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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: GALLERY

‘DOTTY FOR MATT FORSTER’S UBERART!’

So here’s what you’ll do…

When your soul cries out for sustenance of the extrasensory kind, follow my lead, to the ‘Royal Opera Arcade Gallery’, London, and begin a most fulfilling journey of delicious ‘Über Art’! Created and developed with relentless fervour by the man, whom I like to call ‘Watercolour Wizard’, but whom is better known by the moniker of Matt Forster, this latest exposition is a vibrant testament to all of his dedicated efforts…and being of the ‘über’ variety, there’s more than enough to go around!

Noticeable is the space which houses the majestic collection…

A split-level gallery, flooded by luminescent white-light, akin to that of Skywalker’s sabre…Poised, yet utterly yielding to the array of immersive, wrap-around watercolour works!

Flowing from figurative to abstract, landscape to dreamscape, multicolour to monochromatic, über to klein, each piece immediately resonates with a clarity of purpose and distinctive technical execution, which speaks volumes to the subconscious. Forster is fearless in experimentation… collaging, cutting-out, scraping-back, slicing angles… Each, a willing foil for expressing his vision. In one mesmerising series, he seems to ‘liberate’ paint-spots and yet, contain the liquid movement, so as to become controlled ‘dot-formations’, of ever-increasing tonal and visual depth. In fact, with such gusto for graphics and colour collaborations, you would be forgiven for thinking him a designer of a couture collection for Spring-Summer 2015!

The opportunity to sojourn in the selection of global destinations is wonderful… In a hushed millisecond, collective languages can almost be deciphered exchanging tales of their pictorial formation! ‘Dos Pinturas’, ‘High Noon’ and ‘The Band San Cristobal de las Cases’, masterfully regale of reflective days in sunsoaked climes, whereas ‘Über Autumn’ and ‘Über Pennines’ celebrate the richness to be found amidst the more muted hues of our glorious British Isles. The latter, particularly capturing the masculinity of terrain, with the femininity of undulating hills or rippling waves… Pure, authentic, beautiful and boldly interpreted.

However, I would entreat you not to overeat the enticing wall-mounted fayre, for this is a week of artistic delights which offers even more! Indeed, this selection coincides with the launch of ‘The Art of MJ Forster’, his first, limited edition, retrospective book, the production of which, was made possible by a hugely successful crowd-funding campaign. What you will see displayed is accompanied by what you will get in the stunning publication, produced by ‘The Town and Country Gallery’…so you can snack on further morsels, at leisure!

What I would encourage you most definitely do, is partake of the ‘Über Art’ experience, firsthand… Meet Matt himself. He’s a highly personable and witty character, with an underlying intensity and creative sensibility, in perfect complement to the idiosyncratic medium of watercolour. Assuage that artistic appetite…go on….but be prepared to want, at least, a second helping from such a prolific menu!

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‘The Art of MJ Forster’: A Retrospective Exhibition (and Book Launch) is on now until Saturday 11th October at The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, 5B Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 4UY.

Books are available for purchase during the exhibition, from ‘The Town and Country Gallery’ and via Matt’s newly revamped website!

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Afrow-Appreciation to:-

Simon de Pinna and the ROA GAllery for hosting a fabulous P.V and…

… HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Matt Forster….

…‘Über Artist’ extraordinaire and, hopefully, future fashion/fabric designer!

©AFROW2014-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“Finding My Way From Hopper To Hoppen…!”

It’s all in the timing.

The past three events have proven it… beyond a shadow..

Read on.

All will be revealed… as it was for me.

The first, set the scene at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Gardens. Mayfair was glazed in honey-hued sunshine, as I made my way to a private viewing of ‘The Lost Album’, an exhibiton of work by the late, great, actor, filmmaker, artist and photgrapher, Dennis Hopper.

I approached the distinctive, weather-mottled structure, distinctly-etched into the cognitive history of Arts…its dappled-grey exterior punctuated by billowing banners, raised aloft in celebration of the creative wonders within. Somewhat awash with excitement, I entered. Gentle scents of artisanal treats from ‘Atelier’, the RA cafe, wafted invitingly, roundabout me. Monochromatic Hopper-themed images emblazoned the space and I was already lost in them.

