Brick Lane Gallery: Works on Paper exhibition

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Written by Tayler Finnegan

It is often said that great art can be found anywhere. For a week in July, mind-blowingly beautiful exhibits were found in an unassuming display room in the East End of London.

The Brick Lane Gallery Annexe housed paintings, drawings, illustrations and collages so vastly unique but sharing one common theme: paper.

The collection, titled Works on Paper, had its opening night on 21st July, where guests were invited to view the pieces as well as converse with some of the incredibly talented artists that attended. The refreshingly unpretentious criterion for the exhibition (simply that all works must be presented on paper) saw the artists forgo complex methods in favour of a back-to-basics approach. As a result of this, it's not surprising that many of the works shared one common theme: nature.

Karolina Kijak

Karolina Kijak is a graduate from Poland who splits her time between her career in architecture and her profession as a painter. Her medium of choice is watercolour; she delicately illustrates subjects from wildlife and nature.

Not unlike fellow artist Ali Sappho, Kijak also takes inspiration from the forests and meadows of her homeland. These open spaces continue to motivate her to continue with her stunning creations in architecture, design and painting. You can take a look at Karolina's watercolour portraits here and here

Luis Nessi

For nearly a decade, Luis Nessi has been on a self-taught journey experimenting with art. In his home country of Venezuela, opportunities to showcase his striking pieces are rare, and so he has branched out to galleries across the world for us to enjoy his portraits and illustrations.

The high cost and scarce availability of art materials in Nessi’s South American home has seen him take a pleasingly mindful stance: he makes use of old stationery paper, cardboard and varying degrees of graphite. Nessi wants to “live” in the art world, and stop looking at it from a distance. You can follow his amazing work here.

Ali Sappho

One of the standout talents from the Brick Lane exhibition was home-grown, self-taught artist Ali Sappho.

Billed as a “must-see” by the gallery itself, Ali Sappho exhibited fantastically rustic drawings and illustrations. Nature is a constant inspiration in Sappho’s creative process; her profile tells how she begins either in her Coventry kitchen or nearby woodland- the two places that have become sanctuaries for the young fine artist. It is clear to see how natural surroundings have influenced Ali Sappho in her delicate and hazy yet precise sketches.

One of the finest parts of Sappho’s art is her personal interpretation of epic poets.

It was whilst travelling in the Italian city of Florence that Sappho stumbled across Dante’s Inferno, and began the process of the works that she exhibited at Brick Lane Gallery. The poet, along with the recent album of singer Florence Welch, resonated with Sappho and led her to take inspiration from Homer to create her own Odyssey which depicts her artistic journey since leaving school. 

You can follow Ali Sappho’s beautiful sketches and illustrations here.

Will you be attending the exhibition? Let us know in the comments below!