Artists to Watch in 2016

Top Lists

December 29, 2015

The end of a year is a good time to take a short break and think about the past, but it is also a great opportunity to contemplate on what the future would bring. Today, rather than recapitulating the events of the past year, as we did in the series of articles recently, we are looking ahead and presenting some emerging talents to look out for in 2016. Young artists, with their unstoppable urge to surpass the legacy of their predecessors are always bringing something new and exciting to the scene and this is why they deserve to be placed in the spotlight. In no particular order, we have created the list of ten names that have captured the attention of art professionals and collectors in 2015 with their innovative projects and great exhibitions. They come from various backgrounds and work in diverse styles, but they are all equally exciting. Whether you are a collector or simply enjoy art, you should definitely keep your eyes open when it comes to these 10 young talents. Scroll down and enjoy the list…

Assemble Collective - Turner Prize Winners

To the surprise of the many, this year’s prestigious Turner Prize went into the hands of young individuals who do not consider themselves artists. London-based Assemble collective gathers 18 members who work in different fields from architecture to art and design. Assemble collective advocates a collaborative working practice with a special focus on the active participation of the local community members. Their work is often interpreted in the light of Arts and Crafts movement because of their efforts to bring together art, craftsmanship and architectural solutions that respond to the needs of ordinary people. Their work is socially engaged and Turner Prize in 2015 made their ongoing efforts in making our urban environments a better place more visible to the public eye.

Featured images: Assemble collective. Photo via; Assemble - Turner Prize exhibition, 2015. Photo via; Assemble collective. Photo via

Phoebe Boswell - Storyteller of Border Identities

Born in Kenya in 1982, Phoebe Boswell is a multifaceted artist who currently lives and works in London. Her artistic practice encompasses a variety of artistic mediums from drawing to installation and animation. As a child of Kikuyu mother and British Kenyan father, who spent her childhood years as an “expatriate” in Middle East it comes as no surprise that her art centers on the questions of identity, liminality, and transition. She is a devoted storyteller and her art embodies a plethora of personal and global narratives. In 2015, she was a Florence Trust Artist-in-Residence, and she also participated in the Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art. For 2016 she is planning numerous new and exciting projects, so make sure you remember her name.

Featured images: Phoebe Boswell Portrait; Phoebe Boswell - The Mechanics of Illusion Series, 2015. Pencil on paper 40cm x 30cm; Phoebe Boswell - Matatizo, 2015. Pastel on paper 153cm x 122cm. Images courtesy of the artist

Tschabalala Self - New Views on Black Femininity

Tschabalala Self is a painter and printmaker born in Harlem in 1990 who currently resides in New York and New Haven. The work of Tschabalala Self is inspired by the cultural iconography of Black female bodies, mapping the points where questions of race, gender, and sexuality intersect. She sees bodies in their physical, social and political aspects, exploring the ideas of eroticization of Black femininity in arts and culture and social construction of racial identities within the frame of ideas found in Orientalist discourse. Her work conveys powerful political statements while at the same time staying feminine and subtle. In 2015, she obtained her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale School of Art and had three solo exhibitions in New York, LA and Berlin.

Featured images: Tschabalala Self portrait via Pinterest; Left: Tschabalala Self - Daydream, 2015. Oil, pigment and flashe on canvas / Right: Tschabalala Self - Sapphire, 2015. Oil, pigment and fabric on canvas. Courtesy of the artist

Mikael Brkic - Emerging Norwegian Talent

Born in Olso in 1987, where he continues to live and work Mikael Brkic is one of the most interesting new finds on the Norwegian contemporary art scene. Mikael Brkic works in painting, installation and performance. His works often feature a variety of found objects, peripheral items like key chains, price tags, torn newspaper pages, cigarettes, matches and many other ordinary trinkets. His art is characterized by the dynamic artistic process and creative approach to mundane objects of our environment that once transformed through his paintings and installations capture a range of social atmospheres. In 2016, we can expect his new exhibition in Oslo and appearance at Independent art fair in Brussels.