Ascending the wealth-of-winding staircase to the ‘Senate Room’, was, I mused, somewhat akin to being Scarlett O’Hara, swept up into the strapping arms of Rhett Butler and being swung across the threshold with sheer, Southern swagger! The highly-decorative ceilings, expansive windows and caramel-coloured, well-walked, wooden flooring, momentarily served to fuel my imaginings, but passionately-delivered and hugely informative pre-exhibiton talks soon brought me back into the room, with an ever-more piqued desire to discover what lay behind a new door, to the next.

That which ensued was a rhythmic chorus of movement, of guests from all walks of life. From the designer-clad to the street-stylers, to the suited-and-booted and beyond…a contemporary collection of attendees quickly became the, unknown, precursor and parallel, to the breadth of Hopper’s subject matter. In genteel clusters, they transitioned through an antechamber, where an expressive quote from the man, himself, distils the life-giving inspiration which the photographs had given to him. Standing to read and re-read, in order to familiarise myself with his ‘voice’, the human satellites had dwindled, only to have reformed, face-to-face, with encased black-and-white stills, along three sides of the perimeter of Room 1, lunch-queue-like, as if to devour the prints whole! The counter-cultural undercurrent running through the exhibiton, also seemed to be running through my veins, to the extent that I bypassed the following space and the viewing gallery and began my journey in the final room! As others observed, I perched upon banquettes in the midst of the floor and copied more of Dennis Hopper’s words, echoed upon the walls… In so doing, I began to assimilate the sense of freedom with which Hopper captured everything he saw.

From the quiet intimacy of boudoir shots, taken in L.A., to the ebullient evangelist series, caught, mid-sermon, so that you could almost hear the preaching… From gowned hippies at flower-power festivals, to Hells Angels, at rest and play, to the effortless cool of the ‘Fab Four of Art’, Warhol, Geldzahler, Hockney and Goodman…From ‘Soul Brother Number 1’, Mr James Brown, being fêted outside his Lear jet, to the picture-perfect Paul Newman, a living canvas upon which are cast charcoal shadows of wire and foliage… From the most visceral bullfighting in Mexico, to the stark irony of a welcome which warns you to ‘Keep Out’, in race-hate ravaged Montgomery, Alabama… to the power and poignancy of Martin Luther King speaking at Selma, no stone seems left unturned, no issue too raw, through which to manifest the truth of life and times in Dennis Hopper’s 60’s. Even the narrative of such minutiae as blistering paint and torn gauze, seem to represent revelatory realities behind the glamour of Hollywood and an increasing intolerance, bleeding through the thin veil of society. All the while, the intensity and detail are juxtaposed by an expansive, audiovisual shangri-la, of a road-scene from the co-created classic, ‘Easy Rider’….the constant stream, of which, engulfs you and baits your curiosity, as to Hopper’s unique vista, developed on-screen.

No wonder, then, that when invited to the B.F.I Southbank, to attend a private showing of the seminal indie-archetype, as part of the ‘Icon of Oblivion’ season, I was only too pleased to rsvp, without hesitation, and appease my inquisitiveness!

Second scene set, it was lights, camera, action in a robustly, modern venue, with a Southbank wrap-around…Yet this was no ordinary cinema… This was a veritable palace, doused in ruby-red, velvet curtains, with plush, matching chairs (the pile of which somehow moulded, ergonomically to the body, like a warm, cinematic cuddle!)… unobtrusive air-con…spacious legroom, (fantastic for me, being 5’9″..old money for approx 1m 80cm!)… and at 20:45 precisely, an impressive demonstration of sound, vision and performance got underway.

Having heard of, but never seen ‘Easy Rider’, I chose not to delve into research, preferring to rely on my R.A experience for a creative template. However, from the opening moments of South American drawl, to a dashing Peter Fonda (‘Wyatt’) in leathers and a hippie Hopper (‘Billy’), strands of Mexico, motorbiking and marginalised members of society, started to emerge.

A stream of consciousness unfurled. From Downtown L.A., wide-angled highway scenes on Harley Davidsons, begat pacy cut-aways, themselves, spliced with extreme-close-ups of twigs, only to be followed by contrasting, mountainous backdrops, which, in turn, were artistically peppered with silhouetted figures of our protagonists and an enigmatic hitchhiker, whom they had picked up, en route to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras!

