With POP! Festival (Portobello Open Process Festival) just around the corner, it’s time to meet the commissioned artists who will be sharing their works in progress. From 27 February to 27 March, eight eclectic artists will be exploring themes such as identity, self-expression and how we shape our communities.
First to share her creative process is Aleksandra Zaręba-Zeltsch, who was born and grew up in Poland and lived in Germany, “but, since 2014, I found my home in Ladbroke Grove”. Aleksandra studied History of Cinema and Film Production at The Film School in Lodz, and has a passion for visual storytelling. In 2009, she published an illustrated book that became an award-winning animated short film: The Little Red Ship.
When Aleksandra heard about the Westway Trust’s Artist Commissions’ Programme and, in particular, its theme of “Place”, she knew there was an opportunity to pay homage to the neighbourhood she loves so much: “I knew it was time to look back and ‘re-see’ my new neighbourhood and see what it means to me.”
Describe your project to us?
I called my project Re-seen and it will consist of 6 digital paintings. It is a very personal and emotional project. Over the past few months, I have visited places which are in some way important to me and made sketches. Drawing is my way to really see and understand things. Otherwise, I have a tendency not to notice things. Sometimes I am caught by a place, but I don’t know why. But when I am drawing and redrawing it, I am finding my way to understanding why it was important for me in the first place. The act of drawing gives me time to stop and be able to actually see things.Drawing is my way to really see and understand things. -Aleksandra Zaręba-Zeltsch Click To Tweet
The 6 paintings are essentially 6 short stories about 6 different emotions and will be accompanied by a projection of black and white analogue pictures.
What did you discover through re-seeing your neighbourhood?
Places for me are wrapped with emotions. Sometimes these emotions surprised me. Sometimes they opened doors which I didn’t even expect to find. During this project, I found out that over the last five years there were a lot of questions, doubts and nostalgic feelings in me. I can see it now through my drawings.
The first time it happened, when I was drawing an island view with lots of green palm trees which you can see in one spot on Ladbroke Grove. I didn’t really know why this view always made me melancholic. Palm trees should make you happy, shouldn’t they? Then after redrawing this view several times, I realised that I live on an island now, surrounded by lots of water which divides me from my family. So, in one moment I experienced being happy and sad. Happy to live here and at the same time sad because of missing my family.
Where can you see the outcome of this project?
A showcase of these artworks will be available to see at Muse Gallery (269 Portobello Road, W11 1LR) in a joint exhibition with Brian Okello (aka Bambookidd) from Tuesday 3rd March – Sunday 8th March 2020.Don't miss Aleksandra Zaręba-Zeltsch and Brian Okello's joint exhibition at @Muse_Gallery 3-8 March 2020 #POPW10 #WestwayArtists Click To Tweet
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