City Lit Blog

Inaugural show '100 Portraits' at the new City Lit Gallery

Story added 24th Oct 2019

100 Portraits exhibition, City Lit


Until 15th December 2019

City Lit Gallery, 1-10 Keeley Street, London WC2B 4BA

This exhibition shows our 100 Centenary portraits; a celebration of people who contribute to making City Lit special. The photographs offer an insight into the wide range of learning possible at City Lit, from the skills and knowledge that tutors offer to the many talents that students develop. Participants were invited to loan a piece of work for this inaugural exhibition to highlight the breadth and variety of skills accomplished in their subjects.

Photographs by Dominic Harris; 'My ‘100 Portraits’ series celebrates the people that make or have made City Lit so special. I started two years before the college’s centenary and have roughly taken one portrait per week for 100 weeks. The series includes current and past students and staff across the college and the majority of the photographs have been taken outside of the college, such as during performances or lectures, or in their studios and work places'.

Wednesday 4th December, 17:30-19:30
We are delighted to welcome you to an evening reception to mark the close of 100 Portraits - please RSVP to: events@citylit.ac.uk  

As part of our 2019 Centenary celebrations, the City Lit Gallery opened in September 2019 by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, funded through the Mayor’s capital investment programme.

 

Exhibitors

Alex Harley, Alison Morris, Angela Tulloch, Annemarie O'Sullivan, Carmen and Luisa, Chika Nakagawa, Clancy Gebler Davies, Dee Shulman, Dominic Harris, Eadie Heyderman, Jai Chaudhuri, Kathy Abbott, Louise Seijen Ten Hoorn, Lucille Lewin, Malorie Blackman Mario Lautier Vella,Mary Butcher, Petros Moschos, Robert Cooper, Sara Dhillon, Simon English, Sumayya Usmani, Linda Gold, Thomas Gosebruch, Wendy Elia, Russell Aldersson 

100 Portraits Montage

 

Artist statements

ALEXANDRA HARLEY 

Cyttan
Limestone and acrylic rod

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
Finding a potential new audience is always exciting!

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 
Don’t leave it too late! 

ALISON MORRIS

A trio of sterling silver arm jewellery featuring a distinctive claw, the signature mark of my Venom collection.

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
These pieces are inspired by my love of smooth sleek simple shapes with a minimal aesthetic. I am delighted to show my pieces at City Lit. I have attended many jewellery and design courses here and worked with a variety of materials.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 
Just do it! Courses are informative and fun. My tutors have been encouraging, supportive and motivating. I have learnt so much here. When I think of something new I want to learn, I always take a look at the City Lit website first.

ANGELA TULLOCH

Motherless
Fabric, plaster, wire and wood

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
I was inspired by my sculpture tutor to create a stack structure. I became fascinated with the softness and flexibility of the materials I was using, and later on with the rigidity of the drying process which in turn gives it a tough element. However, within this element there is the potential for change and adaptation. These women emerged from this idea. Women who are made from a strong substance, who believe that united together with the love of their children, anything is possible. Along with the unbreakable force of the circle gathering. 

In Motherless, Mothers wait for their children to return after being taken away from their home. The mothers believed by standing united together, gazing at the night skies their believed children would return home – but they never did. Each different fabric represents an African tribe. 

I am very excited to show my sculptures. It is such an opportunity and an honor to be part of something fresh and bright for the future – an inspiration for students too! 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
Just go for it! You never know what you can achieve. 

ANNEMARIE O'SULLIVAN

3 Sweet Chestnut Trays

Steamed sweet chestnut rim with woven willow, all materials grown in East Sussex

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
These pieces form part of a body of work which I developed as a student at City Lit. I researched the materials and craft skills which were accessible in my local area in Sussex.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 
For me it was life-changing. I had never made anything before. Now I am a full-time maker and designer. City Lit turned my world on its head. All for the better.

