Friday, 1 May 2009

The October Gallery, Bloomsbury

It is Friday 1st May and everyone is smiling! With high hopes for the sunny bank holiday weekend ahead I took an enthusiastic stroll through Bloomsbury this lunchtime. After passing packed lunch-box eaters, inspired summer shoppers and the lucky mid-day wine sipping sorts I reached the perfect picnic spot when I stumbled across Queen Square. The surrounding Victorian buildings and carefully gardened square gives this little city haven a peaceful garden like feel.

Just off the square lies the October Gallery, appropriately named after the month it was built, the lovely space represents artists from around the planet, promoting Transvangarde art - the trans-cultural avante-garde. After finishing my sandwich I stepped from the sunny outdoors into its airy and bright atmosphere. With pieces from11 artists the room displays a range of bold canvases, small sculptures and prints.

Rachd Koraichi, an internationally reknowned Arab artist, explores Sufi mysticism (the mythical aspect of Islam) in his work and the detailed lithographic etchings really grasped my attention. All the detailed signs and numerology speak of a dimension quite unknown to myself. Another artist whose work engaged my basic understanding of Islam was Tajammul, whose aim is to give visual expression to the verses in the Quaran, and like Koraichi, bring out its mystical meaning through art. From intricacy to ethereal oversize plastic bags! Huan Xu, a Chinese artist looks at the fragile nature of the contemporary global econony.

Bloomsbury is home to both the British Museum and School of Oriental and African Studies, making the October Gallery the perfect place for the Transvangarde artists. This exhibition is showing until 16th May but it is shortly followed by Beninese artist, Gerard Quenum's 'Stowaways'. His work comprises of whimsical portraits made by recycled objects that speak of a diverse history but also represent individuals observed in Quenum's local environment. - What's more the exhibition space offers a very tempting lunch-ing location!

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