‘Open-air gallery’ lets artists exhibit through lockdown

Artis Lois O'Hara in front of her Brick Lane mural

Artis Lois O'Hara in front of her Brick Lane mural - Credit: Archant

A mural on Brick Lane is the focal point of a nationwide scheme to post emerging artists’ work on advertising hoardings

With art shows being postponed and cancelled due to Covid, Lois O’Hara is leading the charge to give emerging artists space to showcase their work.

The designer chose Brick Lane, as the home for her new mural to launch the Be The Next campaign.

She calls the scheme the UK’s “biggest open-air gallery,” giving talented artists exhibiting space on print and digital advertising billboards nationwide with the help of Vype.

She said: “Shoreditch is the creative hub of London. I love walking through the street not knowing what kind of art you will see when you turn the corner.

You may also want to watch:

“It was the obvious place for this mural wall when we started discussing the campaign and I’m honoured for my work to be featured here.”

O’Hara’s colourful work and forward-thinking campaign injects much-needed optimism into the UK art scene.

Most Read

“While museums and galleries may be shut”, she said, “we wanted to bring a gallery to the people that they can visit at any time, despite the lockdown rules.”

Like other curators battling a downbeat social context, O’Hara found herself in the dilemma of whether to present coronavirus-related pieces or opt for something lighter.

“While we definitely wanted to use this campaign to bring some positivity to people during lockdown, the pieces themselves don’t represent coronavirus. Each artist was asked to create work that reflects their true selves, so each creation is deeply personal to the individual artist.

“My piece is inspired by music. I love to hear a song and then visualise it into a physical piece of art.”

O’Hara is inspired by the commitment of the artists and designers involved in the project.

“I’d love to give a shout-out to the other artists that have worked on this campaign, bringing inspiration through a difficult time that we definitely won’t forget. Each artist comes from a different walk of life, and it’s great to see the range of art and unique tone of voice through each specific piece.”

And O’Hara says the campaign is an invaluable opportunity to keep people conscious of art in their daily lives.

“It’s definitely been challenging at times with the lockdown restrictions changing so frequently, but we’ve worked hard to make sure that we can keep inspiring people with this art while doing so safely.

“British people love art and culture. Hopefully once restrictions lift and we have more freedom we will be able to come together and support all the creative people who provide joy, positivity and happiness through their artform.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter