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Oxford House and Ben Uri Gallery

Oxford House’s newest gallery installation, Postcards from Aldgate East, documents a series of photographs taken by East End residents during a number of walks in Aldgate East. Lead by Graham Barker and Natalie Clarke, photographers observed street life, architecture, cultural landmarks, local shopkeepers and much more. As a result, visitors to the exhibition are taken on a visual tour, offering an insightful and intriguing experience of the area. In addition to the photographs, 24 have been made into a sequence of postcards that are available to take away, and a short film tracing their journey can be viewed.

Postcards from Aldgate East forms part of a wider community project, commissioned to accompany the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum’s Out of Chaos; Ben Uri: 100 Years in London exhibition at the Inigo rooms in Somerset House’s East Wing, celebrating the centenary anniversary of the organisation. Ben Uri was founded by a group of émigré Jewish artists in Whitechapel in 1915, and is now the oldest Jewish cultural establishment in the UK. Today it addresses issues of migration and identity through the visual arts, with a 1,300-strong collection of predominantly twentieth-century art, many of which are on display at Somerset House.

Along with two other community partner projects, Postcards from Aldgate East engages with these themes, aptly illustrating the story of Ben Uri, as well as highlighting Oxford House’s own extensive history and identity in the East End.

Originally set to run for the length of July, Postcards has now been extended due to popular demand and even a TV appearance on London Live by Chief Executive of Oxford House, John Ryan!

This extension also coincides with a series of innovative events and workshops planned by the Ben Uri Gallery to run alongside the whole project, one of which will be hosted at Oxford House. The family drop-ins, aim to engage young learners through art and digital media exploring identity and migration. Although aimed at children aged 6-12 years, siblings and parents are welcome – the perfect excuse to come and see the exhibition and pick up a postcard or two!
Postcards from Aldgate East will be on display at Oxford house now until 7th August, while Out of Chaos; Ben Uri: 100 Years in London runs at Somerset House until 13th December 2015.

Text: Bridget Cox

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