Spot the artist in annual Secret exhibition

The annual 'Secret' exhibition opens at the Royal College of Art this week. Arifa Akbar previews the show and introduces our fantastic competition

David Bailey rose to fame as a photographer in the 1960s, capturing images of the famous and the infamous. His subjects ranged from the model Jean Shrimpton to the Kray Twins. And this week, 40 years after he helped to sum up the the spirit of an age, his work will go on show at the Royal College of Art as part of the annual art gamble that is the Secret exhibition.

His contribution – not necessarily a photograph – is one of the 20 postcards featured on these two pages, taken from among the 2,300 postcard-sized artworks which will be unveiled to the public on Friday.

The Independent is offering readers the chance to say which of these 20 is by Bailey, and a prize of an Olympus digital SLR camera will go to each of the first five correct entries picked at random (see below for full details of the competition).

Every year at the Royal College of Art, thousands of art lovers have the chance to buy one of these postcards for under £40. It may be something by a student at the college – perhaps one of the big names of tomorrow. Or it may be donated by a professional artist, designer or illustrator, perhaps one of the biggest current stars.

What makes the Secret show so exciting, however, is that the signature on the back is revealed only after the postcard has been bought – making the sale of the cards the country's biggest artistic lucky dip.

This year's sale will include contributions by some of Britain's most eminent artists, such as David Hockney and Peter Blake. There will also be contributions from former Turner Prize winners and nominees, including Damien Hirst – who contributed skull images last year – Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Paula Rego and Julian Opie. Other contributors include the designers Zandra Rhodes and Manolo Blahnik; Yoko Ono; the film director Mike Leigh; the Stone Roses guitarist John Squire, and the Wallace and Gromit animator Nick Park.

Bailey began his career as a fashion photographer for Vogue in 1960 and his achievements include album covers for the Rolling Stones. He is believed to have provided the inspiration for Antonioni's 1966 film Blow Up, whose protagonist was a London fashion photographer. He once said: "I've always tried to do pictures that don't date. I always go for simplicity."

Wilhelmina Bunn, curator of Secret, said the most dedicated observers may be able to discern artists' distinctive styles among the works if they look carefully enough. "I don't think there are many artists who are trying to cover up their identity. There are masses of clues in the works, and the identity of some of the artists are stamped all over the cards. There is a relationship between the person who created an artwork and the object, and these postcards do reveal that."

But Ms Bunn suggested buyers choose from the heart, rather than the head, because every purchase is a potential investment. "Each and every one of these postcards is the work of an artist, and if they are recent graduates, they could have very established careers in 10 or 20 years' time and you could have a part of their oeuvre," she explained.

All the postcards will be on view at the RCA in London, and on its website, from Friday, and they will go on sale on Saturday 24 November. There will be a raffle for buyers to win a position in the first 50 places in the queue, a move initiated last year to prevent purchasers camping outside the college.

As well as being a fundraiser for the fine art students at the college, the show has a loyal following of supporters who have visited the show since it began in 1994.

Lucky dip of the year

We have five Olympus digital SLR cameras to give away. The E-410 kit, worth around £450,is the latest in the D-SLR range and includes a 14-42mm lens. Compact and lightweight, it also features Live Preview viewing and a 10-megapixel image sensor that helps create more detailed, better-quality shots. For further information visit www.olympus.co.uk or call 0800 072 0070.

For your chance to win one, see the images in the paper and just tell us which postcard you think is by David Bailey. Send your answer, name and contact details to competitions@independent.co.uk stating "Olympus Competition" in the subject box. Alternatively send your answersto: Olympus Competition, PO Box 55705, London E14 3AQ. (Please state your name, address and email address if applicable on the reverse of the envelope). Entries must received by Monday 19 November. Winners will be picked at random from the correct entries and notified by telephone by Friday 23 November.

Terms and conditions

1. Only one entry per email address. 2. No purchase necessary. 3. Standard Independent News & Media terms and conditions apply. See www.independent.co.uk/legal for standard terms and conditions. 4. The editor's decision is final.

Sport
Aaron Ramsey celebrates after opening the scoring in Arsenal's win over Hull `
sport
News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
food + drinkSprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
politicsLabour launches the 'completely hollow' Easter Clegg
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Last, but by no means least, is Tommy Cooper and the fez. This style of hat became a permanent trademark of his act.
comedyNot Like That, Like This centres on alleged domestic abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Oxegen in Ireland has been axed as promoters decide it is 'no longer viable'
arts + ents Promoters have axed the event as it is 'no longer viable in current form'
News
The troubled star is set to give fans the biggest insight into her life away from the headlines
people Star made the announcement during the final episode of the programme, entitled Lindsay
Life & Style
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players