The spectre of automation, hovering over tradition, was also accutely parallelled in a scene which sees Wyatt and Billy ride into a farm and park their bikes in a barn in the background, whereupon they clean their tyres, with a farrier/ farmhand, in the foreground, tending to horseshoes. Modernity and the notion of progress, seem to be replacing heritage, as swiftly as the Harleys.

Multi-sensory statements including the changing faces of fashion, music and spirituality, are vividly presented. Nothing is contrived. The script is sparsely written, to allow for its multi-faceted, sociopolitical meanings to deeply penetrate the psyche. With an energy of unadulterated art-in-response, undaunted by popular opinion and a short-sharp-shock of an ending, ‘Easy Rider’ struck me with extreme profoundity and was brilliantly complemented by the truly incredible ‘Lost Album’ exhibition.

In fact, it is the final ‘view-from-above’ shot, which would resonate even further with me, at the closing scene of my event-trilogy, that the ‘Photographers v Prostate Cancer’ private viewing and silent auction, in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, held at ‘The Michael Hoppen Gallery’, in the heart of Chelsea.

The late Dennis Hopper lost his battle against prostate cancer in 2010, as did my Father and so, by way of honouring his memory, I sought the chance to cover the evening…and what a moving, optimistic, enjoyable night it was! Photography spanned such genres as portraiture, landscape and reportage…decades, with such names as Hendrix and Yehudi Menuhin encapsulated alongside Keira Knightley….and such amazing photgraphers as Thomas Stanworth, Clive Barda and Rankin.

Hearty addresses were given by Lord Archer, himself a survivor of the male form of cancer and leading prostate surgeon, Professor Roger Kirby, both, of whom, were unrelenting in encouragement of men to proactively pursue GP check-ups, at the first sign of a problem, rather than leave the situation, until it might be too late to treat. Enthusiastic rallying was also made, to bid as much as possible, in order to raise as much as possible, so as to continue the fight against this ruthless disease. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the cause, the bright, white gallery was filled with an air of joy and hope…and by the end of the 3-hour event, an outstanding £17,600 had been raised.

I exited with a sense of peace, joy and exhileration, safe in the knowledge that whilst some, dear, loved ones might have lost their valiant battles against prostate cancer, such cheerful giving-in-action, would help to win the war.

I was then brought, full-circle, to ‘Easy Rider’s’ end camera angle, which finished high up in the sky, as if looking down upon the world…

I somehow felt as if Dennis and my Father were smiling and doing the same…

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Many thanks to:-

Simone Stewart at the Royal Academy, Victoria Humphrys at the B.F.I Southbank, Michael Hoppen, Richard Dunkley, Leena Patel, Team Prostate Cancer UK for your kindess and hospitality!

For more information on the above events at the R.A and B.F.I Southbank, organisations and to bid on remaining pictures in aid of Prostate Cancer UK, click the links below!

www.royalacademy.org.uk ~( @royalacademy ~ www.facebook.com/royalacademy )

www.bfi.org.uk ~ ( @bfi ~ www.facebook.com/BritishFilmInstitute )

Photographers v Prostate Cancer

www.prostatecanceruk.org

www.michaelhoppengallery.com

©AFROW2014-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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EMAIL EXCHANGE FROM LEENA PATEL (PCUK)

‘Thank you so much for doing this, means a lot that we have your support.’

MARSHALL GOES ‘FACE-TO-FACE’ WITH KATE, AT IMITATE MODERN!

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be cradled in the arms of a rainbow?

If so, then you’ll find the answer ensconced within the arc-of-screenprints, in “40 A Kate Moss Retrospective”, by ultra-talented artist, Russell Marshall, currently showing at the enchanting ‘Imitate Modern’ art gallery!

