Poll tax protest 1990 revisited 2021


UAL Graduate Showcase was made possible in 2020 with the support of IBM. You can check out all of the UAL's 2021 grads here.