Art Exhibition

We have exciting news! The way our Gallery Cafe exhibitions work is changing, as we are moving from monthly exhibitions to showcasing the works of multiple artists. This will result in a dynamic collage of artworks that shift and create new connections between each piece, as they move around the space on a longer time scale.

Through our exhibitions, we want to champion the work of new artists and we believe this new format enables us to increase the quality of our offer, helping to build a better relationship between the artists and you, our community.

If you are interested in exhibiting your work in our cafe please submit a proposal and our Volunteer Art Curator will get in touch!

Helen Woollison


Hackney during Tudor times was a rural retreat from the City of London, used by many of the wealthy courtiers for hunting, and holidays in the newly built brick mansions that once peppered the countryside. Only one such house, Sutton House now survives, but Hackney was once the scene of many Tudor stories and scandals. Helen’s series of drawings explore this period of history and the people who lived in Hackney during the 16th century.

She has focused on the objects once owned by the former residents and the stories behind them. Helen began her research with the story of John and Jane Daniell who had their possessions seized by the crown following their arrest for blackmail. Her illustrations of these once personal possessions, are similar to museum displays, and explore the ways in which we assign new meaning to museum objects as they take on new importance, but lose their original purpose.

About the artist

Helen Woollison works in fine-liner pen, creating delicately detailed black and white drawings. She studied for her BA in History of Art at the University of Kent before completing an MA at the University of London. Her studies brought her to the old master prints, and much of her work is influenced by etchings and woodcuts.

Barbara Premo


We’re excited to welcome Barbara Premo to the Gallery Cafe exhibition programme. She will be sharing images from Taking the Long Way Home, a project following black female skaters on their way home. 

Barbara Premo is a London based visual artist who uses photography as well as other visual mediums as a tool of self expression. Her work is centered around capturing the mood and rawness of everyday life. Barbara specialises in fashion and portraiture and has worked with editorial outlets including Vulkan, Lewis and FGUK magazine.

Her recent project Taking the Long Way Home is a documentary style photo series with the aim of showcasing black female skateboarders in Britain as a response to the lack of representation of them in the media.

As a black female skater herself, Barbara was keen on challenging the stigmas and stereotypes around the ideas of not only what it means to be a girl, but also what it means to be a black female skater. She is fascinated by the idea of exploring what the black female skateboarder culture looks like and hopes that the project provides some perspective and engagement in the sport.

Athena Anastasiou


We are very happy to welcome back Dalston-based artist Athena Anastasiou who will be displaying two pieces in our cafe.

Her work explores the connections that people have with places. Whether these be places of familiarity or places we have not visited, yet yearn to go to, our connections can stem from an unknown pull or feeling of déjà vu.

In her scenes and portraits she sets out to make the mundane magical using bright, vivacious colours that play between our reality and other worlds. Athena is investigating how far she can stretch her form with colour and texture whilst still portraying the essence and energy of a person or place.


Athena is an art scholar and post graduate from Central St Martins, and is best known for her vibrant and eclectic large scale oil paintings produced from her studio in Dalston, East London.

She is currently represented by Asylum Artist Management, Amar Gallery (Curated) and WhyNotArt.

She has exhibited in numerous group shows around London, Portugal and Morocco and is a keen advocate for the emerging art scene in London. Athena is the Founder of a pop up Art Gallery and collective called “Meet The Artists” that has represented over 100 emerging artists from London.

Shaoai Wang

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Shaoai Wang started off our new exhibition series! Shaoai is a self-taught artist born in Shanghai who now works from her home studio in London. She paints portraits, still life, and creates mixed media art using techniques such as collage, heat transfer, sewing and wiring.

Often inspired by experimenting with textures and objects that she integrates into her work. Shaoai’s desire to create is driven by personal experiences, emotions and beliefs.

View our previously monthly exhibitions below:

MARCH 2019


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March’s exhibition is ‘THE SHIFT’ by Sylvie Martin Rodriguez.

The work of Sylvie Martin Rodriguez is entirely vegan, using only vegetables or synthetic fibres: hemp, flax, nettle, soya, plastic, cotton, nylon, acrylic, iron and steel.

Working on previous pieces, it was challenging to find vegan yard so she decided to learn how to dye, card and spin the fibre. This exhibition focuses on the actual vegan fibre, with many pieces using a combination of vegetable fibres or recycled T-shirts. Some are on steel plates, or framed as a painting, some are carded, spun or dyed.

About the artist

Sylvie Martin Rodriguez lives in the mountains near Geneva in Switzerland and developed a passion for textile arts two years ago. Her career was focused on animal protection as she worked with The Jane Goodall Institute and she also wrote a book on home schooling. However, she missed using her hands.

She learned about textile art from ideas, books, friends and lots of practice! She's completely self-taught and overcame personal struggles and many doubts because of her late entry into the arts. Vegan Textile Art has given Sylvie artistic freedom and now, she just enjoys the trip!

Check out her work

February 2019

The sound of the inner universe by Ryoko Minamitani

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“When you tune your consciousness into the inner universe, rather like tuning into a radio channel, you may be able to hear your inner voice.”

February’s exhibition is ‘The sound of the inner universe’ by Ryoko Minamitani.

