lingua franca

5 Jun 2024 – 10 Jun 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00

Free admission

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The Handbag Factory

England, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Vauxhall (Victoria), Kennington / Oval (Northern)
  • Vauxhall (South Western Railway)
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TM Projects is delighted to present a pioneering initiative bringing together the work of a fashion designer Adam.É and visual artists Phil Hale and Stephen Akpo, the result of an ongoing collaboration since the beginning of the year.


Lingua Franca will open on June 5th as part of the 40th anniversary of London Fashion Week at the Handbag Factory, and will host the London Fashion Week Evening Event on June 8th. The show celebrates the diversity of the London creative scene and presents a new way of looking at different forms of artistic expression. It features the latest designs by Adam.É, paintings by Phil Hale and recent works by Stephen Akpo. The project is curated and supported by TM Projects, a London-based art gallery and cultural platform.

Adam.É is a menswear fashion brand founded by Adam Elyassé. In his work, Moroccan craft and culture are merged together with technologically advanced designs hand-sewn in East London. Having recently won the Fashion Trust Arabia Debut Talent award, Adam is one of the most promising and celebrated designers in London. To mark this milestone in Adam Elyassé’s career, selected looks from his new project will be shown in dialogue with visual artists whose work communicates similar ideas and expresses the same underlying desire to reflect on the current human condition. 

Phil Hale is a renowned painter whose figurative work demonstrates the darkness and complexity of the human experience. Hale grew up in the US and Kenya, and had an outstanding career working with portraiture, illustration, and filmmaking. The show will feature several paintings from the Enemy and Nostrome series, in which the artist reflects on anxiety and existential concerns that are shaping the cultural narrative in recent years. His paintings indirectly allude to extreme polarities and antagonism in contemporary societies. Hale won joint second prize in the BP Portrait Award. His work is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London, UK, among other places. 

Stephen Akpo is a British artist who expresses a broad process of self-healing through paintings and sculpture. For the past year, Akpo has been a resident in the Sarabande Foundation, a charitable organisation established by Lee Alexander McQueen to foster the most exciting talent in the UK. Stephen Akpo’s solo exhibition at the Foundation is opening on June 20, 2024, encapsulating the result of his year-long residency. In anticipation of this important event in his career, the lingua franca exhibition will feature several paintings which create a dialogue with the other artists on view. His paintings express a profound experience of grief and loss, leading to optimistic conclusions and shining light on the dualistic nature of the human experience.  

Reflecting on various recent events in the world and their personal histories, the fashion designer and the visual artists coalesce to create a unique environment informed by their distinct ways of artistic expression. The dynamic and forceful visual language of Phil Hale’s painting finds its reflection in Adam Elyasse’s design, who uses the same awareness of the human anatomy to reimagine and reshape it in his work. The feeling of uncertainty and apprehension evoked by the artists finds its resolution in Stephen Akpo’s work, whose expressive oil paintings bring us through loss and grief, and transform pain into optimism. The semi-abstract faceless figures in his paintings echo Adam Elyassé’s approach to clothing display  – genderless, faceless structures reject the traditional idea of a fashion presentation. Coming from diverse social backgrounds, places of origin, and generations, the artists collaborate and blur boundaries between fashion and art.

What to expect? Toggle


Tina Maslakova

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Adam Elyassé

Phil Hale

Stephen Akpo


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