Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016! January starts with visiting the first of a number of shows featuring inspiring art by inspiring artists.
Tiwani Contemporary now represents Ethiopian artist Robel Temesgen and hosts his first UK solo exhibition this month. The exhibition collates a series of work inspired by the Ethiopian belief of Adbar and its associated rituals. In Amharic, the term ‘adbar’ refers to the embodiment of protective spirits within various elements of the natural landscape, such as lakes, mountains, rocks or trees. Trees, represented highly in this show, are strictly protected and act as a link between people and the spirit world. They can serve as shelter, places of worship and meeting points around which to discuss community matters.
Temesgen received an MFA from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art, University of Tromsø, Norway in 2015, and a BFA with high distinction in Fine Art (Painting) from Addis Ababa University in 2010. He has profiled highly in the Ethiopian art scene, participating in exhibitions, workshops, residencies, festivals and conferences, both locally and internationally.
Speaking to Robel during the private viewing, I found his explanation and inspiration for producing this series of pieces as fascinating as the art itself. The show runs from January 7th to February 6th at Tiwani so if you are in London over the next month why not pop by?
On Friday 8 January, 7pm Robel Temesgen will be in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist at the Gallery. For further info please visit http://www.tiwani.co.uk/Home/Exhibitions
This month I’ve been fairly quiet admittedly, spending time enjoying the weather, catching up with friends and preparing work for my next show. This week I spent time in central London visiting a number of galleries for some inspiration. At the top of the list was the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Award show. This is a must for anyone who needs to see the brilliance that resides in some people. The work is excellent.
Selected from a record-breaking 2,748 entries by artists from 92 countries around the world, the BP Portrait Award 2015 represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting.From parents to poseurs, figurative nudes to famous faces and expressive sketches to piercing photo-realism, the variety and vitality in the exhibition continues to make it an unmissable highlight of the annual art calendar. Now in its thirty-sixth year at the National Portrait Gallery, and twenty-sixth year of sponsorship by BP, the first prize of £30,000 makes the Award the most prestigious international portrait painting competition of its kind and has launched the careers of many renowned artists.
The show runs from 18th June to the 20th September. For further info please visit http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/bp-portrait-award/exhibition.php
As we start March ( yes in the third month already!) I’m preparing to spend more time in the studio, working on planned events later this year. Exciting times! Wishing you all a great day. Make it count!!
The year has started well with a number of opportunities to collaborate on very worthwhile community art projects. I’ve also been once again inspired by a number of artists featured in galleries and exhibitions. This included the recent Artrooms event at London’s Melià White House Hotel. One of the artist groups to feature in the show was The Cult House, a newly formed collective based in London and pioneered by Brazilian born JA Neto. I’ve been closely observing the Cult House’s activities over the last year, struck a rapport with a number of its artists and look forward to seeing its rise during 2015.
Why did you start the Cult House?
I tried to get out of the business world for while but, since living in London, I’ve recognised the massive interest and potential of public art events. Pretty much everything happens here. I found myself as part of an audience and not playing a decisive role in any of the art fairs and events platforms. I decided to create one that suits myself and serves all kinds of audiences- one that exists without the need to be part of an existing art collective and one that is fully accessible to the public as a whole. That is what The Cult House is progressively creating.
How do you distinguish yourself from other organisations and initiatives promoting art and artists?
We do not pick the artists based on what we can take from them or their style or art fields. The community is designed to help celebrate and spread art to a wider audience. We want artists willing to join our group to grow with us. Our criteria is very simple – if you are serious with what you are doing and working hard towards that, you can join us. We will help as much as we can, particularly if it is beneficial to promote what you’re doing for the whole community.
Progressively we are organising and partnering with different groups to create a variety of events from popup shows and exhibitions to music events and art fairs. You can check some of them on our website past events tab, where our artists are encouraged to participate and at the same time to build their own network. This is proving to be a fantastic formula. Immediately after our events we can see on our social media channels the interaction between the artists and the results of what they learn from each other. It’s very rewarding and gives us a solid base to keep going and develop more and better events.
