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Bloomberg New Contemporaries: Scottish Connections

By Gemma Batchelor, 20.02.2024
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Thomas Cameron, Delivery, 2022

Thomas Cameron, B. 1992 

Helensburgh-born Thomas Cameron graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2014 and went on to City & Guilds of London for his Masters. He is a painter, whose main subject is the everyday. In Cameron’s canvas shown at the Camden Art Centre, a Deliveroo driver buzzes for entry to what appears to be a modern apartment complex. We cannot see their face and this anonymity is one of Cameron’s motifs, as he focuses his paintbrush on overlooked, urban moments. Here he imbues an ordinary scene with visual appreciation, although there is a certain level of tension knowing that this delivery driver might likely be taking part in strike action this month over poor pay. One might consider Cameron to be part of lineage of artists drawing on Edward Hopper, looking to the American realist’s combination of aesthetics and intrigue in everyday, modern moments. One might also be drawn to think of fellow Scottish artist Caroline Walker, who adds grandeur to otherwise overlooked, intimate snapshots in women’s lives.

Cameron’s work is held in the collections of The X Museum, Beijing, China; The University of Dundee, UK and The Tayside Medical History Museum Art Collection.


Jame St Findlay, Death Knell, 2022

James St Findlay, B. 1994 

Born in Perthshire and Kinross-shire, James St Findlay studied at the Edinburgh College of Art before later enrolling in the Royal Academy of Arts hallowed postgraduate programme, where they continue to train. St Findlay is a cross-disciplinary artist working with film, performance and sound. Death Knell investigates the mental state of an office worker after a life spent working for an anonymous corporate entity. For much of the film the office worker (the artist themself), wanders through a forest, their office clothes much out of place amongst the historic trees and occasional horse rider. This masquerading as a heterosexual everyman is a method often used by St Findlay in their film and performance, as part of an absurdist tonic for something more melancholic. There is a contrast in the film between a surreal other worldliness, accentuated by the eerie score, and the mundane. In their wider practice, St Findlay is drawn to narrative of collapse, the melodramatic and cliché, and the aesthetics of devotion.

St Findlay’s solo exhibition ‘Life Span’ is open at Glasshouse Projects, London this month. Previous solo exhibitions include shows at Luca’s Gallery, London; MIddlex Presents, London; and Celine Gallery, Glasgow.

Elena Njoabuzia Onwochei-Garcia, Fly on the Wall, 2022

Elena Njoabuzia Onwochei-Garcia, B. 1996 

Bristolian Elena Njoabuzia Onwochei-Garcia completed her MFA at Glasgow School of Art in 2023. Her epically proportioned oil and tempera on paper, ‘A Communion Rite (The Slave Leader Revolts Against the Tricked King)’, at the Camden Arts Centre is typical of her practice. Her work explores how the relationships between people are affected by the possibilities of the real and the fictional. Often collaging historical and contemporary images together, Onwochei-Garcia intertwines history, fable and falsehoods. The presentation of ‘A Communion Rite’, as a freestanding structure, immerses the viewer in the ambiguous drama unfolding before them in paint. It draws from an adaptation of Euripides’ The Bacchae by Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka, a tale that explores the dangers of repressive regimes. It is a psychological scene: a man on rearing horseback blocks his ears from some unknown sound; a woman in ballet dress stairs out at us, disconnected from the other characters; toppled chairs lie at their feet. It is unclear what is going on, but the uncertainty is palpable.

Onwochei-Garcia was awarded the RSA John Kinross Scholarship and the Leverhulme Master of Fine Art Bursary. Selected exhibitions included New Glasgow Society, Glasgow; Saltspace Gallery, Glasgow; Corbridge Museum, English Heritage; and The African Centre, London.

Haneen Hadiy, Mesopotamian Victims of Climate Change, 2023

Haneen Hadiy, B. 1999 

Hadiy studied photography in the city of her birth, at the Glasgow School of Art, graduating last year. Her interdisciplinary practice looks to her ancestral homeland, Iraq, for her subject matter, as an ancient cradle of civilisation. In the work ‘Mesopotamian Victims of Climate Change’, part of the photographic series ‘The Mother of the Motherland’, Hadiy focuses in on the importance of the Iraqi date palm. The fruiting plant is presented as the source of nourishment and wealth for the Iraqi peoples over generations, anthropomorphised through the artist’s words. Alongside this focus on the home of her ancestors, Hadiy’s practice explores the reality of being of two places, with Scotland being the country of her birth, and what this means for her sense of identity. She describes this as a feeling of ‘fitting displacement’.

Hadiy has exhibited around Scotland, London, Baghdad, New York and Los Angeles. She is a New Blood Art Emerging Art Prize nominee and the recipient of a Dewar Art Award 2022.


Phyllis McGowan, B. 1961 

Hamilton-born Phyllis McGowan studied at the Glasgow School of Art, from 2014 until 2023. McGowan’s practice involves writing, sound and moving image. She uses these media formats to explore the autobiographical, at times in a diaristic fashion, expressing her own trails of thoughts. ‘Dear Christina’, presented as part of New Contemporaries, is this, a spoken stream of consciousness in the form of a mailing to a fellow swimmer, although ‘Dear Christina’ could just as easily be ‘Dear Diary’. McGowan’s softly lyrical voice muses on things she has read and places she has swam. In discussing these activities, McGowan considers bigger notions of being an artist, the notion of female desire and problematics found in communication.

McGowan has exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, the Tatha Gallery in Scotland and the Cello Factory in London. She won the 2018 Ingram Prize, also for emerging talent.


Bloomberg New Contemporaries is exhibited at Camden Arts Centre until 14th April 2024