The show that is bringing the final curtain down at the Elspeth Kyle before the gallery moves into the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre, London Bridge features two exhibitions running simultaneously both very different but with homelessness at their nucleus.
Floor one of the Elspeth Kyle features an exhibition in collaboration with the Smart Network, entitled, Looking At The Stars. Looking At The Stars features an exhibition of paintings by homeless artists, thus, giving an opportunity to purchase paintings of great vibrancy, freshness and with tremendous inspirational qualities.
The SMart Network is a unique charity dedicated to empowering homeless and socially excluded people through arts. The philosophy of SMart is based on a model of rehabilitation through the arts. SMart has very close relationships with leading cultural institutions including: The National Gallery, The British Museum, Somerset House & the Courtauld Institute, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Wallace Collection. Collectively, they provide: access to cultural resources, special exhibition access, practical workshops and exhibitions of SMart artists.
Hawkins & Co, an exhibition held to coincide with the bicentenary of the 1807 Act Abolishing the Slave Trade in British ships, will occupy floor two of the gallery.
Six contemporary artists consider the legacy of Sir John Hawkins who, in 1562, became the first Englishman to participate in the mass kidnapping of people from Africa - transporting them into the horrors of enslavement in the forced labour camps of the Caribbean and the Americas. Hawkins went on to become Treasurer of the English Navy under Queen Elizabeth I.
Artists Larry Achiampong, Jean-Francois Bocle, Kimathi Donkor, Corrine Edwards, Joelle Ferly and Tam Joseph re-evaluate and reinterpret the cultural significance of this history from the perspective of the 21st century.