On 7 September 2021 Westminster City Council will install a Green Plaque in honour of the life and legacy of the iconic artist, Halima Nałęcz. The plaque will be located at 5 Porchester Place in Connaught Village, the original site of Halima’s most renowned gallery, Drian, and now the site of Buchanan’s Cheesemonger.
The Westminster Green Plaque scheme launched in 1991 to commemorate the diverse cultural heritage of Westminster and the people who have lived or worked here. It highlights buildings associated with people of renown who have made lasting contributions to society.
To celebrate the occasion, the Church Commissioners are funding a modern day recreation of the Drian Gallery at 14 Porchester Place. The gallery will host a brand new exhibition entitled Kaleidoscope: A Celebration of Colour, curated by art critic and admirer of Halima, Robin Dutt.
The gallery will be open every Thursday – Sunday from 9 September until 10 October. Entrance to the exhibition will be free.
Kaleidoscope: A Celebration of Colour will pay homage to the late artist Halima Nałęcz who when asked about her work in an interview, famously said “I believe in the medicine of colours”. You can find out more about the artist’s life on our Culture Blog.
In a bid to emulate what a modern day Drian Gallery may have looked like, critic and lecturer Robin Dutt was enlisted to curate the pop-up gallery.
I had the privilege of meeting the rare spirit Halima Nałęcz while attending a few of her private views, and it’s impossible to imagine her not being surrounded by gloriously clashing colour. This current show, 'Kaleidoscope' is indeed a tribute to a woman of insight and dedication, who nurtured so many artists... as well as an excuse to have a damn good time doing so!
Robin Dutt, Curator
After extensive research, the artists and works selected for this exhibition were chosen by the way they demonstrate how their differing passions – figurative to abstract, plain colour fields to symbolist motifs – utilise the variance and power of colour.
Returning to Connaught Village to take part in the exhibition will be British Sculptor Michael Sandle RA, who gave his first ever major exhibition at The Drian Gallery in 1963. Now aged 85, Sandle jokes that he “never was much of a colourist” but will be contributing a select number of his more colourful works bolstered with bright, vibrant stories and recollections of Halima herself.
Other artists taking part in the exhibition will include Annie Sherburne, Andrew Flint-Shipman, Bokani Tshidzu, Christian Furr, Cindy Lass, David Begbie, Kjell Folkvord, Robi Walters, and Theo Platt. Connaught Village has a longstanding history and affiliation with the arts and it is an ongoing objective of the Church Commissioners to promote the many existing art galleries and creatives who reside there as well as actively seeking to bring more public installations to the area.
The Church Commissioners are delighted to have this opportunity to honour the legacy and contribution to British art of our former long standing tenant on the Hyde Park Estate. We look forward to welcoming people to the Kaleidoscope exhibition and celebrating the work and legacy of Halima Nałęcz.
James Parker, Commercial Real Estate at the Church Commissioners