This exhibition explores the artist’s own ‘inner universe’ through a personal collection of mixed-media paintings. The pieces encapsulates Ryoko’s internal landscape as she uncovers her unconscious, transforming mental and emotional phenomena into abstract expressions of the ‘essential soul’.

Ryoko’s work combines a traditional Japanese colour scheme with various painting techniques  and materials, including sand, ink and natural pigments taken from the earth’s atmosphere. Her work is influenced by abstract expressionism, psychology and spiritualism, including Shintoism, Buddhism and Non-dualism.  


Ryoko Minamitani is a visual artist whose work explores the relationship between spirituality and artistic expression through meditative states. Originally born in Japan and currently living and working in Leeds, Ryoko studied mixed-media painting and meditation under Yokoo Tatsuhiko in Berlin, before becoming a Master of Art & Design at Leeds Beckett University. 

Check out her work


Not Being funny by Leyla Reynolds


‘Not Being funny’ is an exhibition exploring the post-referendum landscape that Britons inhabit in 2018. This exploration takes place through the prism of establishment figure portraits who contributed notably to the ensuing climate of xenophobia. From national scandals to private messages made public, to the brazen and widespread ebb that far right rhetoric acquired this year, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, Donald Trump, Sajid Javid, Theresa May are given the space they so desired.

Not being funny’ is a showcase, casting a satirical lens over the gulf between the public and private faces of our establishment, through the medium of illustration.

Leyla Reynolds is an illustrator and curator living and working in London, whose practice concerns the intersection between visual representations and socio-political change. 

She is currently art director at award-winning online magazine gal-dem (run by women and non-binary people of colour) and has worked with clients such as Adidas, Amnesty International, The Guardian, Tate Britain, Greater London Assembly and V&A.

Check out her work :



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Our December exhibition is ‘Hackney Kisses’ by Naomi Pacific.

‘Hackney Kisses’ is a series of graffitied photographs. In 2010, photographer Stephen Gill stumbled upon a collection of photographs taken by an anonymous photographer in the 1950s of couples kissing each other on their wedding day in Hackney, often by their three-story wedding cake. He published these photographs in a book called ‘Hackney Kisses’.

Naomi Pacific found the book at Broadway Market and has been adding to each photograph, using the juxtaposition of variation and repetition to invigorate the echoed experience of foreverness lived in the one instant of a kiss on a wedding day.

About the artist

Naomi Pacific is a Swiss artist based in East London. She works in filmmaking, writing, visual art and music. Across all all her artwork, it tends towards the absurd and the intimate. With an interest in the growth which occurs in the intimacy between two people, she seeks to explore the confines of this in love, sex, and awkwardness, among other personal spaces of life.

The absurd comes into play as she experiments with the way in which yearning for meaning and feelings can oscillate with the potential meaninglessness of life. Her main influences include Sharon Olds, Albert Camus, Jorge Luis Borges, Lucrecia Martel, Anne Carson, Samuel Beckett, Maya Deren, Can, Roy Andersson, and P.J Harvey.


HANDMADE By Bruna Martini

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Our November exhibition is 'Handmade' by Bruna Martini.

‘Handmade’ is a series of photographs where printmaking, painting techniques, arts & crafts and abstract photography combine to offer a more tridimensional representation of the landscape.

“The world is a busy place. We spend the day running from here to there, barely looking at where we are. We are too occupied to stop and stare. We use any opportunity to get out of the now, to forget what is in front of us. We do this because we need to be constantly stimulated, and often reality is not enough to keep us entertained.

Yet, sometimes it is the most common and ordinary experiences that can enrich us. How can we bring out the magic of the everyday?” 

Through this exhibition, Bruna aims to transform the ordinary into the extra-ordinary. She turns a photograph into a painting or a collage, or into a double-exposure that cannot possibly exist in reality. 

Through adding a range of different colours, strokes, shapes, contrasts and textures, Bruna intends to create hand-made images that enhance or reshape reality.

Each piece is carefully crafted and hand-made by the artist, without digital manipulation or technological trickery. The manipulation is real; paint is applied directly on the photograph; images are cut and stuck in different layers; blurred effects and double-exposures are created within the camera.

The mixed-media images in ‘Handmade’ encourage us to look at, live in and feel the world’s abstract beauty.

About the artist

Bruna Martini is a multi-disciplinary artist who combines photography with video, animation, painting, drawing and arts and crafts.

Originally from Italy, she moved to London 10 years ago and fell in love with Hackney. She trained in Photography at London Metropolitan University and attends regular painting workshops at the Royal Drawing School in Shoreditch.

Alongside her work as an NGO photographer in developing countries, where she documents the lives of the people at the bottom of society, she is a prolific artist, having made several photobooks and artists books, two graphic novels and a series of urban installations around St. Paul's cathedral.

October 2018

WELCOME TO BRITAIN by Matt & Gwen Joseph

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Our October exhibition is ‘Welcome to Britain’ by siblings Matt and Gwen Joseph.

This exhibition is in partnership with Black History Month, celebrating Caribbean culture at large, as well as the more intimate and moving experiences of a family creating a new life in a foreign land.

