Category: First Thursdays — Published:

As the weather grows colder, cozy up next to works of art this November at a few of our neighbouring East End galleries.

For this month’s digital edition of First Thursdays, our friends at Making Space Gallery share an ongoing collaboration with artist and professor Lucy Orta, Poplar Works, and the London College of Fashion. Here they celebrate the work of textile artists who reflect on themes of memory, conflict, cultural diversity and what it means to feel at home.

At Unit G, artist Lily Rigby unveils a series of large-scale paintings in her first solo exhibition in London, filling the gallery space with energetic bursts of colour.

Olivia Taberner, Bittersweet Symphony, 2021, on view in Traces: Stories of Migration. Courtesy of the artist and Making Space Gallery.

Making Space Gallery

Traces: Stories of Migration
Thursday 4th – Sunday 7th November 2021 11 to 4pm
Late opening night Thursday 4th November 5 to 9pm

Traces: Stories of Migration explores the personal stories and experiences of people affected by migration and the memories accumulated along these journeys.

Initiated by professor and artist Lucy Orta, the project explores the narrative potential of fabric and invites communities to create textile-based artworks that tell stories of oft overlooked histories. The exhibition at the Making Space Gallery showcases 13 artists from Poplar Works community and 2 BA Textile students from London College of Fashion, UAL, and further features a selection of the textile artefacts realised during the pandemic. A series of workshops earlier this spring brought together first, second and third generation women and men from London’s East End to reflect on themes from memory and conflict, to cultural diversity and what it means to feel at home.

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the London College of Fashion’s Making for Change, Poplar Works, University of the Arts London, Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Fitzrovia Noir CIC.

Natalija, Traces: Stories of Migration, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Making Space Gallery.

Unit G London

Lily Rigby: everlasting evanescence 
5-14 November 2021
5 Prince Edward Road, Hackney Wick, London E9 5LX

Known for her large-scale, dramatic paintings, this new exhibition sees emerging artist Lily Rigby exploring the colours and themes of the spring blossoms she was drawn to during the last year of the pandemic. The collection of twelve canvases captures moments in nature that are fleeting, resulting in works that feel charged with energy and optimism.

Each of Rigby’s new works explore the vibrant blossoms that flourish in the springtime. She explains: “For the last few years I’ve been drawn to the land, the sea and the sky and have used them as a starting point for my work. After a year of great transition, I’ve been able to embrace life as a full time artist – which has given my work more time to develop. During both spring lockdowns I became fascinated with the blossoms – they are fleeting, times of change which serve as a bridge between the dark of winter and the upcoming light of spring. This reflects that we can’t control the length of life, like the length of bloom, yet we can focus on embracing and enjoying the beauty available in the present.” The finished works are optimistic and also challenging, tapping into themes of new beginnings and vulnerability.

Lily Rigby, once in our time, Oil on canvas, 120×140 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Unit G.


On the first Thursday of every month, over 150 galleries in East London come together and run free events, exhibitions, talks and private views during a special late opening or online celebration. Find out more about First Thursdays here.