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East London Group Call for Artists for Commissions

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 17:00

Artist Fee: £1,500-2,000 per commission (including materials)

Exhibition open: 29 Sept – 17 Dec 2017

This September, the East London Group will return to the Nunnery Gallery with a new collection of paintings, selected and curated by writer broadcaster Michael Rosen and radio producer film-maker Emma- Louise Williams. Made up of ordinary men and women – window cleaners, firemen, shop assistants – the East London Group were a group of painters working during the inter-war period, whose work grew in prominence, egged on by support from their teachers – including Walter Sickert – and patrons – including Samuel Courtauld and Arnold Bennett. Their work was frequently exhibited across London and they went on to represent the UK in the Venice Biennale in 1936. The works provide a valuable visual documentation of the East End in this turbulent time of war and peace, including the area’s first ‘regeneration’ following the end of the Second World War. Together with newly found work, the 2017 exhibition will highlight the life of member Albert Turpin, who was Mayor of Bethnal Green and a leading member of the anti-Fascist movement, providing a rich political and social context to the exhibition.

To champion artists working in the east London today and to draw attention to the recognisable sites featured in the East London Group’s paintings, the Nunnery Gallery is looking to commission three contemporary in-situ artworks on and around Bow Road. These works will be the focus of walking tours of the local area that will run alongside the exhibition, as well as providing a contemporary interpretation of these little-known group of painters that are so important to the history of the East End.
Likely sites for the commissions are the front of Queen Mary University of London (confirmed, with support from the University), Bow Church and St. Clements, Mile End, so in very prominent areas that are consistently visible to the passing public. It is a great opportunity for an artist to be part of a project that highlights the artistic history of east London, and an exhibition that anticipates a footfall of around 2,000.

The works will need to be:

  •  Temporary
  •  Relatively simple to install
  • Mindful of budget
  •  Engaged with the East London Group history in some way (this could be contextual, specific to one artist / painting or the whole group)

As part of their participation, artists will have access to:

  • Guidance and support from the Nunnery Gallery Co-Director.
  • Facilitated research on the East London Group, including meeting the Turpin family and looking at their archives.
  • The collection of paintings to be exhibited.

As the timeframe is relatively short (works will need to be installed by the end of September 2017) we are looking for creative and flexible individuals with a relevance in their practice / interest / research that could be linked to the project. Artists are welcome to apply to execute one commission or the series of three; the fee refers to each commission individually. We welcome all media, including video / sound.

Applications should include an artist CV and a short statement, including:

  •  Why you are applying
  •  How your practice could work for the commission(s)
  •  Any ideas you might have

Please send applications via email to with the subject line “ELG Commission: FIRST NAME LAST NAME” by 25th July 2017.

Download 'East London Group Call for Artists' (PDF 361KB)

Contact Email:
Contact Name: 
Isabelle Escande
Tuesday, July 25, 2017