Calling all students! London is home to mounds of galleries just waiting to be uncovered, home to all forms of art by local artists and the best part? They are all free. Being students, going to galleries is not often on our list of priorities to do with our free time especially when admission can cost up to twenty pounds. But most people, myself included until recently, are completely unaware of all the free galleries there are in London, especially in the East, to view a large variety of art in different areas across all mediums. The problem with free galleries is that they lack the funding to effectively advertise their exhibitions and hence are far less well-known than more established galleries such as the Tate or the National Gallery. By exploring these lesser known free spaces you are not only supporting local artists but have the opportunity to view a variety of styles often in incredible buildings which adds a new element to the gallery experience.
The gallery is located on Shoreditch Highstreet with constantly changing exhibits. The exhibition on at the moment is a definite must see by Thierry Noir, the first credited artist to paint on the Berlin Wall; his block coloured surreal figures being some of the most iconic pieces of street art. Noir’s vibrant figures were designed to embody the voice of freedom pre-empting the wall’s fall in 1989. The artist’s work has also been featured in contemporary culture, featuring in Wim Wender’s film Wings of Desire and on the cover of the U2’s album Acting Baby. The free exhibition is a wonderful opportunity that should be leapt at by all students wanting to witness the work of an iconic artist that is also deeply connected to a key time in European history. The exhibition runs until 21st December 2016.
THE GALLERY IN REDCHURCH STREET
The aptly named gallery located on Redchurch Street, just off the Shoreditch end of Bethnal Green Road, is a former hat factory. The enchanting building which looks more like a storage lot from the outside is home to a fabulous exhibition space that exhibits both Fine and Modern art by artists of all calibres. The large floor plan of the old factory is ideal for three-dimensional work and is transformed into a new world with each exhibit. The exhibitions on are ever changing with each show providing audiences with a whole new experience.
Located right opposite Euston station and marketing itself as ‘The free destination for the incurably curious’, Wellcome collection is home to a wide range of exhibits that forge a bond between art and science, producing pieces that are both informative and emotive.) The gallery was founded by Sir Henry Wellcome who obsessively collected medical equipment which can be seen in the gallery’s permanent exhibition. The current exhibitions besides the permanent collection include; This is a Voice, States of Mind: Tracing the edges of consciousness, Voice Hearing Project (installation), Bedlam: The asylum and beyond (ideas surrounding mental illness). All of the exhibitions use art in order to understand wider social issues with a lot of focus placed on mental health.
So please seize this wonderful opportunity that you have in a city many others dream of living in. A city which alongside New York is considered one of the most important art cities in the world. GO! GO! GO!