CARMEN & LUISA

Two holes, no matter
Mixed media (ceramic vinyl, plastic, and a plant)

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
The piece comes from a reflection about the role of the body in the digitalization of life. City Lit has been very important for the development of our careers as artists. It is where it all began. 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
Just do it, you won’t regret it.

CHIKAKO NAKAGWA 

Illustrated certificates 

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
My certificates use Japanese proverbs and expressions to encourage and applaud the determination of students to achieve their learning goals. The drawings express my passion towards the power of learning. I am excited to illustrate the creative spirit and originality shared by City Lit’s tutors, and the appreciation we feel towards our students.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
Learning is the soil of the soul. Find your passion to learn and you will grow!

CLANCY GEBLER DAVIES

HerSuit 13/02/2018 14.08
Self-portrait wrapped in my own hair. Shot in City Lit's Kean Street photo studio.

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

This piece had been bubbling around in my mind for a while. Women and girls are routinely blamed for being assaulted because they are either wearing too many clothes - or not enough. Wearing a mini-skirt or a hijab? It's your own fault if you are subjected to violence - even rape.

The number of physical attacks on Muslim women rose sharply after Boris Johnson said they looked like "letterboxes". He's our Prime Minister now. Many religions and "conservative" societies want to control what women do with their own hair whether it is to cover it, wax it off or cut or shave it. This picture is my response. 

HerSuit was chosen by City Lit Fellow Grayson Perry when he curated last year's Royal Academy of Art Summer Show and he hung it in the main room. It was shot in the City Lit photography studio so I am thrilled that it has been chosen to be hung here as part of the City Lit 100 celebrations. 

The Photography department at City has been fantastic. I have learnt so much from them and they have been exceptionally supportive. I am in a major show later this year at the Photographer's Gallery and I think they are all nearly as pleased as I am.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 

Stop thinking about it and do it! There really is a course for everyone. There are lots of courses that will educate you and could help with employment - but don't forget to have fun. So many of the tutors are so generous with knowledge they have gained practicing their skills over many years. City Lit also tries hard to be a kind environment that treats everyone equally and fairly.

DEE SHULMAN

Double page spread illustration for new Wolfie the orphan dog book series.
Giclee print

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

This is the first book series I’ve worked on using Procreate on my iPad and I have really enjoyed the process.  Although I love working with paper and paint, pens, brushes and ink, I’m so excited by the scope of digital textures and brush options. I also love the fact that you can pack an iPad with its full paint-box options and use it anywhere, without having to risk ink or paint spills!  

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 

I love teaching at the City Lit mostly because it’s such a supportive, well-equipped centre, with an astounding breadth of course opportunities. Most of the tutors I know are also learners here, because the courses are so current, taught by professionals who understand the practical application of their subject. They also offer real flexibility in times and dates.

DR EADIE HEYDERMAN 

Memoir 'Woman in a White Coat' written under the pseudonym of Dr Abby J Waterman

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

I have four children and four grandchildren and at the age of 85 wanted to leave them an account of my life and times – getting on for 100 years of contemporary history. 

Learning something new not only broadens your knowledge but helps retain your mental faculties, gets you out of the house to meet and make friends with a completely different group of people and generally improves your wellbeing. 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 

City Lit has a tremendous range of subjects and classes to choose from – something for everyone. 

JAI CHAUDHURI  

Drawing made from Rembrandt’s Portrait of Margaretha de Geer
Pencil on paper

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

When I was 18 and a student on my Foundation course I remember one of my tutors talking to me about Rembrandt’s portraits and singling out Margaretha de Geer which I went and saw at the National Gallery very soon after. It became one of my favourite paintings and an image which I have always returned to for inspiration when painting. So perhaps it’s fitting to exhibit it at the City Lit where I teach on the Foundation Course as a way of showing my students what I looked at when like them, I was also learning.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 
Could be the first step in changing your creative life!

