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Artists Announced for The Working Artist: The East London Group at Nunnery Gallery

The Nunnery Gallery has announced the names of artists who will be providing new works to accompany the East London Group exhibition, taking place from 29 September 2017 until 17 December 2017.

The East London Group is a little-trained group of artists that began in the 1920's.  Selected by open submission, Lindsey Mendick, Marcus Orlandi and Maxima Smith will create new public artworks, highlighting the buildings still recognisable today from the Groups' paintings, and celebrating their achievements, from their leading role in the anti-fascist movement to the everyday jobs they held.

Curated by writer broadcaster Michael Rosen and radio producer film-maker Emma-Louise Williams, the exhibition’s paintings will show the changing face of the East End after the First World War, and the drastic re-modelling of the area following the Second World War. Focusing on member Albert Turpin, a leading political figure and Mayor of Bethnal Green, the works will tell the story of the East End’s resilience through war and peace, and will be shown alongside sketchbooks and political pamphlets not seen for 70 years.

Antiques News & Fairs - The East London Group at the Nunnery Gallery

Brynhild Parker Portrait, courtesy Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery

Mendick, who recently performed at the Zabludowicz Collection, will commemorate a new park bench in the Group’s memory, installed at the iconic Bow Church and embedded with miniature ceramics that symbolise the views of then and now. 

Orlandi, recognised for his politically engaged work, will explore the parallels between Turpin’s fight against the extremist views of the 30s and our own generation’s struggle with terror.

Smith’s new film salutes Turpin’s day job as a window cleaner, capturing the mesmerising lines of contemporary East End window washers at work.

Other artists to be showcased in the exhibition include B A R Carter, William Coldstream, John Cooper, Elwin Hawthorne, Cecil Osbourne and the Steggles brothers.  Loans have been confirmed from the Government and Arts Council Collections, Tower Hamlets archives, as well as a portrait by Brynhild Parker from Blackburn Museum.

Walking tours of the local area will guide visitors around the new public artworks, finishing at Queen Mary University of London – who have supported the new commissions – where remains of a mural painting by East London Group member Phyllis Bray can still be seen in the People’s Palace.

Antiques News & Fairs - The East London Group at the Nunnery Gallery

Albert Turpin Salmon and Ball © A E Turpin Estate, 2017 Photograph Lucinda Douglas Menzies

The exhibition coincides with the release of several books telling the Group's stories, including the new illustrated memoirs of Albert Turpin: East End Vernacular, Artists who painted London's East End streets in the 20th Century (The Gentle Author: Oct 2017); So They Call You Pisher! A Memoir by Michael Rosen (Verso: Sep 2017); The East End – My Birthright by Albert Turpin (Francis Boutle: Sep 2017); The Story of Titania and Oberon, with illustrations by Phyllis Bray (Pavilion Books: 2017).

Sophie Hill, Nunnery Gallery Co-Director, said: “Our three commissions demonstrate the inspiring talent of young artists working in London, showing incredible skill and sensitivity in drawing our attention to the many layers of the East London Group – the local area, art’s narrative power, the politics, and the challenge of being an artist and having to keep a job down, something many artists juggle today... The chance to commission new works of art that highlight east London’s rich social history is a real treat, and, installed in the public domain, we hope that visitors from across London will enjoy their presence, together with our local community.”

The Working Artist: The East London Group will take place at the Nunnery Gallery, and on and around Bow Road from 29 September 2017 until 17 December 2017.  For more information, visit the Nunnery Gallery.

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