A mixed media collaboration between the two siblings, their work is rooted in their experiences of growing up as black Londers and that of their Caribbean parents’ journey from the West Indies to England in the 1950s.

Matt’s paintings are influenced by the traditional national costumes of St Lucia and the Madras, the colourful headscarf and the ‘jupe’, while Gwen’s photographs capture moments of cultural exchange and the Caribbean community in London.

Together, they explore their family’s “vibrant energy of personal heritage”, with a wider interpretation of the far-reaching impacts of Caribbean traditions and their integration into British culture.


ALONG THE WAY By Tom Raymont


Our September exhibition is 'Along the way' by Tom Raymont.

This exhibition focuses on the handful of streets that  this Bethnal Green-based photographer passes through every day between home and work. They are the places that he knows most intimately, witnessing how they change from hour to hour, season to season.

He uses a Tessina 35 sub-miniature film camera that is smaller than a packet of cigarettes. A manual camera made in the 1960s, it has many technical imperfections such as light leakage and uneven film winding which Tom uses to bring a greater beauty and mystery to his prints.

Tom lives and works in Bethnal Green where he is co-director of the ecological architecture practice Arboreal Architecture and teaches architecture at Westminster University. Arboreal, based at St. Margaret's House, has completed numerous buildings in East London and was recently the recipient of three RIBA Awards for the Bethnal Green Memorial.


PERSPECTIVE By Ellis-Lewis Dragstra


Our August exhibition is ‘Perspective’ by London-based artist Ellis-Lewis Dragstra.

In this work, Ellis explores the human mind, wellbeing and creativity in an urban landscape.

He blurs the lines between fantasy and reality as a way to celebrate shared human experiences.

To represent the constant motion of the human mind questioning its place in nature and society, Ellis experiments with this feeling of movement in various brushstrokes.

Ellis-Lewis Dragstra is a freelance artist based in London. He works across many artistic mediums including photography, film, illustration, 2D and stop motion animation.

Ellis has exhibited in numerous group shows around London, and has recently curated his first gallery opening, 'By Artist Gallery', at Rich Mix. Ellis is co-chair of the Youth Board at Phakama, a collaborative arts organisation in London, and continues to be involved in many of their community-based projects.

JULY 2018


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Throughout July, we’re celebrating the people who use our arts workshop, the Create Place. We invited members of our community to submit something they made here that they are proud of, and our volunteer art curator, Beth, selected the pieces on show this month. Amongst the exhibition, you can see images of people working together in the space.

We now run around ten weekly workshops, with an ever-expanding variety of themes, offering introductions to painting and drawing, clothes making and repair, printing, embroidery and shoemaking. Our textile workshops often recycle fabrics donated to Ayoka, and we offer a choice of free art materials and craft equipment as well as a comfortable space away from the burdens of ordinary life.

These sessions are facilitated by people in our local community, and we see many of them as a route to wellbeing, putting individual expression at the core.

The Create Place is a non-profit venture; we love being able to offer a space where people can come together in a relaxed environment – some come to learn a skill, but everybody stays for the friendly welcome and homely atmosphere.

>>Find out more about this space for intergenerational learning, sharing skills, and making connections through creativity!

JUNE 2018


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Our June exhibition is 'The Emotions of Black and White' by Nico Baba and Laura Dyer.

Nico Baba and Laura Dyer are friends and collaborator with this exhibition representing a culmination of recent work made in communication, tethered by a monochrome palette.

Laura’s work is a new group of analogue black and white photographs, developed by hand in the darkroom. Her prints draw on natural surfaces and textures and her subjects are people she knows who mean something special to her.

Through her photography, she finds moments of mental freedom from anxiety, and in this way her attempts to document nature are a form of personal art therapy.  

Nico's abstract drawings explore interactions between the artist's emotions and the energy of the surrounding environment. Each drawing represents a journey through reflections of the human psyche, inviting you to interpret the shapes personally.

MAY 2018

FACES & PLACES by Athena Anastasiou 

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Our May exhibition is Faces & Places by Dalston-based artist Athena Anastasiou.

This exhibition explores the connections that people have with places. Whether these be places of familiarity or places we have not visited, yet yearn to go to, our connections can stem from an unknown pull or feeling of déjà vu.

In her scenes and portraits she sets out to make the mundane magical using bright, vivacious colours that play between our reality and other worlds.

In this exhibition Athena is investigating how far she can stretch her form with colour and texture whilst still portraying the essence and energy of a person or place.

About The Artist

Athena is an art scholar and post graduate from Central St Martins, and is best known for her vibrant and eclectic large scale oil paintings produced from her studio in Dalston, East London.

She is currently represented by Asylum Artist Management, Amar Gallery (Curated) and WhyNotArt.

She has exhibited in numerous group shows around London, Portugal and Morocco and is a keen advocate for the emerging art scene in London. Athena is the Founder of a pop up Art Gallery and collective called “Meet The Artists” that has represented over 100 emerging artists from London.

Two areas of exploration for the artist are empowerment and community; how we can unite cultures through the revolutionary tool of ART.


APRIL 2018

FRUIT SALOON by Rosa Doyle


Our April exhibition is 'Fruit Saloon' by Rosa Doyle.

