The Nature of Togetherness

Exhibition date​s: 2 July – 31 August 2021

This exhibition has been curated from RWA's Permanent Collection by Year 10 work experience students: Ava, Sophia, Ruqaya, Dylan, Sam and Angharad. The students themselves have written the interpretation, from this introduction through to the artwork labels. Click on an image to enlarge it and read the label.


This exhibition is built around the ideas of togetherness and hope. Intended to inspire and uplift, it may prompt you to reflect on how we have faced the challenges of lockdown together. During these tough times, it’s important to recognise the good around and inside each of us. Sixteen artworks from the RWA permanent collection, by artists such as Dr. P.J. Crook RWA MBE, Gillian Ayres OBE RWA and John Eaves, have been chosen to promote positive feelings.

As we begin to emerge from the third lockdown, we are looking for signs of hope as we wait optimistically for the time to come when we feel truly free to be together again. What have you missed during lockdown?

Arthur Edwards Milne’s painting, Minis and Maxis, reminds us that pre-pandemic we were free to squeeze up onto park benches, walk closely arm-in-arm and huddle around a pram to fuss over a young child. The warmth from the dappled light coming through the trees, the colourful gathered figures and crowdedness of a day in the park are depicted with energy and movement - something for us all to look forward to.

Artist P.J. Crook’s painting of an imaginary interior, La Prunelle de Mes Yeux (The Apple of My Eye), draws us into lively closeness with the characters in it. She says: “Some of those journeys that couldn’t be stopped through the pandemic were those flights of imagination through the mind.”

Sometimes words are not enough to express feelings. Bright, vivid and rich colours evoke feelings of joy, positivity and safety. Several abstract paintings in this exhibition are uninhibited in colour and shape, line and form. The RWA invites you to explore this wide range of styles, which demonstrates the power that togetherness gives us, especially during tough times.

This project is supported by DAC Beachcroft and National Lottery Heritage Fund.