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Illustrator in Residence 2018: YiMiao Shih

We are delighted to have announced YiMiao Shih as House of Illustration's fifth Illustrator in Residence.

Born in Taiwan, Shih graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2015 and satirises current affairs through drawing, video and embroidery.

Her latest work, RABBEXIT (An Homage to Brexit), was selected by Grayson Perry for display in the 250th Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition and uses embroidered rabbits to tell an irreverent tale of forced expulsion.

House of Illustration’s annual residency supports illustrators to create an ambitious body of work. Over six months, beginning on 1 September 2018, Shih will expand her practice to create a contemporary 'epic'.

Using House of Illustration and its audiences – both physical and digital – as an "observational hub" she will explore current events and topical issues such as women’s rights, Brexit and the treatment of ethnic minorities, weaving real voices and personal reflections into a visual narrative poem.

Shih says: "Illustration should dare to address the subjects which are socially controversial and topical, documenting the voices of the ‘now’ and expressing these creatively, in a witty, inquisitive and satirical way … I am expecting something big, complex, multifaceted, lively, socially engaging, referential to art, mythology and mystery."

The resulting work will be shown in a solo exhibition at House of Illustration from March 2019.

The judges – House of Illustration curator Olivia Ahmad, Design Week deputy editor Sarah Dawood and last year’s resident Christy Burdock – said:

"Each year House of Illustration receives unique and exciting applications from so many dedicated illustrators applying for the residency. After fierce competition, we’re delighted to award the 2018 residency to YiMiao Shih. We loved YiMiao’s irreverent, anarchic and satirical comments on art and life, as well as her ability to transfer drawing into embroidery. We’re really excited by her proposal to create a modern-day ‘epic’ – a visual narrative poem on a grand-scale that will interpret the social and political tensions existing in the UK today."

Shih is the gallery’s fifth Illustrator in Residence, following Rachel Lillie in 2014, David Lemm in 2015, Nous Vous Collective in 2016 and Christy Burdock in 2017.

Most recently, Christy Burdock’s residency led directly to an exhibition at OBC Gallery in Kent showing her work alongside drawings by Jeanette Barnes, Meghana Bisineer and Louise Bourgeois. Burdock said:

"The impact of this residency on my practice is immeasurable … It gave me an excellent platform to make, test and launch a new body of work. It enabled a new audience to see my work that wouldn’t have otherwise seen it. It has given me a space where I could marry the worlds of visual communication with fine art. I have been offered solo shows and opportunities as a result."

House of Illustration’s residency is generously supported by The Barbara and Philip Denny Charitable Trust. It is the UK’s only residency for illustrators and graphic artists.