Pop Art idol launches festival double bill

Sir Peter Blake launched art exhibition as part of this year's HF festival

Sir Peter Blake with West London based Irish artist Tom Quigley and some of his work
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Sir Peter Blake has launched a double art exhibition as part of this year's Hammersmith & Fulham festival. The first part of the festival double kicked off at the Atrium gallery outside Hammersmith Town Hall yesterday (Thursday 16 March). Later in the evening a second exhibition opened in the W12 Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush.

Sir Peter, who is perhaps best known for the iconic cover of the Beatles' album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, joined local artists Steve Turrell, Michael Reave, Tom Quigley, Jenny Fernando, Afra Dojaily and John O'Carroll for the Atrium exhibition which features figurative and abstract sculpture in ceramic, plaster and wax, as well as framed drawings in charcoal, ink and pastel.

Sir Peter said, “I’ve had a studio in Hammersmith & Fulham since 1997 and really enjoy the work of local artists. Tom Quigley's series of works celebrates the artistic vibrancy of the capital."

Sir Peter rose to fame as one of the leading lights of the pop art movement of the 1960s. He designed the iconic cover of the Beatles' album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Andy Warhol is often cited as the founder of pop art but, in fact, Sir Peter created his Captain Webb Matchbox before Warhol's soup tin paintings used consumer products as art. His fondness for popular culture can be clearly seen in much of his eclectic collages and silk screen prints with images of Marilyn Monroe mixing with Mona Lisa. Sir Peter's first brush with fame came when he was featured in Ken Russell's seminal film Pop Goes the Easel which was shown on the BBC in 1962. He was knighted by the Queen in 2002.

The exhibition at W12 has a Moroccan theme and features the work of local artist Tim A’Ché as well as work by Graft and Glamour and photographs of the Bosnian war and women at work. Visitors to the centre enjoyed traditional Moroccan food and music courtesy of the Mimouza Restaurant.

Councillor Melanie Smallman said, “I’m sure that following this fantastic launch art lovers will come and enjoy the work of these talented artists. The sheer variety of work on show proves that although all of the artists have very different backgrounds and influences they can all come together for the festival.”

Artist Tim A’Ché, who is displaying his work on a Caribbean theme at W12, said, “I was influenced by people like Salvador Dali but some of the other artists here are coming from a very different perspective. It’s great that we can all exhibit side by side in this great space.”

Both exhibitions are free and are open to the public from now until Sunday April 9.

W12 Shopping Centre Manager, Neil Churchill, says, “We couldn't have asked for a better start to the festival. A great turnout with fantastic food and entertainment provided by one of our tenants – Mimouza Morrocan Restaurant. Everyone had a good time. I am delighted that west12 Shopping Centre are once again headline sponsors and may our positive affiliation with the borough continue.

There are more than 100 other events during this year’s Hammersmith & Fulham Festival including art, children’s activities, comedy, cultural events, music, special offers, theatre and sport.

Selected festival highlights:
Community Spirit fair, Saturday 18 March
Mayor’s Tea Dance, Thursday 23 March
Fulham Symphony Orchestra Concert, Saturday 25 March
Family and Children’s Fun Day at the Masbro Saturday 25 March
Linford Christie Outdoor Sports Centre Family Fun Day, Sunday 26 March
Edward Woods Community Centre Fun Day, Saturday 1 April
W12 Showcase Part III, Sunday 2 April
Celtic Caribbean Crossings, Saturday 8 April
Ravenscourt Park Sports Day, Sunday 9 April
Omid Djalili, No Agenda, 25 March
The Mature Ravers Showcase, Saturday 1 April



March 20, 2006