KATHY ABBOTT

Winged Chariot by Walter de la Mare
Faber and Faber, 1951. First Edition
Fine leather binding in Nigerian goatskin, handmade paper and Caplain gold leaf

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

This book contains one long poem about the passing of time, both in the poet’s life and within nature – it is both tender and solemn. It is wonderful to be able to show this piece of work at City Lit because it was made alongside my students during my Advanced Level Fine Binding course at City Lit and it is one of my favourite bindings. 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 

This is a very special place, where there are no limits to what you can learn and no limitations on who can learn here – everyone is welcome.

LOUISE SEIJEN TEN HOORN

Sculptural necklaces on wooden stands
From the series Equilibrium
Silver, steel, walnut wood

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
These sculptural necklaces are inspired by the theme of Metamorphosis. I love the challenge of trying to capture a sense of movement in a static material. Learners are always keen to find out what I’m working on and they often tell me what they think about it. I find their enthusiasm very inspiring and I hope that my jewellery practice is equally stimulating for the students, which is why I’m excited to show these pieces at City Lit.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
Besides teaching at City lit, I also take courses regularly. With every course I take, I feel challenged and enriched. I always come away with new skills, a range of exciting experiments, new ideas and sometimes even new friends!

LUCILLE LEWIN

The Language of Tears
From the series Alchemical Bodies
Earthenware

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
I have included this piece as it is a continuation of the themes first considered and explored in my time at City Lit, inspired by the first experiments that I undertook in the very early days of my practice. These were expanded on in the work I showed at the Diploma Show in an installation at the end of the course. I was inspired by the incredibly talented tutors who encouraged me to experiment, be brave and work conceptually, among them Robert Cooper, Ruth Franklin and Annie Turner.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
DO IT. City Lit is a most unique and extraordinary institution. It serves the community and provides a place where people from all walks of life - from different backgrounds, education levels, and levels of experience can come together and learn from each other and from a very talented pool of teachers.
  

MARIO LAUTIER VELLA

Please
Graphite, charcoal and chalk on paper

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
As a former City Lit art student and now City Lit art teacher, I’m truly honored to be included in this exhibition. I started my City Lit career in this room, as part of the team working in what was the Enrolment office. After my day shift, I’d go upstairs to my evening art class, be it sculpture, sewing, painting or photo etching, all of which led to a place on the City Lit Fine Art course followed by a Masters in Art and Media. 

I’m chuffed that I’m now able to take part in this special City Lit celebration. The drawing on show has its roots in my initial City Lit studies – an ongoing fascination with masks, personas, characters and alter-egos captured in transient encounters, playful reverie and sticky situations. 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
Do it! You just never know where it will lead you. Whether you have professional ambitions, are curious about a subject or want to meet people with the same interests, City Lit is a fantastic place. Being here changed my life and I’m extremely proud to be a ‘child’ of City Lit. And my education hasn’t stopped - I am always learning new things that feed both my artistic and teaching practices.

MARY BUTCHER

Bark Weaving
Willow, willow bark, dogwood, poplar, waxed linen threads

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
The original inspiration for a series of works in this and related forms was a Central African stringed instrument for plucking, in which the strings were raised from a wooden platform. The nature of natural materials, their fundamental properties of flexibility, rich colouration, texture, significant fragrance and the ways in which they can be used have interested me for many years, both as an ecologist and as a basketmaker.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
City Lit is an amazing place for providing multiple new and fascinating ways for personal development, either in the wide spread of expertise taught or with in-depth study towards deep understanding of one specialist area.

PETROS MOSCHOS

Alberto Ginastera’s Danza de la moza donosa [Dance of the beautiful maiden] from Danzas Argentinas op.2. 

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
Danza de la moza donosa is a sensual piece with beautiful cantabile lines in a very melancholic manner. It belongs to Ginastera’s early period of composition known as Objective Nationalism where the composer combines elements of Argentine folklore and modern techniques of avant garde.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
City Lit is a very inspiring place that provides all sorts of opportunities to accomplish one’s passions and aspirations. 

