This week is a special feature illustrating the key points made in the series, Collecting Art The Smart Way, with myself as a collector of emerging artists. I feel that when someone pushes a lot of strong opinions forward, they should always illustrate it through their own actions. This is a tricky exercise, as one must ensure not to become too biased in the subject and matters they engage with. I will try to be as objective as I can… And so, welcome to my home
My home is on Museum Street, facing the British Museum and in the heart of Bloomsbury. It’s literally a dream I never thought would come true. I have always been an avid reader of Virginia Woolf from the Bloomsbury Group and the very idea to be living in such great company is very inspiring. My home has two entrances: One directly on Museum Street and the other via St George’s church on Bloomsbury Way next to the office of The Gentlewoman Magazine. It’s the only church you will find in London that has four enormous unicorns on its bell tower with golden horns. It’s like living in a fantasy everyday. I welcome people via Museum Street and the first thing that you see is a quirky cactus carpet by Phillip Colbert interacting with the work that Tristan Pigott made of my trip to Nigeria. The pop-art playfulness of the cactus bears the same colors as Tristan’s painting which both draws you in and discusses a much more cynical event of Nigerian politics in 2015. I love this about colors; they can play with your mind, seduce you and it’s too late when you realize that the subject matter is a lot more challenging than you thought. And yes, that’s the way I welcome people in. At least they know what to expect next.
As you turn left into the lounge, the windows face the church. This positioning is why I juxtaposed the works of my two Israeli artists next to this view – they both have a lot to say about religion. The three works of Leni Dothan aims to redefine the way women were depicted in religious art history, especially mothers. Think of the beautiful Madonnas from the Renaissance, where the virgin holds the child beautifully, calmly and lovingly. The reality of being a mother is rarely so still and that’s the discussion that these works bring in. The second work on the right is by artist Jennifer Abessira, Jennifer is a lot more playful in her approach to religion, integrating movie references and pop colours to what would be seen as sacred. Here an angel is pulling the laces of her golden shoes. Ironically, our neighbour is a priest and so far, he seems to approve.
I love this work of Alexandra Lethbridge, ‘The Vow’! For anyone who read Agatha Christie, this woman screaming could belong to a mysterious crime story. The photograph was developed on vinyl, forever attached to this wall. I like that this story cannot be removed from its location – just like the scene of a murder.
I love the Kiss – The Kiss by Rodin was one of my favourite works when I was a young girl and here it is, everyday in front of my eyes in recycled plastic, framed in Perspex and whose lighting is pure magic as imagined in quantum physics by the amazing Jasmine. Its soft lighting at night is very moody. The Kiss finds itself next to the Vitruvian Woman by my artist Leni Dothan – the perfect man has now found its perfect woman. Vitruvius may have found peace in gender equality.
What next? The work of artist Scarlett Bowman is one of my favourite – its composite nature disappears into the wall to highlight the recycling materials integrated into the work. I want everyone to care about sustainability and it’s a constant reminder of the materials that waste everyday. It’s also a smart way to introduce this topic over dinner as it hangs proudly over the dinner table. No one can ever escape meaningful conversations in this house.
The sensual lips of artist Will Thomson comes straight from a tube carriage, with the painted window reminding us of this certain view we get while sat on the tube and overlooking the adverts displayed at the station. I love the vibrancy of the paint he used so much that we specially bought a red velvet sofa to enhance it. Here, the art comes first and determines everything else. Never the other way around.
There is more… Next to the bathroom you will find the work of Jennifer Abessira (with a few bruises on her hand and colourful pills, acting as a daily reminder of the fragility of our health. The study room has the diptych of Will Thomsom ‘Flipper Liberty.’ These works are so calm and an escape in itself. I spend a lot of time writing in this room and his blues have the most calming effect on my creative brain.
Ignacio’s vibrant yellow work has a continuous dazzling influence on my morning routine. Yellow is the color of happiness and I find myself feeling a lot happier every time I look at the thick paint and twisted yellow canvas.
As you ponder on your way out, the works of Francesco leaves a melancholic imprint on your heart. Francesco spends days painting the most perfect and realistic works and all at once, chooses to erase the works with white paint. This is a reminder that most empires do collapse and one should strive to avoid working towards nothingness.
My collection is my life, a representation of what I care most about and the visuals who inspire me everyday. It will grow, evolve, and change and I cannot wait to unfold each chapter of this special story.