Pandaji's Blog

Art, research, education

Lifelong Fable of the Long Life Label: some insights

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The George Tavern exhibition space

David Fried and Manda Helal


On view through March 10, 2011

The George Tavern

373 Commercial Road, London  E1 0LA

Tel: 0207 790 7335

The exhibition space is a room in a building with heritage status, so a wooden framework has been constructed across the ceiling for work to be hung from. This structure inspired me to include work that could be shown alongside Dave’s paintings. Creating the work in different places and putting it altogether in my small living space meant I had been physically close to it, and it felt gigantic, so initially I was concerned that it would be dwarfed by the huge size of the room.

In keeping with the tradition of serendipitous findings, I came across loads of chain two days before hanging the show!! Special thanks to Brian from Glickman’s hardware store in Watney Market who has helped me out for my thirty three years of living in the East End. While bemoaning the disappearance of all the fishing tackle shops, he declared himself to be a fisherman and provided us with his end-reels of really strong monfilament line.

dcpb and Redhead

After hanging the work, it felt like a lot of things I had been doing for years had come together—a life long fable of collage. Amazing to see it all in an uncluttered, dimly lit environment. What I had thought was humorous turned into something more scary. The heads especially have that effect. Unlike at home where they are hung close together and can’t move, in this space they are never still. It was when people started commenting on the effect they had on them, I realised that I had made something startling. An image of the redhead on the invitation was enough for one person to decide not to come and see the work. The beads and found objects blend so well together that people couldn’t distinguish between the metal and ceramic. They tapped the work to find out!!

South wall view

We did not specify who had made what, and I was surprised when friends and family—who I thought had seen the work before—were asking whose work was whose. The paintings and ceramics compliment each other, and the exhibition feels like a single installation. It is wonderful to get some feedback, especially from strangers. Somehow it means more if someone you don’t know appreciates the work.


Author: pandaji

Ceramic artist, educator

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