ROBERT COOPER

Ceramic vessel
Stoneware clay, slips, glaze 

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
I collect textiles fragments/other things. I want to give a sense of how ideas and cultural objects hold their time, persist and also are changed by new ideas and use, to continue.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 
Do it! 

SARAH DHILLON

Afro-Cuban ensemble.

SIMON ENGLISH

Antoine Morieult
Ink on paper 

SUMAYYA USMANI

Summers Under the Tamarind Tree
Mountain Berries and Desert Spice

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

The flavour of my homeland Pakistan, my memories of food and growing up there and trying to bring light to a lesser-known culinary heritage. I am excited to show this at City Lit because having done a food writing course I know how many of us hope to write books that define us. Having been successful in doing so, I hope to inspire others in not ever giving up on their dreams.

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 

Believe in what you are aiming to achieve and don’t let any hurdle, especially your own doubts, let you lose sight of your goal.

LINDA GOLD 

‘Semblance' self portrait
Oil on canvas

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?
My self portrait Semblance is the result of a full year of study and close observational sketching and painting under the guidance of talented team of tutors from the City Lit Year of Figure and Portrait course. I was especially thrilled to have this image selected to represent our recent end of course exhibition at Espacio Gallery in June 2019. 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
I absolutely would recommend City Lit, it is a wonderful adult educational facility, the visual arts department has the most talented and supportive tutors. I never regret enrolling on any City Lit art course, which has given me the confidence and enabled me to pursue my passion for art. 

THOMAS GOSEBRUCH

Untitled
Oil paint on cardboard

WENDY ELIA

A Dance To The Music of Time II
Oil on Canvas

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

A Dance to the Music of Time II was inspired by a line in the play ‘A Man for All Seasons’ by Robert Bolt. Thomas More refused to acknowledge Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England (the Oath of Supremacy) and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He was convicted of treason and executed. His daughter pleads with him to take the oath even if he does not believe in it.

"When a man takes an oath Meg, he's holding his own self in his own hands. Like water, and if he opens his fingers then - he needn't hope to find himself again."

Wendy Elia revisits a painting made when her children were very young now in this - they are adults. Despite their calm demeanour, chaos threatens and surveillance cameras watch us as we look in.

Water; like integrity and belief, runs through the dancer’s fingers. A Holbein engraving in the far corner depicts Death not sparing the Rich Man as he counts his money, which spills out into the painted world. 

Images of the great concerns of our times (and past times) sit on the mirror;

The Suffragette badge balances on the edge, a rubber bullet canister, picked up in Ireland at the times of the riots. The famous image form Goya’s Disasters of War series.

The Gentileschi #metoo moment of Susanna falsely accused. The ship lost in the ice reminding us of the impending disaster of climate change. The clock set on nuclear alert at its highest since the 1960s. Through the window behind her son lies the European flag in the rubble. 

The window behind the dancer reveals in the distance a burning Grenfell tower and what could be a rape or a mugging in the alley way.

The title derives from a seventeenth century painting by French master Nicolas Poussin, currently on display in London’s Wallace Collection. Like Poussin’s meditation on time, music, dance, and fortune, Elia’s oeuvre is replete with symbols and narrative mystery, alluding to myriad other artworks. Part psychological portraits, part exploration of the nature of creativity, part interior landscapes, part histories of London then and now, these paintings invite us to consider the fate of our own childhood aspirations. 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be? 
A great place to learn!

RUSSELL ALDERSSON

A video file interpreting a song into British Sign Language. This is the full version but snippets of this were edited into a pop music video. 

What inspired this piece of work and why are you excited to show it at City Lit?

As well as being a teacher of deaf adults I am also a freelance interpreter, usually my interpreting work is in the community doing medical type appointments. This was something different allowing me to express my creative side! 

If you could say one thing to someone thinking about enrolling at City Lit what would it be?
This small step could take you on a completely different path. It’s never too late to try something new and learning is the gym for the brain and soul.