On one level, your eyes race to absorb the high-definition, technicolour dreamscapes which coat the walls. Time flits by as fast as you can blink, whilst you remain transfixed by the neon shocks of sherbet-pink and acid-yellow, bouncing like laser-beams from a New Year’s Eve disco-ball! Quick-as-a-wink, you are compelled to follow the spectral-story wherever it leads and begin to register shades which resound like a chromatic scale… Prints in-the-key of shimmering-silver and incandescent-pearl are laden with outlines of indellible impressions…

Fully-acquainted with the cornucopia of exceptional colour-charts, you then begin to focus-pull onto the subsequent layer of visual stimulae, present in the undoubted recognition of, not only a face, but ‘The Face’ of Kate Moss, staring back, as if to guide you from one incarnation to another.

It is at this point, that your heart-rate evens out…

 The ‘pop’ which Russell has told me he would like the palette to have, has been achieved and so begins a new narrative, of taking a visual tour around Kate’s career, through the viewfinder of the former journalist and editor. The immediacy of being subjectively engaged at such a rapid rate, yields to a futher immersion, into a state of ‘objectivity’, yet it is neither stereotypically cold nor separate. It is, in fact, replete with a distinct clarity, founded in true warmth and admiration for a woman of real character, who has eclipsed the notion of ‘celebrity’ and, rather, redefined and revalued it. This facilitates a deeper connection to the potent colour-combinations, which serve to highlight the myriad facets to her own, vibrant personality. Furthermore, Russell’s editing sensibility is masterfully employed, in exhibiting specific screenprints which, at once, reveal the wide-eyed potential of a young girl, spotted at the age of 14, whilst also uncovering her scintillating, Bardot-èsque vulnerability, her ethereal elegance, swathed in full-length gowns and floral-sprays and an haute couture-regality, resplendent in Vivienne Westwood!

An added spin to the retrospective, it that of the journalistic element, for as the walls have Kate’s eyes, they also have her words! Quotes such as “Never complain, never explain” quietly indicate a certain pragmatism, whilst others celebrating the ‘girl-about-town’, like “I haven’t partied since last Friday”, positively scream from the rafters! Displayed alongside columns of biographical copy, by Amy Watts, the twist of presenting silk-screens, which constitute a statement as to the real definition of celebrity, in a 3-D newspaper format, is both witty and entirely evocative of the wondrous days of the old-fashioned handprinting-press! Encompassed by musical soundwaves dripping with Britpop, the White Stripes and Primal Scream, the audio-visual, launch-night mind-meld, completes the journey!

In essence, “4o A Kate Moss Retrospective” is a startling adventure with the ability to engage the viewer, by transporting them through the career life-cycle of a living legend. From the girl-next-door, whose diminutive stature should have ruled her out of the modelling industry, but which actually set her apart, to the celebrated Mother, Supermodel and Designer, Russell Marshall is a maestro of multi-dimensional expression. The single plane of a screen is doused in prismatic vibrance, which facilitates an optical appreciation of beautiful images…Yet, in accompanying them with written and quoted content, Kate’s joie-de-vivre becomes even more apparent. What with each of the ten works being a limited edition of one (the variations of which can be chosen from ten unique colourways), the concept of honouring individuality, is perpetuated. According to the artist, himself, there might even be a gentle ‘tap’ of the frame during its production, just to add a perfect imperfection, which is undetectable to the naked eye, of course, yet, intrinsically embedded within each wonderful work!

It is this eloquence of embracing the idiosyncratic and the courage to express it, which, almost a week after the private viewing, still echoes within. Whether or not you find yourself in the spotlight, the truth of who you really are, will always enable you to shine. Such an enduring and empowering message was shared by Russell Marshall on Kate Moss’s 40th birthday and I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the ‘grand tour’ for yourself, because the writing’s on the wall… this incredible show is an undeniable hit!

“40 A KATE MOSS RETROSPECTIVE” RUNS FROM: 17TH JANUARY > 15TH FEBRUARY 2014 AT: IMITATE MODERN, 27A DEVONSHIRE STREET, LONDON, W1G 6PN ~ MON>FRI: 10a.m > 6p.m ~ FREE!

www.imitatemodern.com ~ www.beautifulcrime.com

©AFROW2014-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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FACEBOOK FEEDBACK FROM RUSSELL MARSHALL!

‘Great review by Afrow… thanks..’

MARSHALL GATHERS MOSS AT IMITATE MODERN? ‘I’M’ IN!

