Word Art Exhibition

Word Art Collective

Director of The Word Art Collective and curator of the exhibition Word Art funded by the European Commission under the British Council’s Youth in Action programme.

The exhibition took place at Hoxton Arches in East London. Fusing art and language and reflecting on European identity, it presented cutting-edge works by a group of exceptional emerging artists and designers, most of whom made new pieces commissioned by the Word Art Collective.

A talented group of international artists used words and images in unison, to show that both modes of expression have in common the power to convey what is fundamental about us; to tell stories, give voice to new ideas, to prick our imagination and move us.

Photographer Kofi Allen and author Courttia Newland created a collaborative piece for the exhibition titled ‘Watching the Watchers’. Newland wrote a flash fiction story to accompany the previously unpublished photograph taken by Allen at the Notting Hill Carnival which was displayed alongside the image.

Graphic novelist and illustrator Nick Hayes presented an illustration that depicted man transforming the natural world into his own fantastical visions using language, sounds and mythological narrative. Hayes incorporated the ancient Pictish alphabet to describe this act as ‘Enchantment’.

‘Hope something happens, Hope nothing happens’ by up-and-coming fine artist and Royal College of Art graduate Wonwoo Lee was a sculptural gate piece inspired by Auguste Rodin’s iconic Gates of Hell, relecting on our expectations and the uncertainties in life.

Street artist Mobstr, known for his guerrilla typography which comments on advertising in public spaces and questions people’s relationship with the built environment, was commissioned to work off the street for the first time. The artist, whose identity is top secret, was given late-night access to paint an original work onto one of the gallery’s inside walls that was revealed at the opening.

The Word Art Collective also launched a pan- European digital art competition from which the winning entry, selected from over fifty submissions by a judging panel chaired by Head of Research at the Victoria & Albert Museum Dr Glenn Adamson, was announced at the Press & VIP Evening with a €300 prize awarded.

Several other events complemented the exhibition, namely a funded workshop with students from a local Hackney school, taught by author Courttia Newland, as well as Thursday lates including the Whitechapel Gallery’s First Thursday.

Distinguished curator Dr Glenn Adamson is the mentor to the Word Art Collective, a non-profit initiative established by a group of Londoners under 30 working in art and design. He commented: “As in all outbursts of everyday speech, there is a lot of energy in the show, and a great deal of truth.’’

The Word Art show was accompanied by an exhibition book of original artist interviews and essays by members of the Word Art Collective; with a new essay by Dr Glenn Adamson on language and art.

Participating artists and designers:
Nick Hayes, Sadie Hennessy, Nicole Bachmann, Tom Crawford, Courtia Newland, Kofi Allen, Yun Yu, Matthew Raw, Daria Makarenko, Mobstr and Won Woo Lee.

Hoxton Arches, based at Arch 402, Cremer Street, London E2 8HD.

About the Word Art Collective
The Word Art Collective  is a non-profit initiative established by a group of Londoners under 30 working in art and design, generously supported by the European Commission and Hoxton Arches, its partner gallery. The Group came together with the aim to promote greater synergy between language and visual art through contemporary art forms.

About British Council’s Youth in Action programme
The Word Art Collective was funded with support from the European Commission as part of the British Council’s Youth in Action programme. Youth in Action aimed to inspire a sense of active European citizenship, solidarity and tolerance among young Europeans and to involve them in shaping the Union’s future.


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