Much has been said of the modern art and the industry. What’s your overall opinion on the industry, particularly in the UK?
This is a never-ending subject but in my opinion there are places for everybody in the industry! The goal is always to put the art out there, making it accessible to audiences and to give the opportunity for artists to be able to create more and more art! It doesn’t really matter where or if it is for a selected group because in this society people will always find their special place!
The UK art scene is centralised in London and a few other cities like many countries. The good thing here is everyday you’ll find new groups/activities/artists/events trying to get their ‘place in the sun’, making it possible for artists to survive and improve their work. The UK government has many ways to help and support good initiatives but it is not easy! If you have a dream and work hard towards that, in the UK there are more opportunities than in many other countries to succeed!
What are your plans over the next 5 years?
That’s a lot to answer but I will try to make it simple. We will soon celebrate our first year with so many success stories during this period; two pop up shows, our participation at ArtRooms,130 artists from 12 different countries, music events and our first collective exhibition coming out soon to close this first year! Watch this space!
All those achievements have come without people asking what exactly are we doing; They’re simply trusting and willing to be part of a new movement. Now we are moving to a second stage of our project with the ultimate goal of making The Cult House a strong enough platform to make the difference in many artists life’s, careers and communities.
In the mean time we will keep building our community, promoting art and artists, creating a range of pop up shows and collective exhibitions taken nationwide.
For further information please visit The Cult House website.
I wish you and yours the very best for 2015. May the next year be a happy, healthy and prosperous one in all areas! Don’t just count your years, make your years count.
I’m looking forward to participating in shows in the UK, US and hopefully a few more in new locations. The year starts productively with my participation in the forthcoming Brick Lane Gallery’s Art in Mind exhibition. The Art in Mind initiative has for some time offered emerging and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work in this popular and widely recognised gallery located in a vibrant and dynamic area of east London.
The show features two groups of artists. The first part, entitled ‘The New Generation’ runs from January 8th -18th at the Annexe.
I feature in the second part entitled ‘Absolution’ from January 22nd to February 1st at the main gallery at 196 Brick Lane, London E1 6SA. If you are in For further information on the show please visit http://www.thebricklanegallery.com
‘Art for the people, by the people’ is an unique exhibition that celebrates the ability for anyone with a modern smartphone or tablet to create memorable instant art or ‘insta–art’ as it’s fashionably called . The photographic exhibition allows the visitor to ask what constitutes a professional photographer and what defines good photography? Fifty images of Queensland, Australia have been selected for this exhibition. The images were taken from a variety of instagrammers, many of whom participated in the world’s largest ever ‘instameet’ – a pre determined place and time where photographers/instagrammers collectively take photos.
The event took place in 88 locations across Queensland earlier this month with over a thousand people capturing images of Queensland. Visitors of the gallery are given the opportunity to vote on their favourite three pieces of art. All votes will be placed into a draw on the final day of the show and ten lucky winners will receive a framed print. Moreover, someone will also get the opportunity to win a flight to Queensland for a holiday. The best of the images produced during the meet are now being exhibited in London, at a pop-up ‘Insta gallery’at Arts Galleries Europe, 18 Maddox St, London, W1S 1PL, until Friday 24th October. If you’d like to see more of the images produced at the Queenland insta-meet, search Instagram using the handle @queensland and hashtag #thisisqueensland
Hi guys and girls! I hope all is well and you’re enjoying your weekend. I’ve just been updating my blogsite and introduced a gallery page to share some of my recent work. I’m always grateful to get your comments and feedback. I think I’ll be spending more time in the studio now that the weather is getting cooler and the nights start earlier. Unfortunately it seems the summer is ending! Wishing you all a great week ahead. May it bring you continued happiness, good health and prosperity!