At a recent General Assembly meeting, the Royal Academy of Arts elected three new Royal Academicians: Michael Armitage, in the category of Painting, Peter Barber, in the category of Architecture, and Ryan Gander, in the category of Sculpture. Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and Hisham Matar were elected as Honorary Fellows.
Michael Armitage, RA Elect (Category of Membership: Painting)
Michael Armitage was born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya. He works between Nairobi and London. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2007) and has a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London (2010). In September 2020, Armitage opened a solo exhibition, Paradise Edict, at the Haus der Kunst,
Munich which toured to the Royal Academy of Arts, London in May 2021. The exhibition included a collaborative project with the Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute, a non-profit platform that Armitage is developing with the director, Ayako Bertolli. While in Germany, Armitage was awarded the 6th Ruth Baumgarte Art Award.
Ryan Gander OBE, RA Elect (Category of Membership: Sculpture)
Ryan Gander is an artist living and working in Suffolk, UK. Over the past two decades, Gander has established an international reputation through a vast and pluralistic body of artworks that materialise in many different forms, ranging from sculpture, apparel and writing to architecture, painting, typefaces, publications and performance. As well as curating exhibitions, he is a committed educator, having taught at international art institutions and universities, and has written and edited a variety of books and presented television programmes on and about contemporary art and culture for the BBC.
Gander is typically described as a conceptual artist, but this is a term he has refuted, referring instead to himself as ‘a sort of neo-conceptual no-style-style amateur philosopher’. Through associative thought processes that connect the everyday and the esoteric, the overlooked and the commonplace, Gander’s work involves a questioning of language and knowledge, a reinvention of the modes of appearance and creation of an artwork. His work can be reminiscent of a puzzle, a network with multiple connections, the fragments of an embedded story, a huge set of hidden clues to be deciphered, encouraging viewers to make their own connections and invent their own narrative in order to solve the charade with its many solutions, staged by the artist.
Gander studied at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL and the Jan van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, NL. The artist has been a Professor of Visual Art at the University of Huddersfield and holds an honorary Doctor of the Arts at the Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Suffolk. In 2017 he was awarded an OBE for services to contemporary arts. In 2019 he was awarded the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University.
Peter Barber OBE, RA Elect (Category of Membership: Architecture)
Peter Barber studied at the University of Sheffield between 1980 and 1983 and at the Central London Polytechnic from 1984 to 1986. Peter worked with Richard Rogers, Will Alsop and Jestico+Whiles prior to establishing his own practice in 1989. He is currently a lecturer and reader in architecture at the University in Westminster. Over the last 30 years Peter has designed a significant number of award-winning housing projects. Peter was awarded the Royal Academy Grand Prize for Architecture in 2015 and numerous RIBA and Housing Design Awards. Peter was awarded an OBE for services to architecture in the Queen’s Honours List 2021, the AJ100 Contribution to the Profession Award 2021 and the RIBA Neave Brown Award for Housing.
He has lectured about the work of the Practice at many institutions, including the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Architectural League in New York, and numerous international and domestic university schools of architecture including Helsinki, Pretoria, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Munich, Genoa Istanbul and Colombo as well as Oxford University and The Bartlett – University College London. In 2019 his work was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition entitled “100 Mile City and Other Stories” at the London Design Museum. He has been described by the Independent as one of the UK’s leading urbanists.
Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, FMedSci
Professor Gilbert joined the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University in 1994 and became part of the Jenner Institute (within NDM) when it was founded in 2005. Her chief research interest is the development of viral vectored vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T and B cell responses. She leads the Jenner Institute programme in influenza vaccine development and now also works on vaccines for many different emerging pathogens, including Nipah virus, MERS, Lassa virus and CCHF virus. Professor Gilbert’s work also focuses on the rapid transfer of vaccines into GMP manufacturing and first in human trials. This is achieved through collaboration
with colleagues in the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility and Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, all situated on the Old Road Campus in Oxford.
Professor Gilbert is currently the Oxford Project Leader for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This vaccine, tested by the University of Oxford in clinical trials of over 23,000 people in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, is now in use in many countries around the world in the fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic. Professor Gilbert said: ‘I have worked in the development of vaccines against infectious pathogens for many years and in the last 2 years have been able to draw on all that I have learned in order to respond to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. I have been so fortunate to work with a very talented and dedicated team who made it possible to develop a vaccine in less time than anyone thought possible.’
Born in New York City to Libyan parents, Hisham Matar spent his childhood in Tripoli and then in Cairo. He has lived most of his life, since the age of fifteen, in London. He is the author of the novels In the Country of Men and Anatomy of a Disappearance, and the memoirs The Return and A Month in Siena. He has won numerous prizes, including a Pulitzer, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His work has been translated to more than 30 languages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in London and New York City, where he is a professor at Barnard
College, Columbia University