Sarah Maple

Sarah Maple is an award-winning visual artist known for her bold, brave, mischievous and occasionally controversial artworks that challenges notions of identity, religion and the status quo. Much of Maple’s inspiration originates from being brought up as a Muslim, with parents of mixed religious and cultural backgrounds. Two of her pieces were accepted into the RA Summer Exhibition, which opened this week. So we’d thought we see how it went.

How was your Varnishing Day at the RA Summer Exhibition for you, Sarah? I hear it was a festival of snacks and champagne…
I wasn’t sure if I was going to go but then I watched a video from last year and saw the buffet and knew I had to be there. 

Congrats for getting in – how many pieces did you submit and how did you find out your work had been chosen?
One was submitted by me and another was submitted by Jealous Gallery. I have tried a couple of times but not got anywhere, but this year when I saw the theme and that it was Grayson Perry curating, I was confident I had a chance! This year 19,000 submitted, so to have 2 pieces in is really exciting!

This year’s exhibition is meant to be trying to get rid of the stuffy image the RA might have, do you think it’s succeeded?
Overall I think they’ve done a good job, I really like that there’s a fun room (one of mine is in there!) and I think the colours look great, but I think it could have gone even further with the LOL in my opinion.

Do you intentionally set out to provoke or do you just want to say what you want to say?
A bit of both! I think humour is a great way to get a message across and I love to provoke people, but it has to be for a reason or it’s pointless. Over the years I have perfected the art of infuriating people. There should be a prize at the RA for that!

Where can we see more of your work? 
You can see it on instagram @msmapes or Thanks!

Interview: Josh Jones
Photo: Sarah Maple


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