Featured images: Mikael Brkic - Un Poco Domäne (Coop Obs!), 2014. Photo via; Left: Mikael Brkic - Un Poco Domäne III, 2014 / Right: Mikael Brkic - Seasons past (helix), 2015, detail. Courtesy of VI, VII Gallery

Alina Chaiderov - Present Future Award Winner

Alina Chaiderov captured the attention of many art professionals in 2015 after she was awarded the Present Future illy Award at 2015 edition of Artissima art fair in Turin, Italy. Born in Russia in 1987, she moved to Sweden at an early age where she obtained her academic education in fine art and where she resides today. Interested primarily in installation, her work fluctuates between public and private, drawing from the artist’s memories that trigger association to the historic and cultural atmosphere and a wider social context. The best example is her installation Before 1989 We Kept The Bananas In The Closet presented at Artissima that tells the story of artist’s heritage through the comparison of Soviet and Swedish cultural and political settings.

Featured images: Alina Chaiderov. Photo via; Alina Chaiderov - Before 1989 We Kept The Bananas In The Closet, 2015. Courtesy of the artist

Sun You - Creator of Magnetic Assemblages

Seoul-born contemporary artist Sun You emerged as one of the most interesting young sculptors on the New York art scene in recent times. New York-based artist became known for her creative use of readymade objects. For her sculptures and installations, Sun You combines different decorative objects from fashion accessories to household items, creating magnificent artworks that are held together only by magnets. Her work is characterized by the high level of meticulousness, attentiveness to details and powerful combinations of colors and shapes. She has exhibited her work in solo and group shows across the United States and internationally.

Featured images: Artworks by Sun You. Images courtesy of the artist.

Abdul Abdullah - Rethinking Postcolonialism

Abdul Abdullah was born in Perth, Australia in 1986 and he is one of the most praised young Australian talents. He works primarily in photography and painting and he is the youngest artist who has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Archibald Prize. His art centers on the concepts of identity constructions and he is particularly interested in the postcolonial discourse and the idea of the Other, social minorities and marginalized groups. Throughout his work, the young artist has been exploring the outsider status of young Muslims in the multicultural society and lately he has been questioning the global context of postcolonial condition.

Featured images: Abdul Abdullah - God Is With Us (still). Photo via; Abdul Abdullah - Watch it burn, 2014. Type C print. Courtesy of the artist

Cameron Rowland - Conceptual Critic of Society

Born in 1988 in Philadelphia, Cameron Rowland became known for his conceptual art addressing social injustice in everyday contemporary society. His work gained a wider audience after the exhibitions at Essex Street gallery in 2014 and MoMA PS1’s Greater New York show in 2015. He mostly works with found materials and objects which serve as a starting point for critical dialogue and explorations of social conditions. The idea of space plays an important part in his work and it is interesting to note how physical space is used in his work to reflect on the social environment. Cameron Rowland’s work will in 2016 travel to Kunsthalle Freiburg in Switzerland and he will also exhibit his works in New York at Artists Space.

Featured image: Left: Cameron Rowland - 90, 45, 15, 2014 / Right: Cameron Rowland - Pass-Thru, 2014. Courtesy of Essex Street

Cristina Tufino - Reinventing the Ordinary

Cristina Tufino is young Puerto Rican artist who works in sculpture, installation and photography. The inspiration for Cristina Tufino comes from her everyday surroundings and discarded, ordinary objects that she finds particularly fascinating. Most of her sculptures and installations are compositions created with found materials and debris, cultural products that have been rearranged into new, original compositions. In 2015, she presented the impressive line of works that deal with the subject of capitalist consumerism. The series of sculptures are entitled Sediment Salad and they are comprised of tropical fruits, vegetables and consumer products dipped into concrete, decaying over the course of the exhibition and reflecting on modern day consumerism.

Featured images: Cristina Tufino - Sediment Salad, 2015. Courtesy of the artist

Lindsay Lawson - Explorer of eBay Peculiarities

Lindsey Lawson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work spans a variety of media from photography to video and sculptural works. Born in Mississippi in 1982 she attracted the art world’s attention with her original approach to inanimate everyday objects. The artist works and lives in Berlin and lately she has been working on several new and interesting projects. Most notable is certainly her film The Smiling Rock a performance video piece that features a peculiar love story of a women falling in love with a rock she sees on eBay. The film will premiere in 2016 and it will be a new addition to the artist’s exploration of objects in online spaces.

Featured images: Lindsey Lawson - Artwork from Hypothetical Lamp Collection; Lindsey Lawson - 7034, Photo on MDF. Images courtesy of the artist.

Follow These Artists

Mikael Brkic
Sun You