This exhibition focuses on paintings inspired by her recent stay in a small village in Peru, on the edge of the Amazon Jungle.

Upon her return to London, Rosa looked at a variety of Exotic fruit and vegetables using synthetic watercolour in response to our unnatural relationship with the food we eat and where it comes from.

Processing raw materials to create natural watercolours, this exhibition investigates how we relate to nature and what makes something exotic.

Rosa worked with natural pigments and foraged materials found around the Peruvian Inca Heartland, using seeds, bark, roots, stones and clay to create some of the works in this exhibition.

Rosa is an artist and designer working within the mediums of painting, printmaking and textile art. She graduated from Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London in 2009.


March 2018

TO THE WOMEN I KNOW by our competition winners

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Our March exhibition is celebrating our local female heroes, and the entire exhibition is made up of the wonderful photographs submitted by members of our local community.

Responding to our call out for photographs of inspiring East London women, we received a diverse mix of images of local women who are making a huge impact on our community. The winning 15 photographs are being displayed in our cafe throughout March, and you can view the shortlisted 24 images through the button below:

February 2018


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Our February exhibition is 'How Oranges Became Sweet' by Tobez Marino. 

Tobez is an artist whose work draws upon folk tales, legends and fables. He records his surreal interpretations of the world in sketchbooks, which in this exhibition are translated into digital prints. This series is inspired predominantly by Ancient Greek myths.  

Through a graphic visual style - at once playful and reflective - Tobez exposes and subverts traditional assumptions about age and gender, and explores universal concerns of freedom and entrapment; isolation and escape.

'How Oranges Became Sweet' follows the struggle of Lilania, a young woman who has been confined by her overprotective father, Zohovio, to live within the walls of the vineyard he runs.

After escaping the vineyard, Lilania visits an enchanted lake where she meets a lake spirit and is transformed into a giant bird. Zohovio sees this giant bird and, fearing for Lilanias safety, shoots it. The wound kills Lilania who regains her human form in death; a distraught Zohovio takes Lilania to the lake and bargains with the spirit to resurrect Lilania at the expense of his own life.

Each of the fifteen illustrations tells a different part of this tale, and you can see them all together at the cafe this February. 

January 2018

NEW BEGINNINGS by Charlotte A Fleur

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Our January exhibition 'New Beginnings' is by Charlotte A Fleur. This exhibition is about taking on a new challenge, with Charlotte creating abstract paintings and learning how to express herself in an uninhabited way.

Her works explore colour and how intuition influences mark-making and composition. Although she has an idea of the colour palette for each piece, most creative decisions are made straight on canvas or paper using acrylics, pastels, and pens. The exhibition celebrates a new chapter as an emerging artist, using traditional materials in a contemporary way.

Charlotte is an abstract artist, living and working in north London. She graduated with a degree in Fine Art in 2008, specialising in video and installation, and has since worked in television. 


IDENTITY by Sofia Suleiman

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Our December exhibition, 'Identity’  is by the incredibly talented Sofia Suleiman. Her work is questioning the meaning behind her own mixed heritage and how this, alongside the different people and communities she has met over time, is shaping her own identity. She expresses this through the use of paint with her use of bright colours. Her large abstract oil paintings are titled with East African women’s names, and contain the dimensions of a woman’s body measuring 1mx 1.5m, attempting to frame the voices of women that represent part of her history with Zanzibar. 


Within this exhibition, Sofia has also taken inspiration from the form and vibrancy of flowers exploring how shapes and colours can transcend a person back to a specific memory in her watercolour prints. 


Sofia gained a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art at Leeds College of Art and now works & lives in London. As well as the paintings in this exhibition, Sofia is selling a selection of prints and cards too.


If you are interested in buying any of her work, please send an email to:



MY SINGLE LINE by Rob Challens

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''My GCSE art teacher gave me a homework exercise; to have a go at drawing something using a single line, without taking the pencil off the page. About 15 years later and I'm still completing that homework. The idea with single line drawings is to keep the pen moving, this way you spend less time fussing over minute details and trying to make something that is an accurate representation, and focus more on getting the feel and essence of the subject matter. In drawing single line portraits I like to get a feel of the person as is represented to me at the exact time that I am drawing. Getting a good likeness is not what these paintings are about. The drawing is done in a matter of minutes and then that representation is stuck. Colours are then chosen to reflect the emotion or my interpretation of the mood of the subject and of myself. If I drew the same person twice the image could change drastically, based on their mood and mine. The speed at which a painting is done means that it becomes a snapshot of how I am feeling at a certain time and the choice of subject is usually directly linked.

Above all else I find it fun. I like to paint because it connects me to different emotions and acts as a release. The spontaneity behind this style works for me as I can get straight in to something without much planning and preparation. I think art should be as affordable as possible to most people so with this exhibition I am trying to keep prices low, whilst donating 25% of sales to charity. ''


by Lara Gallagher

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Lara Gallagher is a French / English visual artist, who grew up in a multicultural household and community. After a childhood in the south of France she decided to relocate to London, a city she felt corresponded better to her art. Influenced by her studies in graphic design and her love for the hidden and the intangible, she creates a surreal world of light and shadow; of hard edged lines and flowing curves; of saturated colours or black and white.


