Despite the autumnal chill creeping into October, our recommendations are ready to brighten even the gloomiest day. As is our tradition, our curated walking route will lead you through the heart of East London. This month, you will explore late openings at galleries and cultural landmarks, converging contemporary art, book launches, and captivating stories of local communities.
The walking route will start from the Whitechapel Gallery and head to the A.I. Gallery, where you will immerse yourself in the powerful exhibition Gestures of Resistance. Born in collaboration with the Shangai-based project space LINSEED, this group show brings together six talented artists from Asian backgrounds, each exploring the notion of reticence and challenging imposed norms within their specific cultural and social identities – Weixin QUEK CHONG (b. 1988, Singapore), Min Jia (b. 2001, Ürümqi, China), Samak KOSEM (b. 1984, Thailand), Asami SHOJI (b. 1988, Japan), Rachel YOUN (b.1994, USA), ZHENG Zhilin (b. 1991, Guangdong, China). Through paintings, videos, sculptures, and installations, the exhibition reveals traces of personal and intimate affection, material desires, and their embodiment. It takes a closer look at the body as the corpus and conduit of these gestures, inviting viewers to contemplate the complexities of resistance and identity.
The second stop will be at Autograph for the exhibition Armet Francis: Beyond The Black Triangle, celebrating Francis’ photographic journey over 40 years, encapsulating the fragmented experiences of diasporic communities. For more than four decades, the Jamaican-British photographer dedicated his artistic practice to documenting life-affirming moments and celebrating the resilience and survival of African diasporic cultures. Some of his most known works include his 1970s Brixton Market fashion shoots of playful and rare frames of black joy and celebration. Or, his 2008 portraits of those who arrived on the Empire Windrush, critical interventions that gave names to the faces of those who journeyed on that historic voyage that changed Britain forever. He also photographed young black Londoners who took to the streets in protest at the lack of justice for those who perished in the New Cross Fire of 1981 and political activists such as Angela Davis.
From there, the tour will continue to Standpoint Gallery for Thinking is Making: Objects in a Space, a launch of a new publication, alongside an exhibition of limited edition lithographs and sculptures from 2013 to 2023 from the award winners of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, ‘Thinking is Making: Objects’ in a Space. The book launch marks the 20th anniversary of the most significant prize for emerging sculptors in the UK and it assembles voices of leading figures of contemporary British sculpture as they examine the relationship between the object and its maker within this mediated field. The fully illustrated book presents the winners from the past ten years – Lee Holden, Rosie Edwards, Dean Kenning, Olivia Bax, Anna Reading, Frances Richardson, Beth Collar, Megan Broadmeadow, Kate Lyddon and Iain Hales – along with a variety of critical texts, including a conversation between former award judges Lisa Le Feuvre, Phyllida Barlow, Hew Locke and Mike Nelson.
Later, you will have the chance to have a nice walk across East London to the Hackney Museum for At Home in Hackney: A Community Photographed 1970s-Today. The exhibition captures five decades of Hackney’s life through photos from 1970s activism to the current club scene. Born as a collaboration between the Hackney Museum, East London Photographers Collective and East End Archive, it features work from established and emerging photographers connected with Hackney, documenting the celebrations, disruptions and everyday lives of the borough and its people. The photographers featured in the exhibitions include Dennis Morris, Neil Martinson, Rachel Whiteread and Tom Hunter.
Our final destination, just a few minutes from the Hackney Museum – in Narrow Way Square on Mare Street – is a public artwork by Veronica Ryan commissioned by the Hackney Windrush Art Commission. The public sculpture depicts familiar Caribbean fruits and vegetables, such as a breadfruit, soursop and custard apple, which Ryan aimed to create to honour her community and the legacy of the Windrush generation in Britain. These beautifully made bronze and marble sculptures are the first permanent public sculpture by a black female artist in the United Kingdom.