Gone are the days when graffiti artists acted under the cover of darkness and were the bane of every Daily Mail reader’s lives (well, perhaps that’s asking too much). Nowadays the art works are shown in the White Cube and street artists are household names. Their socially and politically astute messages aim to help re-engage communities with public spaces and that certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed around London in recent years. East London is a hotbed for street art talent; the walls are lined with art and even galleries have opened their doors to this once marginalised practice.
Take American artist Gaia, who at just 24 years old, has risen to international status for his public artwork. Named after the Greek earth goddess, Gaia’s work often aims to unite nature with the urban landscape. But the Nelly Duff gallery in E2 has decided to exhibit a specific section of his oeuvre under the title Show of Hands.
Whatever it is that fascinates this artist with the human hand, he isn’t the first. Our hands have occupied space as representers of our connection to each other – our own personal imprints but also an outward symbol of our link: not so different from graffiti then? His hand paintings grace buildings in London, Buenos Aires, New York and Baltimore, his hometown. The works on show in the exhibition are original sketches of hands, many those of his fellow Baltimore residents. You may be able to check out his work on London street shutters on Roman and Hackney Road, as well as large-scale paste-ups. But the exhibition will be the first gallery show for the Gaia in the UK and will be a great opportunity to see this young artist’s drawing work up close. (Words: Laura Thornley)
From April 11th – 18th. For more info visit: www.nellyduff.com/index.php/art/shows/future