Alumnus Deanio X adds new mural to Stay Strong Route in the School's Gallery

Oct. 6, 2020

“Hibernating artists - having honed their abilities in forced isolation - burst forth with brushes in hands, to dismantle the spectres illusion and paint a future of their own choosing.”  Deanio X, Drawing Year 2019

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Alongside BLKBRD Collective, Deanio X, launched the Stay Strong Route at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, to spread a message of strength and resilience to key workers, above all those from minority ethnic communities who have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus. The Route features murals in 16 locations across south, central and east London including Westminster, Parliament Sq, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Sq and can be completed on foot or bicycle.

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On Friday 18 September alumnus Deanio X added a new mural to the route in the gallery of the Royal Drawing School, Shoreditch. Titled, FALL OF THE SPECTRE, this new work marks the reopening of the School’s studios in a time of tumult and confusion, honouring the power of expression as an antidote to stasis. The mural spreads a message of support to the community of people working and living in the local area and welcomes back students and tutors to the School’s studios after a six-month closure. Members of the public can view the mural through the gallery windows. 

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"The Notting Hill carnival was cropped from the British calendar this year. This mural seeks to channel the colour, movement and energy of the carnival into a narrative concerning artistic freedom. African and Carribean culture and stories are too regularly cropped from the discourse of British history and identity. FALL OF THE SPECTRE offers a challenge to the Royal Drawing schools returning community to respond to our contemporary moment with brave education and artwork."  Deanio X

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On Wednesday 23 September Deanio X joined photographer and collaborator Emmanuel Cole, as part of the School’s Creative Conversations online talk series. Cole, acclaimed street photographer, helped to document the artworks throughout the creation of the murals. They discussed the shared developments of their individual artistic practices in connection to London. Their discussion touched on the Stay Strong Route; the significance of cultural events such as Carnival in relation to their work; and the crossover between photography, painting and drawing. Watch the talk again here


Deanio X studied on The Drawing Year, the School’s postgraduate programme in 2018-19. The Drawing Year offers up to 30 students the opportunity to develop their artistic practice by focusing on observational drawing for one year, with free studio space and no tuition fees. He received the Sir Denis Mahon Award, a prize of £10,000 awarded annually to an outgoing student to enable them to continue their practice as an artist, and as part of this award they are also offered a solo show, which is due to take place next year.

See the mural at Royal Drawing School Shoreditch from 18 September, 19-22 Charlotte Road, London, EC2A 3SG

Instagram: @deanio_x