The work discusses humanity’s need to transcend inner and outer limitations. One is on a constant quest for freedom whether it be through the material or the immaterial, opulence or austerity, pleasure or deprivation. In this pursuit one comes to realise that although the box may be expanded it remains present. The work pictures a limited reality through opposing forms, colours and concepts. However it is still placed within a forever multiplying universe.


The aim is not always on the viewer’s literal understanding of what is being conveyed. Imagery is used to precisely disguise thoughts and feelings. One may find oneself stating and believing in a certain concept yet simultaneously stating and believing in its opposite. These seemingly contradictory points of view may well be interpreted as personal yet, when placed on a wider scale, can be seen as the simple expression of Earth’s dual nature. A dual nature that nevertheless remains unified, hence the existence of a third multidimensional reality.


Diisonance: Steve Ryan and paul hawkins

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Exhibition and book launch Sept 1 - 30 2017


Diisonance is a collaboration, part of a jigsaw, the genesis of which is shared experiences; Steve and Paul met in the early nineties squatting in Claremont Road, East London at the height of anti-road protests, poll-tax riots and dissent.

They’ve tried to piece together the past from the future, making sense of the ghosts that stay with them and the trust they offer one another clarify’s shared feelings of confusion and love for their entwined topics; politicised, faltering, broken and rebuilt many times over.

Paul has written extensively on his experiences of squatting/protesting against the building of the M11 Link Road through East London, most recently in Place Waste Dissent (Influx Press 2015), which 'plots the run-off, rackets and 90’s resistance to the proposed M11 Link Road; text experiments and collage from Claremont Road to Cameron. Memory traces re-surface the A12, words fight for space – and on occasion lose – against the images of police officers, residents, stilt walkers and emptied streets’. It also includes some of Steve’s iconic photography.

In Diisonance Steve's collaborative starting point is responding to Place Waste Dissent, with further memory travels and exotic imaginings. Paul continues absorbing and responding to Steve’s artworks, and over time new psychological assemblages have evolved to pay tribute to the ghosts before they are laid to rest.

Steve Ryan

Driven forward by scary monsters, haunted by the notion of chaos, Steve Ryan's work tries to pin down the slippery essence of ‘the stuff’. Peripatetic by design, he’s recently experienced the joy of being tethered which has grounded him long enough to start production of a project over 30 years in the making. | twitter: @playwdissent | Instagram:  @breadtrain


Paul Hawkins

Paul is a Bristol-based poet, text artist & word-processor, who studied the art of sleeping standing up and drinking lying down with nearly disastrous consequences. He’s the author of Claremont Road, Contumacy (both Erbacce Press) & Place Waste Dissent (Influx Press 2015). He collaborates with Portuguese text artist/poet Bruno Neiva, co-authoring Servant Drone (KF&S Press 2015) and The Secret of Good Posture (Team Trident Press 2016). At the last count Paul has moved on average every 11 months, but only ever owned one tent. Prints of text/art from Place Waste Dissent were exhibited at Bank Street Arts in 2016 and in exhibitions in Bournemouth and Bristol. | | twitter: @haulpawkins | instagram: @paulhesterglock

Interviews with Paul Hawkins on Place Waste Dissent

Pretty Messy, Fairly Trashed interview by Tony White in The Quietus

Place Waste Dissent, Huck Magazine by Josh Gabert-Doyon (Jan 2016)


Reviews of Place Waste Dissent

‘ . . . this book, more than any I have read in a long time, is a collection. It truly works as a whole: poems bleed into one another, characters disappear and reappear later in the collection, images reflect and haunt other images. This book recreates and re-presents the culture and time which it is reflecting upon, and it is an ‘archive’ that delightfully overwhelms with sound and image. This book is important.’

Mike James The Contemporary Small Press

‘. . . the book is stamped with left-field credentials: Gee Vaucheresque monochrome montages of photos, police documents, agitprop fliers and eviction notices circumscribe and blend into the verse itself . . .’

Peter Boughton Minor Literatures

‘. . . the jagged edges of Hawkins’ verse collages express heated moments of collision and confusion during the opposition to evictions which turned out to be a foretaste of the kind of Neo-Liberal urban enclosure that blights London today . . . ‘

Stephen E. Hunt International Times


Diisonance book launch Friday Sept 8

Diisonance (to be published by Hesterglock Press 2017) gathers new collaborative experimental text created for performance during diisonance events in Sheffield in June 2017. It features Dan Eltringham and Seni Seneviratne, Rowan Evans and Leila Barrera, Miggy Angel and Sarer Scotthorne, Linda Kemp and Roy McFarlane, Paul Hawkins and Emteaz Hussain, new work from the diissonance workshop participants and full colour images of Steve and Paul’s artwork from the September exhibition.

Sarer Scotthorne is an innovative poet, feminist & martial artist amongst many other things; author of The Blood House (Hesterglock Press) & Semblance (Erbacce Press).



by Thomas Rowe

Eight years of being a landed alien, now a permanent resident of London, Thomas Rowe was born in a rural, drug riddled, burnt out port city on the Northwest of Canada's Vancouver Island. He never found any inspiration so departed at the age of 13. Over the years Rowe has been able to channel his ideas and vision through a number of different mediums, he has self-released 6 books of poetry and has released 3 full length albums.