To many, the mere mention of Marylebone conjures up one of two things… One, being the waxworks of Madame Tussaud’s, the other, being Mr Sherlock Holmes! However, make your way, on foot, via a concentration of Oxford Street shoppers, across, oft, car-clustered roads, along a, mainly-residential, thoroughfare, in the direction of this Fitrovian district and you will soon happen upon another reason to become well-acquainted with the area. The new name to add to your cerebral rotary-filing system, is that of the “Imitate Modern” Art Gallery.

First impressions of the building are that this is not your usual exhibition space. Then again, being situated amidst some of the finest chocolate-box environs of London, you would expect nothing less! In fact, it is akin to an ‘open house’, of the most elegant, listed ilk! Modest, classic, it is a mirror of its curator, Jaqui Pittack, with a warmth and effervescenct energy, which disseminates throughout her amazing team of Imitate Modern-angels and radiates out into the ambience. That it is situated without earshot of  the blaring horn-orchestra of motor-vehicles further facilitates the pleasing exchange which stillness affords, as you take in the array of modern-artistic talent, fastidiously hung upon the walls.

I have first-hand experience of this, since I had the distinct pleasure of attending two back-to-back events last December, spanning the worlds of altruism and art-inauguration. The former, part of of the ‘Christmas Wish List’ evening, not only served to toast the season, but also helped the homeless, by auctioning an original canvas by the incredible ‘Stik’, and raising a truly healthy sum for ‘The Big Issue’. The latter, unveiled the unswervingly dynamic collaborations between urban pop-artist Rich Simmons with, both, zeitgetist power-photographer, Tyler Shields, and inspirational street-artist, ‘Parlee Erz’.

In high-spirited accompaniment, were pieces from thought-provoking, statement-artist ‘Cartrain’, the relentless, Jackson Pollock-esque abstracts by George Morton-Clark, adroitly-complemented by a witty series of signature, monochromatic works from ‘The London Police’ and skilfully-balanced by the intense, yet, uniquely delicate, sepia-toned goddesses from the accomplished hands of Rosie Emerson. Yet, this group form only a tranche of the distinguished talent comprising the Imitate Modern collective.

Little wonder, then, that with such a diverse creative roster, the gallery has consistently caught the attention of the media, including such publications as “Tatler” and “Vogue”. Even less, that it is this beautiful West-London location, which has been chosen to house the imminent arrival of its latest exhibition by gifted artist, Russell Marshall, entitled “40 A Kate Moss Retrospective”. Presented in collaboration with Urban/Contemporary Art-brand, “Beautiful Crime”, it is in dedication to and celebration of the supermodel’s 40th birthday, featuring ten screen-printed canvases, in a selection of ten hues, themselves, available in ten variant colour combinations! Sourced from Marshall’s own photographs, each canvas captures the model at differing stages of her career, from the new-face, spotted at an airport, through to her meteoric rise to entrepreneurial/iconoclastic status… and the anticipation has set the world’s media on fire!

They’re right to be excited!

Imitate Modern is the perfect backdrop in which to showcase the visual journey of Kate Moss, who  has been a fearless and bold protagonist within the Fashion Industry. Her ability to encapsulate and inspire trends has seen her career catapult her into the upper-echalons of her field, yet she has maintained an inner poise, which has infused each campaign with greater depth and authenticity. So, here’s to you at 40, Kate…and to being 25 years, strong, in the one-off world of la mode….

…..Long may your fashion-forward meteor continue to rise!

“40 A KATE MOSS RETROSPECTIVE” RUNS FROM: 17TH JANUARY > 15TH FEBRUARY 2014 AT: IMITATE MODERN, 27A DEVONSHIRE STREET, LONDON, W1G 6PN ~ MON>FRI: 10a.m > 6p.m ~ FREE!

www.imitatemodern.com ~ www.beautifulcrime.com

©AFROW2014-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

LAUNCH: LAUREN BAKER ART WILL ‘BLOW YOUR MIND’!

Imagine it…You alight with me at a Dalston Junction, which is giving birth to commuters, running-before-they-can-walk, to get to the already-distorted buses, distended, from overcrowding. We navigate our footsteps to the next available anaconda-queue, in anticipation of another modern-day Routemaster, to whisk us from Kingsland to Stoke Newington High Street and, arrive at contemporary art gallery-come-hang-out, of Hang-Up Pictures. Well, imagine that’s exactly what we did, as I take you on a tour through the mind-altering world of East-London, city-girl-turned-super-artist, Lauren Baker!

