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Bow Open Show 2021 selected by gal-dem

Friday, October 8, 2021 to Sunday, December 19, 2021
Opening Hours: 
10am - 4pm
The Nunnery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ

The Bow Open Show is the only exhibition in the Nunnery Gallery’s programme to present Bow Arts studio artists exclusively and is highly anticipated for presenting some of London’s most exciting and recent artwork. gal-dem were due to curate the 2020 Bow Open Show, which was cancelled due to the pandemic, but have returned to select the 2021 exhibition.

Image: Marcus Orlandi, WE WANT PRE 2008 LEVELS OF CHAOS © the artist

Artist, curator and gal-dem founding member, Leyla Reynolds has selected 24 artists for Bow Arts’ annual Bow Open Show, all responding to her title Aboutface: regroup, reorganise, reimagine.

Following a year that has challenged those in the cultural sector particularly, gal-dem’s Bow Open demonstrates the power of artists and their imaginations to regroup following disaster, and reorganise with humour, frankness and inspiring visual potency. Works range from politically charged banners, a delicate spine of ceramic COVID masks and jewellery inspired by the Hindu Goddess Kali Ma, a beacon of hope and resistance to anti-colonial movements during the Bengal revolution. Powerfully commenting on many of the overarching political themes of the past year – gender identity, the environment, the pandemic, decolonisation, digital overload – the exhibition offers realism, satire, beauty and optimism.

Leyla Reynolds said:

The standard of the submissions for this year's Bow Open has been truly exceptional; the innovativeness shown in fulfilling the brief has been truly inspiring, with the artist responses demonstrating the variety of thought housed in Bow Arts Studios.

Overall, the exhibition captures an obstinate optimism that in March 2020, following the December 2019 crushing defeat of the Left, and the accelerated worker precarity that the UK pandemic encouraged, we doubted, for a moment, might re-occur.

This exhibition is a testament to the humour, craftsmanship, and tenacity of its makers, as well as their ability to capture an overwhelmingly determined spirit of collective joy and resilience.

Award winning media company gal-dem are committed to sharing the perspectives of people of colour from marginalised genders. Bow Arts is celebrating 25 years working in east London and the charity is thrilled to be working with gal-dem for its annual open this autumn, showcasing the diversity and talent of its studio holders.

Images, left to right: Nell Brookfield Dog & Chair; Harry Owens Mockingbird both © the artist

Exhibiting artists: Nitin Amin; Annamaria Antonazzo; Reza Ben Gajra; Nell Brookfield; Victoria Burgher; Ellie Burkett; Isabel Castro Jung; Nathalie Coste; Franco Di Cesare; Tom Foulsham; Romulo Gonçalves; Rebecca Griffiths; Nicci James; Eve Lam; Rachel Mercer; Marcus Orlandi; Harry Owens; Ayesha Sureya Patel; Tabitha Powles; Luke Anthony Rooney; Kyungmin Sophia Son; Scallywag Fox; Tara Versey; Toby Wilson.

Image: Tara Vasey Displacement - A street in Rome © the artist

About Leyla Reynolds
Leyla Reynolds is an artist, curator and founding member of gal-dem magazine.
She has worked with clients including Black Girl Fest, BBC, Adidas, Greater London Assembly and Tate. Her work has been exhibited at the V&A. As part of her work, she has appeared on numerous panels, chaired live events and debated on national TV. She was a judge in the editorial category of the World Illustration Awards 2019.

About gal-dem
gal-dem is a media publication, committed to telling the stories of women and non-binary people of colour. With an online and print magazine, they’re addressing inequality and misrepresentation in the industry through platforming the creative and editorial work of their community across essays, opinion, news, arts, music, politics and lifestyle content.


Access Information

Nunnery Gallery has step-free access throughout from street level, including to the accessible toilet, and is service animal friendly. This venue does not have a hearing loop system.

Accessible parking is not available on-site but blue badge parking can be found 500m away on Fairfield Road.

If you have any questions regarding accessibility at this venue or event, would like to make us aware of any access requirements that you have in advance of visiting, or would like this information in an alternate format including Easy Read, please email or call 020 8980 7774 (Ext. 3)

Travel Information

Opening hours: Tues-Sun, 10am to 4pm
Address: Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road, London, E3 2SJ
Nearest station(s): Bow Road (District and Hammersmith and City lines) is a 6-minute walk away, and Bow Church (DLR) is a 3-minute walk away.
Bus: 205, 25, 425, A8, D8, 108, 276, 488 and 8 all service the surrounding area.
Bike: Bicycle parking is located at Bow Church Station. The nearest Santander Cycles docking station is at Bow Church Station.