Exhibition: Brown Jewels Art Exhibition, Goldsmiths University’s St James Gallery

An artists’ collective is hosting an exhibition to celebrate local diversity by featuring the work of creators from ethnic minorities, writes Maya Chavvakula.

Social media art group Ministry of Art has teamed up with Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ), an initiative to support artists and creative business, to host Brown Jewels in Lewisham.

The event will feature 11 artists from the borough coming from a black and ethnic minority (BAME) background.

Lewisham was chosen as one of the capital’s first ever CEZ’s by the Mayor of London as a part of a new groundbreaking initiative.

The programme aims to protect the creative sector across the capital, increase affordable spaces for artists and entrepreneurs, and boost job and training opportunities for local people.

Founder of Ministry of Art, Damian Simon, said: “The exhibiting artists represent a range of disciplines, from painters to film makers and textile sculptures, and hail from backgrounds as diverse as Carriacou, Turkey, Pakistan and Nigeria.

“They all have a connection to the local area, which demonstrates Just how much talent, diversity and vibrancy there is in and around Lewisham.

The theme of this unique exhibition is looking at what it is like navigating the art world when you are from a black or minority ethnic background.

“Unfortunately, there are still many real and perceived barriers to exposure for black artists and while small increases in BAME participation in visual art is being recorded, it still falls below targets expected by Arts Council England.”

Lewisham was one of 25 boroughs to apply for CEZ funding and was chosen as one of the six winning zones.

CEZ is also pioneering sustainable practices while giving artists access to affordable and appropriate workspace alongside access to the skills, expertise, facilities and connections of education and cultural institutions.

Simon added: “We have a wealth of local talent who should feel they can have a future in art and the wider society should be benefiting from it.

“That is why I started Ministry of Art and why I’m really proud to be part of this event which will see Lewisham’s CEZs giving a much-needed platform to BAME artists as well as making visiting art galleries and exhibitions more accessible.

“I really hope to see people from all backgrounds and ages enjoy the art on display.”

The CEZ in Lewisham is situated in New Cross & Deptford and the Exhibition will be held at Goldsmiths University’s St James Gallery on 18 to 19 October.

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