26th Nov - 1st December | Old Brompton Gallery
This November, Focus LDN is proud to present the work of four truly global artists. Cultural Diaries will feature the latest portraits of Brazilian artist Milenna Saraiva, the abstract expressionist visions of Vietnamese/Canadian KV Duong, the ethereal, pyrographic landscapes of Chinese/Australian artist Michelle Loa Kum Cheung, and the architectural urban narratives of Irish/Italian Londoner Tom Cox.
This exhibition maps the individual journeys which have allowed us to be where we are today. From our own migrations to that of our parents, our explorations and experiences are infinite sources of inspiration. This richness of ideas and diverse experience brings us together with a focus on what unites us instead of that which divides us. Cultural Diaries investigates a universally human phenomenon from four unique perspectives and artistic approaches.
Tuesday 26th November 6 - 9pm
Location: 238 Old Brompton Rd, Kensington, London SW5 0DE
Opening hours: 11am - 7pm Wednesday 27th November - Sunday 1st December
Michelle Loa Kum Cheung
Michelle Loa Kum Cheung’s current practice is a response to the geographical dislocation between her identity as an Australian with her Chinese Mauritian background. Her pyrographic paintings and drawings of fictional environments contain elements which appear both foreign and familiar, alluding to the collective experience of belonging, movement and globalisation in the 21st Century. The notable lack of human presence in her works in favour of the natural environment is a reference to the Chinese utopia of the Peach Spring, an idyllic utopia existing without man’s intervention.
“The experience of the "other" has always been a draw for me, in art and in life. But there is no "other" among people - we are all the same, so my focus on the natural environment is the acknowledgement that humans are the collective "other" to the world around us, no matter where we go or where we've come from. Movement is inevitable - it is the environments we traverse through which interest me most”
With paintings that have been compared to those of Edward Hopper and L. S. Lowry; Cox paints scenes that are a living, breathing dedication to the bustle of city life. He captures the sensations of an energetic metropolis, with its transient characters and bold architectural lines. His “Contemporary Impressionist” style commences with ink sketching en plein air (from life) and is developed with oil paint at his Waterloo studio.
“There are myriad cultures and narratives around the world; a world which I love to travel. From the bustling streets of São Paulo to the hectic medina lanes of Marrakech, the freedom to move and experience other cultures has been infinitely inspiring, and has expanded my understanding of colour, architecture, and street life dynamics.”
KV Duong is a London based painter and action artist. His work focuses on personal identity, migration, sexuality and human relationships. Duong’s current body of work explores the migration journey of his family; having gone through the Vietnam War, his parents immigrated to Canada to give their children the chance at freedom and opportunity. Duong draws from these personal experiences to explore the integration and conflict of Eastern and Western cultures and values, the idea of place, belonging and home.
“London is truly the global melting pot. The cumulation of my life experiences living on three different continents have condensed to here, where I can freely explore and express myself through my art. I feel gratified and privileged that people connect with my work.”
Milenna Saraiva is a Brazilian painter based in São Paulo. For the artist, the artwork is not only about capturing an external likeness of a subject, but rather creating a portal to the inner journey of self exploration. Her current series of portraits explores concepts relating to the construction and deconstruction of the identity, a process that attempts to reconsider the conventions of figurative painting through a continued pursuit toward abstraction. Milenna’s gestural brushstrokes and imagery are textured and richly hued, conveying both complexity and raw emotion.
“Art is not only an expression of beauty and creativity, it is also a reflection of the times. Shaped by generations of different cultures, humans are migrating and mutating creatures, different but the same. That which brings us together is what inspires me to create.”