by Alice Mascarenhas in London
Gibraltar art has hit London in a major way this week with two exhibitions featuring Gibraltarian artists.
The first, a new solo exhibition by Christian Hook at the Clarendon Art Gallery in Mayfair, and the second a group exhibition at The Art Bermondsey Project Space.
In the heart of the city it features works by artists Paul Cosquieri, Shane Dalmedo, Carolina Santos Floriano and Karl Ullger, all members of the Gibraltar Fine Arts Association, and London based Gibraltarian filmmaker Nina Danino.
Both exhibitions saw preview openings on Tuesday of this week.
In Bermondsey the small but well-known gallery is a converted Georgian townhouse which hosts three exhibition rooms close to the world famous White Cube gallery with real focus and interest from all levels of the contemporary art world.
It provides an opportunity and a platform for artists to expose their work in the city and is presenting Gibraltar “As seen by five artists”.
Speaking at the preview Culture Minister Steven Linares said the Government, his Ministry and Gibraltar Cultural Services had been working towards improving the quality of the Fine Arts product on the Rock in order to enable art that is locally produced to be exported across the world.
It was, he said, a great honour for culture in Gibraltar to be at the centre of the art world in London.
The exhibition, he emphasised, was a great way of taking Gibraltarian talent to the city and to the hub where young professionals live and like to meet.
“This is only the beginning. The sky is the limit and this is what we should continue to do because we want to expose to the world that Gibraltar is more than just what it is normally known for – Barbary Macaques and its military history,” said Mr Linares.
“But here too the theme is Gibraltar and our artists are saying to the world this is what we are and have ‘this is Gibraltar’ so that those who visit the exhibition can also see Gibraltar through their works,” he added.
Guests including politician Simon Hughes, those connected to the London art scene and family, were given the opportunity to talk to the artists and learn about their work and about Gibraltar.
This was an important event for the selected artists whose works were chosen by curator Philippa Beale.
Arriving in Gibraltar she was made to feel at home immediately and felt she wanted to give something back and through her influence made it all possible.
The exhibition aims to highlight the concerns of the exhibiting artists, whilst being a polemic towards the current political and economic situation in which Gibraltar finds itself since the Brexit referendum, she said.
“I had to find a gallery which was of museum status and was able to receive them at a point in time and then the Brexit vote happened. I decided to choose artists whose work represents the whole ethos of Gibraltar and need Gibraltar to continue their work,” she explained.
Unaware that Cristina Santos was Spanish, she said this also turned out to be “a great pointer stating that Gibraltarians are inclusive and a wonderful society where people help each other and is totally multicultural.”
The next step for local artists, she said, should be to take their art to Venice and aims to persuade the ministry to move down this road.
Nina Danino said it was wonderful to have the opportunity to show what Gibraltar is in this context and to share the space with other Gibraltarians.
She felt the exhibition presented a profile of the work carried out in Gibraltar and that people are working and that art is being made and “this is very important”.
The official opening of the exhibition will take place next week and will be attended by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
The exhibition will be on show until the end of next month.