Rowe's new body of work, titled 'At The Edge of The World', is a collection of collage art that arose when creating cover art for his current London based alt-psychedelic rock band 'Mass Datura.' During this time he found himself putting together more and more collage pieces. Using found images clipped and collected from old National Geographic's Rowe was able to satisfy his need to create new abstract and agile images, toiling with composition, playful shapes and proportions.

Influenced and inspired by artists working with collage such as Pop artist Richard Hamilton, contemporary painter Grant Thomas and his old boss at the skate company Toy Machine, photographer Ed Templeton Rowe takes from popular culture as he does from the pages of National Geographic, spontaneously at his pleasure.

Rowe uses a full spectrum of eye catching colour pallets to create feelings of euphoria in distant angelic childhood hyper dreamland. Imagine you and your friends know nothing at all but of smiles, how to feel natural with chaos and that only this that separates each of us as humans is the cold breeze between us.



This July the café is exhibiting pieces by our resident art group, ART4U2. Led by tutor Ginny Hawke, beginner to experienced artists work on projects across 10 week terms every Monday and Thursday in our Create Place. Incorporating different drawing techniques and mediums, from pen, pencil, biro, charcoal, collage, acrylics, water colours and oil, this exhibition is a retrospective of subjects studied for the last academic year: trees, leaves, sea-life, animals and human anatomy.



Tom and Jess Jones-Berney are the brother and sister design duo from Hackney, running under the moniker of Tomartacus. With Jess taking photographs of the pairs’ favourite spots in London, Tom sketches them using a Wacom tablet, resulting in a unique brand of hand drawn digital prints. Focusing on colour over form, each picture begins with a collection of abstract shapes, layered on top of one another, leaving you with the impression of something both complex and childishly simplistic.

“We mainly create London art because it’s an unendingly interesting city, where inspiration is infinite. The contrast of the modern world up against the city’s big historical stalwarts creates incredible panoramas; the city from Archway Bridge, the silhouette of St Paul’s holding its own alongside newer contenders like The Barbican and The Shard as a few examples. We like to think our art is a bit of fun for the eyes, a slightly wobbly look at the world, with some added colour if you would want it” – Tom Jones-Berney


by Nick Hayes 

Through May we are exhibiting the retrospective works of Nick Hayes, a graphic novelist, illustrator and political cartoonist living in East London.

He has worked for the New Statesman, The Guardian, The Literary Review as a cartoonist, and has illustrated for a wide number of periodicals. He has published three graphic novels with Random House, and has one in the pipeline.

The first book, The Rime of the Modern Mariner recasts Samuel Coleridge's story of a wandering seaman into its modern context, a vast gyre of plastic waste in the pacific ocean.

His second book, Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads, is a biography of the formative years of the Amercian folk singer, and a look at the deforestation of the great plains which caused the dust bowl of the thirties.

His third book is called Cormorance, and is entirely silent, empty of words, and considers the healing powers of nature. His fourth book, The Drunken Sailor, is a biography of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud.





FABIO FORIN (b. Rome 1985) is a photographer and writer based in London since 2009. His work straddles portrait, still life, and street photography, focusing on human stories within the urban landscape. Forin often adds pieces of text alongside the photographs to provide greater context to the images. Forin has recently exhibited in Moscow, Athens, has been selected for the ‘Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016’ at London’s National Portrait Gallery, and is now touring across the UK.

L I M I N A L is Forin’s first solo show. It brings together photographs taken between 2009 and 2016 - predominantly in London, New York and the Middle East - and aims to document the “movement of a man through the past decade of his life.”

The term “liminal” gained popularity in the late 60s through the writings of anthropologist Victor Turner. It is derived from the Latin “limen”, which means “threshold” - the bottom part of a doorway that must be crossed when entering a building. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “liminal” as “relating to the transitional, or initial, stage of a process” and, in his studies of rituals, Turner used it to define that moment in which something, somebody, or somewhere was in a state of transition between two defined states. The liminal state is by definition undefinable for it has no attributes of either its previous or future form.

Each photograph - along with the selected poems, fragments of dialogue and inspiring quotes - is like a diary entry of Forin’s life after he moved to London to “become himself” at the age of 24.

The stark black-and-white images reflect Forin’s instinctive approach to the medium and describe the experience of growing up - in which social relationships begin, change and end with the outside world in a constant state of flux.

Forin’s photographs are infused with personal meaning and possess the same unfiltered emotional quality found in the accompanying text. The pictures and the words offer a view of a self-contained world that exists somewhere in the underexplored territory between the outside world and what is within. It’s a liminal dimension, a realm of emotion and metaphor, where time and space lose relevance and there is always something clouded in obfuscation that one can’t quite grasp completely - it could be the face of someone waiting for a train, a table nobody is seated at, the obscure line of a poem, or an empty stage when the concert is over, the lights are still on and the singer is gone.

