Jun 14, 2017

E17 Art Trail First Week

What an amazing first week of the E17 Art Trail. My only complaint is that it is going too fast- my fear of missing out has not abated. I feel as if I am cramming for an exam. I have realised that the best approach is to pick a few things and immerse yourself properly in them. At one point I was even in someone’s bath tub! But more about that later...

I was so happy to see Emma Scutt’s exhibition ‘Celebrating Women in STEM’ where I found out about the physicist and mathematician Katherine Johnson who worked for NASA, calculating flight trajectories for Project Mercury. I have learned so much from the trail this year, which has been an unexpected bonus. Scutt’s portraits are so alive and bold, if you get the chance to visit St. Mary’s Church I would highly recommend taking a look.

Across the borough in another church I was taken aback by the radical nature of the exhibits. I had never visited St Barnabas although have been aware of the progressive approach that is taken there- including their work with migrants and LGBT people which is really heartwarming. This attitude is reflected by the choice of art on display, which promotes the idea of ‘Building Bridges’ across the community. Eliyah Qureshi’s ‘Gold Standard’ series which is driven by the idea of bees and the networks they create represents this idea beautifully- the paintings are really joyful.

 Off to Winn’s Gallery in Lloyd Park, where ‘The Truth and The Truths’ showed ‘fake’ paintings by Travis Perkins. These were fabulous renditions of famous paintings that were actually very desirable as well as affordable. Some of the takings were also destined for the Labour party which was timely.

The following weekend after popping in at Mirth Marvel and Maud for the E17 Designers fair which was a  real treat, I travelled back to Winn’s for the Invisible Numbers exhibition. This was an absolute blinder, showcasing six artists, a design studio and a historian, each exploring their interpretation of the theme of STEAM. This included jewellery and mask-making, incredible paintings of rope-spinners by Denise Ford, the story of an unknown local computer engineer from E17 and much much more. I was lucky enough to see a talk by mask maker Rebecca Ward, who talked about the varying functions of masks from around the world which was fascinating.

Hewing Wittare was next, and I found another ‘mask’ there, although it was really a sort of large heavy anthill which I put my entire head into. The house was decked out in gold crunchy foil which made it quite warm and alien. There was some sound art in the bathroom so I duly got into the bathtub to listen. It was very relaxing and I was in there for some time. Lots of excellent art on the walls by Anna Liber Lewis which contributed to the overall feeling that I was suddenly on a spaceship somewhere far out in outer space, which is exactly what you want from an art exhibition.

After all the excitement it was really nice to head to Cheeky Handmades to see Sean Urquhart read from his new book. I always enjoy hearing his mellifluous Scottish accent and it was a treat to finally see Jennie Caminada’s craft studio which is wonderful.

Rose Richardson’s maps of London are worth going to have a look at, showing how the Thames has evolved throughout time. The maps would make a brilliant gift idea.

Finally I popped in to see John Bain’s extraordinary hand carved furniture, as well as the sculptures of Ellie Noble at venue 26. We had a good chat about Burning Man Festival, Japan, Epping Forest and more and admired the beautiful oak table that was on display. The work marries modern and traditional methods in a really interesting way.

There is so much more to see, and I will be doing my best to see as much as I can. The Art Trail is on until the 18th June so there is still plenty of time to go and explore. Happy wandering!

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