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October Gallery

Home > London > Art | Cafes | Galleries | Lunch | Theatre
by Joanna Sopylo-Firrisa (subscribe)
Writer by passion, administrator by profession. I check what life brings and turn it into writing.
Published July 12th 2014
A perfect spot for Art Lovers
October Gallery, London, contemporary art, Holborn, Old Gloucester Street
entrance to the October Gallery, picture by Joanna Sopylo-Firrisa
Hidden in the calmness of Old Gloucester Street in Holborn is the October Gallery, a place to contemplate art, eat lunch and relax in the garden-courtyard. What else could you want from a cultural venue!

What attracted me to the October Gallery was an exhibition of Ghanaian painter Ablade Glover, held on the occasion of his 80th birthday. What I discovered however, was much more.

The current exhibition is worthwhile. It includes over 10 big paintings depicting markets, streets and ports of Ghana. They're all truly amazing and made me feel like I was actually in Ghana for a moment. I heard the sounds of the streets, experienced the heat and business. All the paintings are colourful and energetic dominating colours are red and yellow, but there is also quite a lot of blue.

You need to spend good couple of minutes in front of each picture, because the image doesn't come easily at first it might seem like a mix of paints but once you look from afar and forget about the world around you, you will see people's shapes and faces. It feels magical and captivating and you'll want more and more. The press release notes "Using, a palette knife, [Ablade Glover] applies his oils in a thick impasto. Heavy layers of bright colours invoke the bustling crowds, the heat, thriving market stalls and dusty shanty towns of his acclaimed market paintings. (...) The roughly textured surfaces of his canvases recall an earth parched by the powerful African sun." The exhibition will be open until August 2nd and then the gallery will be closed for the whole month of August.

Ablade Glover, October Gallery, Holborn, contemporary art, London, exhibition, African art
Red Townscape V by Ablade Glover; picture by courtesy of Jonathan Greet and October Gallery London


It's not unusual to see paintings from Africa, Oceania and Asia or the Middle East in the October Gallery. Opened in late 1970s, the gallery prides itself on being the first gallery in the UK to present contemporary art from all around the world. Most recent exhibitions included Golnaz Fathi, Jukhee Kwon and Tian Wei and there are usually some events accompanying each of them talks, workshops and others.

But those are not only the paintings that the gallery has to offer. It's a great place to relax sipping coffee and enjoy a Persian inspired lunch from their cafe (dish of the day including green side-salad and juice of choice which costs 8), or you can sit in the shadows of the garden-courtyard. I'm definitely going to try the lunch in the future it's open only between 12.30 and 1.30pm. The atmosphere of the courtyard takes you to Italian towns where the most important thing is the afternoon siesta. The gallery also offers a space to hire for recitals and other events. Its own range of events is rich and varied and includes free family art days and workshops related to their exhibitions.

It's amazing how such a gem remains hidden on one of the side streets in the centre of London. It's worth exploring and I think I'll become a regular visitor.

Ablade Glover, October Gallery, Holborn, contemporary art, African art, exhibition
Celebrations I by Ablade Glover, picture by courtesy of Jonathan Greet and October Gallery London
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Why? Because you can contemplate the art, relax and eat in one place
When: Tuesday to Saturday 12:30-5:30 pm [Closed Sunday & Monday]
Phone: (0)20 7242 7367
Where: 24 Old Gloucester St, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL, United Kingdom
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