Even though Forin’s work is strongly autobiographical, his main preoccupation is to represent something which, despite being unrepresentable, is shared by every human being happening to be here now. In such an improvised dance that life is, we are all wearing dancing shoes, all moving through time.



Mykal - Unusual Creatures Series.jpg


Mykadelica is the self-titled retrospective of Shadwell-based artist Mike Whyte.


This exhibition is the culmination of 20 years of work. Reflecting upon the beginnings of an illustration career in Wolverhampton, leading through the ebbs and flows of the following two decades. Culminating in the fever dreams of recent times, where the ‘Unusual Creatures’ series originated from.



Sketch Music by Simona De Leo

Simona Exhibition Image.jpg

Music can be listened to. It can be sung and played. It can be drawn.

Sketchmusic, showcases original sketches made extemporaneously during live music performances, where the exhibition intends to emphasise the relationship between music and art. 

A sketch is a bit like a photograph which tries to capture the moment but it is also able to transmit what the artist feels during that determinate instant. A rough sketch line might transmit more emotions than a finished masterpiece.

When the music starts it is like the hand could dance on the paper, the line follows the rhythm of the music; the musicians are captured in their status of delight.

The sketchbook became a study for the finished works in which Simona De Leo communicates the pleasure of the music through the addition of colours and decorations that reflect the style of that specific moment and melody.

The sketches are realised using charcoal, graphite pencil and ink brush-pen, while the final works are fully inked with nib and brush with the addition of watercolours and colour pencils.

Come along to the opening night of this exhibiton on Thursday 2nd February between 6.30pm and 8pm to meet the artist and hear music that inspired the pictures from DJs Patrick O'Brien and Robert Goldie.

Originally from Puglia, the heel of Italy, Simona De Leo started to draw probably before she could say her first word. When the other children were playing with dolls and mini cars she was painting with her mum's oil colours. Continuing this passion De Leo gained a BA Degree in Comics & Illustration at the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna (Italy). 2 years ago she moved to London where she is expanding her knowledge in graphic design and illustration. 




Hannah is an English interpretive portrait artist and illustrator based in London.

She captures women's inner selves by expressing their qualities, energies and emotions through a surreal expression of their hidden beauty. 

Her dream is to reveal the 'authentic self' of the client by portraying their ‘self love’ and ‘unearthed beauty’ through her surreal expression of the woman. She empowers women to explore deeper elements within as she unleashes the key to the soul of immense power. Through a ‘soul session’ she will tap into the ‘authentic’ inner essence of the women to reveal these qualities through an interpretive portrait.

‘The Lotus rises from the mud, untouched and clean, to open into a magnificent flower high in the air.’

Her self realisation started when she embarked on a life changing trip and flew 10,553 miles to Sydney for a year. Her curiosity for spiritual being began as she started to look deep within the soul to find her ‘true self’. Much of her inspiration came from discovering ‘dramatic and theatrical’ organic forms within plants as they held conceptual meanings of what beauty was for her.

‘Awaken’ presents recent works by Hannah. The exhibition showcases a series of face illustrations portraying her own journey of emotions and ‘inner beauty’ as surreal interpretations. Alongside this, for the first time there will be a display of her original portraits of the real women she has worked with.



Charming Creatures by Laurène Pijulet-Balmer (Piju)


Laurène Pijulet-Balmer (aka PIJU) is a French visual artist, illustrator and filmmaker based in London and Paris. Piju graduated in Cinema and Video from Panthéon-Sorbonne before studying Communication Design and Digital Media at Central Saint-Martins.

'Charming Creatures' presents recent works by Piju. 'Les Muses’ is a series of portraits of some of the artist’s female role models from 20th and 21st century (including Patti Smith, Iris Apfel and Frida Kahlo). The exhibition also includes a series of illustrations of animal-inspired and movie inspired artworks and more, all highlighting Piju’s vibrant and colourful palette, often influenced by French Art Nouveau, nature observation, and a taste for deconstructed portraits.

Her work has won two Output Awards and has been shown in festivals and exhibitions including: ‘History Is Now’, at Hayward Gallery; Wolf and Badger’s Summer Residency at Selfridges; the Anti-Design Festival, curated by Neville Brody; the Hospital Club; Hackney Picture House; and Parallax International Art Fair.

Her clients include Hachette, Pedestrian Publishing, Le Chocolat Des Français, Paulette
Magazine, Benetton’s Fabrica, the Advertising Producers Association, Ballad Of and music artists such as Zaza Fournier and Anna Meredith.

Join us at the Gallery Café on Thursday 1st December 2016 from 7pm to 9pm, for the opening of ‘Charming Creatures’, an illustration exhibition by Laurène Pijulet-Balmer (Piju). The event will also include a pop up shop with limited edition books, prints and other crafts by Piju as well as a short talk about everyday creativity.




Antonietta Torsiello is  an award-winning visual and textile artist based in East London. Her latest exhibition AfriWest is a collection of textile and screen prints inspired by the parallels between African and Western culture. Her work is also inspired by the contrast in natural craft vs man-made structures, drawing from the natural African crafts of wood carving, body scarification and the tribal decoration of the Surma and Mursi tribes of East Africa’s Omo Valley. 

All of the screen prints are printed on unbleached natural cotton and recycled paper.  There is a strong emphasis on the visual aspects of texture in these prints. By combining rubbings using string with oil pastels and graphite and silhouettes from feminine forms of the body, Antonietta was able to mix the textured rubbings to create organic forms in the final screen prints. 

Join us on November 3rd from 6pm for the opening night   where the artist will have a pop-up shop of textiles, prints and cards.

Antonietta Torsiello, Contemporary Artist | Textile Designer | Workshop Facilitator

@TorsielloArtist / /


Girl Town (Celebrating the Culture of the Female in the 21st Century)

A selected exhibition of photography celebrating the culture of the female in the 21st Century.  

Curated by Shutter Hub and the Old Girls Club through the open entry Instagram call out #girltownPM  , a shortlist of the most relevant and significant entries will be exhibited in the cafe.

In addition, a people’s choice winner, selected over the course of the exhibition, will be awarded with a photographic prize from  print partners Metro Imaging.



SWINGIN'CISION by Gotcha la boom

Gotcha La Boom is a polish artist and graphic designer living in London and working worldwide. After graduating from a Graphic Design degree at the University of Southampton in 2008 and a Product Design degree at Lodz, Poland in 2013, she moved to London to discover new ways to express her passions. 

The blend of an artist and a dancer became a creative mixture to produce this set of prints, Swingin’cision, where the exhibition captures dancers of today that are an inspiration to the artist.

Swing dance is a family of dances that expanded with the swing style of Jazz music in the 1920s-1940s, with the roots of each dance predating the popular “swing era”. Influenced by the Swing music and dances of that age and engaged with the medium of linocut printmaking, Gotcha La Boom’s designs merge her two inspirations and passions

Fusion of these two arts produced swing explosives filled with passion and energy, simple and dynamic shapes, and bold images; ready to burst up the viewer’s imagination.



           CULTURAL CONNECTIONS BY Matthew Joseph

Matthew Joseph is a fine artist from East London who graduated from a mixed media and fine art degree at the University of Westminster in 1996. Cultural Connections is Joseph's second solo exhibition. 

Influenced by the bold graphics and repetitive imagery of the Pop Art era, Joseph is inspired by vibrant colours and the importance of the line. Merging his fascination with these visuals, and referencing his heritage from Africa and St Lucia, Joseph's work experiments with colours from the St Lucian national costume, The Madras. This traditional five piece costume was worn on feast days by woman and girl plantation workers during the times of slavery to brighten up their work clothes, which forms a strong inspiration in his work.

Creating drawings using combined mediums of printmaking, collage and digital imagery, this exhibition showcases Joseph's series of bold colourful prints emphasising these colourful, graphic and repetitive influences.

Matthew Joseph is a cancer survivor and nine years ago was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He wants to raise awareness through Cultural Connections for Cancer research - please see his Just Giving page for more information.

Join us for live soul and gospel music at the opening night of the exhibition from 6pm



           the work on display throughout july is by local art group, ART4U2

By Anthony Cherrington

The work on display throughout July is by local art group Art4U2. Art tutor Virginia Hawke runs a series of art workshops in East London. 2 workshops take place at The Create place Monday evenings and Thursday afternoons. 

The work is a retrospective of the last academic years work. They looked at different projects including: Holidays around the world ; seascapes ; colour theory; shape and line ; Pop art portraits; illustrating food ; flowers.

They base projects in a variety of mediums: charcoal soft pastels links; oil pastels, oil paints, acrylic paints, watercolours; 
looking at tone form line textures mark making;  out on location to parks and museums; study different artists. This year they looked at Turner, Monet, Van Gogh, Georgia O Keefe and Andy Warhol amongst others..

We have been to various exhibitions and galleries including lots of study in the British museum
If you would like to join them , they are taking bookings for September. Please email .

June exhibition:

Colour by Anita Bodis

Anita Bodis is a Hungarian born artist based in London where she has been living and working for 4 years. Her current exhibition at The Gallery Café presents two recent projects Colour Series and Time Trilogy. Experimenting with different mark-making materials including oil, acrylic, watercolour and ink, Bodis's paintings are inspired purely through her relationship with music. 

Her vision is driven by Deep/Tropical House, Trance, Techno and Electronic Dance Music; where her paintings question the colour and visuals of specific songs and sounds. Forming a connection between sound, colour and process, this debut exhibition documents her ongoing influence and inspiration in music through a series of colourful layered paintings.

The opening night will emphasise Bodis's visual merging between songs and her paintings through a participatory live painting event with music from DJ Beattrix. Guests are invited to inspire the artist's work through their selection of songs, where the final piece will complete the painting series.  


Time start: 7pm; Price: free

Facebook event :


MAY exhibition:

Opening night of Stephen Staunton’s first solo exhibition

Stephen Staunton is an artist from Galway who discovered his talent for painting after surviving a traumatic brain injury. The event will open his first solo exhibition. There will be a brief talk about Stephen’s work and the work of Headway East London, the charity where Stephen has developed his practice, followed by live music performed by some of Stephen’s fellow Headway members.

Time start: 6pm

Price: free

“Headway East charity”: