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Home HRArt and auctions Muse of Mayfair: a showcase of independent-minded London artists

Muse of Mayfair: a showcase of independent-minded London artists

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Tara Del Rey: sunbursts of energy.

Muse of Mayfair: a showcase of independent-minded London artists

By James Brewer

A touch of genius – just the one glint of something special – is no longer enough. Multi-talented artists are responding to the platform which is London’s gallery scene with an energy that inspires awe. Their creativity surges beyond what is seen in the first instance in their paintings, although that alone excites admiration.

Such was the case with the interdisciplinary virtuosi who rallied to an exhibition entitled Exotic Blend Grand, Muse of Mayfair, from late August to September 3, 2023. at 54 The Gallery in Shepherd Market, a cool tangle of narrow streets in the West End. The show, billed as “a week of unique, eclectic expression through art and music” was bonded together with panache by Tashizart, the short name for the collective around the irrepressible Tashi Khan, who herself has many strings to her bow as artist, curator, and interior designer.

Olga Bolkisieva: symbiosis of organic shapes.

In the words of Tashi: “This is not merely an exhibition; it is a celebration of artistic evolution, bearing witness to the continued legacy of trailblazing individuals in the arts throughout London’s storied history and beyond.” For this undertaking, which was structured without boundaries, as it were, Tashi was joined in the curatorial role by Marcela Olivia Dorantes, Helen Dyne, Janet Cawthorne, and Johanne Narayn.

Painting during the day and singing throughout the night, Yaneise Ramos was typical of the charismatic personalities in the show: she says that she wears both passions on her sleeve. Yaneise, originally from São Tomé and Príncipe, a republic in the Gulf of Guinea which was a Portuguese colony until 1975, and who uses the stage name Cidolem, in addition to traditional two-dimensional art provides “statement” pieces for homes and offices. This “cross-artist,” as she styles herself, is “an abstract singer and an acoustic soul singer” and is creating an impact with dramatic symbolist works such as Tears of the Sun, painted in acrylic on canvas.

Tears of the Sun. By Yaneise Ramos

Also exploring subtle meanings beneath the surface of contemporary culture, legends and mythologies is Olga Bolkisieva. One of her untitled works on display was an acrylic in which a macabre feeling of symbiosis haunts organic shapes. An immediacy of expression shows the close relationship between the artist and the artwork. Olga seeks to transmit a narrative in dimensions that are unattainable by the spoken word.

Olga experiments in other media, her photography and film embracing abstract visual imagery derived from cityscapes. In her City series she tackles geometric and architectural construction, the industrial landscape and qualities of objects invisible to the naked eye. She incorporates digital technology including multi-screen video installation.

Painter and poet Marta Boros, who signs her work as Lola, continues to illustrate her autobiography with a raw palette. Her avant-garde approach produces unsettling, poignant canvases.  A person like Marta who is ready to tell their story defiantly and unflinchingly shakes us out of complacency.

Tara Del Rey’s paintings are “mystical – they take people into other worlds,” she says. They are sunbursts of energy. Tara is determined to reach beyond the vast terrain (new media, installation and conceptual art, performance art) of postmodern art, into “post-postmodernism.”

Some years ago at art college (she studied at Central Saint Martins and Goldsmiths College in London) Tara wrote a condemnation of postmodernism, for which she says she was chastised by her tutors. Unrepentant, she carried on proclaiming that “postmodernism is dead” and developing what she calls her “visionary art.”

Marta Boros with her autobiographical canvases.

Her emotionally intense artwork, which includes performance and films, “focuses unapologetically on sincerity, beauty, and the sublime,” and is designed to bear healing and transformational vitality. She is “fatigued by cynicism, pastiche and deconstruction” but enthused by the Platonic Ideals of good, beauty and wholeness and by the ancient sacred art of India, China and Tibet. Tara incorporates her lifelong study and practice of meditation into each painting, video, and performance art piece; and highlights contemporary and historical issues of female power and powerlessness.

Tashi Khan: ingenious curator.

Another accomplished woman who has succeeded in a variety of fields is opera singer Anne Fridal who was in fine voice during the exhibition opening event on Wednesday 30th August. The Trinidad-born soprano who studied at London’s Royal College of Music, speaks of her professional debut at Glyndebourne, and lays claim to have been the first person to have performed operatic versions of calypsos, adding to her repertoire of spirituals, jazz, and popular songs. She recently published a book entitled The A to Z of Black Heroes highlighting the achievements of 26 men and women from the 18th century onwards.

Exhibiting too at the Shepherd Market venue were Tashi Khan, Johanne Narayn, Janet Cawthorne, Michael Lam, Helen Dyne, Joy Trpkovic, Mod Art, Ed Mirza, facelisa Art, Penelope Clare Price, Leonardo Patterson, Jesse De Freitas, Tounama Art and Alena Lahr.

In addition to the 17 artists whose work was displayed on the ground floor, one floor down was the remarkable El Mural Gallery, a project that curates city collections of fine art murals. El Mural’s current launch is what it calls the Tarapoto Collection. Tarapoto is a hot and humid city with 100,000 inhabitants in northern Peru at an altitude of 356m amid Amazonian cloud forest and luxuriant palm trees, on the Shilcayo River. 

Naji Makarem of El Mural Gallery with Ni Una Mas.

The concept of the collection was developed by the El Mural Gallery curator, Dr Naji Makarem, a London-based economic geographer much concerned over environmental degradation: he has a PhD in urban planning and the future of cities and regions. On field trips to Tarapoto with his masters students, he recorded on his iPhone in 2018 two murals, referred to as Ni Una Mas and Letting Go, and printed and framed them. In March 2020, his enterprise commissioned José-Luis, a professional photographer living in Lima, to capture the mural series. Just as well, for the murals snapped by phone were showing signs of weathering and needed to be documented in higher resolution.

After a sprint around Tarapoto by moto-taxi, Naji and José-Luis selected 24 murals for photography the technical endeavour began to show them in the most favourable light. The visually stunning results of the murals’ animal and avian symbolism can be seen at www.elmuralgallery.com

For instance, the mural Ni Una Mas is captioned “Fourth generation feminist movement collaborates with artist to raise awareness. By Machuca.” Another, by El Amaru, is tagged “Nature offers an abundance of gifts with an open hand.” David Cromwell writes of his contribution: “The Joy of Life is released to spread its wings.” Other artists involved include Jonathan Principe, Miguel Merida, El Decertor, Sose, Freddy Tuanama, Evocal, Felixantos, Miguel Correa and Diego Capuena.

The verdict of visitors to the show was it should be “hats off” to Tashi Khan – who loves incorporating flamboyant hats in her performance and artwork – and her colleagues for their resourcefulness and originality.

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