Owned by uber-curator, Ben Cotton and run alongside his wonder-woman sidekick, Carla, and their happening Hang-Up team, the gallery is a never-ending space whose walls change, chameleon-like, with the intense turn-around of incredible artists. Only a few winter-weeks had wound their way forward through the calendar, since Radiohead collaborator, Stanley Donwood had graced the walls with scenes from his ‘Apocalypse Boutique’, with ‘Karma Police’ being sonically speaker-piped into our waiting aural canals. Now, it was a decedent, two-tiered boudoir, with animal skulls of all dimensions, proudly-protruding along the vertical, with their human crania on the horizontal. Parallel uprights were replete with starburst relief-work and mirror-lightning bolts, complementing the intermittent thunderclap applause from beneath your feet in, enticing you to follow them below-deck.

What had been a second exhibiting room, had now become a night-sky-muralled, fog-smoke-filled, neon-flashing, lightning installation, which was all-encompassing, in swallowing you whole, whilst itself, spitting out rays of incandescent intensity. An homage to the power of Nature, it was, to me, a welcome riot-to-the-senses, which made my heart beat through my chest, like the bassline of the best dub-plate special!

En route upstairs, your eyes are seized upon by a golden sculpture of DNA, which has been drawn, 3-D printed, re-shaped and re-made into a thought-provoking representation of the precious fragility of the unique, human being. Yet, there was no point in trying to shift gear, since you could do all of that over the days to come (which I have been doing!)…All that was necessary, was to open the pores, accept the nourishment of Lauren Baker’s creations and release the sweat-inducing effect of sweltering multi-media art! Doingso was a lamp unto my neuro-processing-pathways, hitting me with the supreme potencies of Life, Death and the Afterlife, succinctly-presented via the stunningly poignant ‘White Light’. A mirrored infinity-coffin is leant, perpendicular fashion, as if propping up some celestial bar, daring viewers to come face-to-face with their own mortality/ immortality, dependent upon their respective perspective. Baker also points-the-finger at reflecting on existence, through clusters of projectile digits, protruding from a mini-fridge and 3-D wall-art, challenging the observer to ponder disillusionment in life’s journey and yet, not dwell on it. Why? Well, my thought is that one finger pointed in your direction, leaves the remainder pointing back at someone else. I assimilated them as a host of sat-navs, indicating the true-north of my authentic creative direction.

It was pointless to linger, either, as the gallery was soon heaving with well-wishing guests, apt for drowning in hip-hop, whilst making sequential moves around encased, hyper-embellished skull-art, made in collaboration with Sequin Kay, herself a rising-art star. in addition, the crystallised touch was applied to those of rodents, showing an acute attention-to-detail. Antlers were also bedecked in gold-leaf, or high-visibility flourescent pink paint, with my favoured set, adorned in amethyst crystal and the most stunning magpie plumage. Pieces doused in Mexican-styled paint-techniques showed Baker’s innate sensibilty to both, transforming and translating global culture, in an extremely audacious and masterly manner.

For many, the showstopper was a beating ferrofluid heart, blackened through the acrid, magnetic, influence of one lover’s presence upon another. The narrative is fulfilled in the melancholic hope that, still beating, life-after-loss can and does go on. Being the last exhibit I saw, on exiting, it left me with an essence of stoicism. Indeed, compounded by my enthusiastic admiration of such gargantuan and eclectic dynamism from Lauren Baker, the artisan, I have come to realise a deeper wealth of learning, which is that of appreciating the skeleton anew. After all, it offers us all support, in different ways, and whilst it lies beneath, it is no less beautiful because it is unseen.

I thank Lauren for sharing her distinct ability to encapsulate the meaning of the cycle of life with such raw emotional prowess and the Hang-Up curators for, once again, ensuring that a journey around their gallery is, not only utterly mind-blowing, but highly recommendable and totally unforgettable!

‘You Blow My Mind’ is on now until 24th January!

 www.hanguppictures.com  ~ www.laurenbakerart.com

http://www.sequinkay.co.uk/

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED