J/M @The Civic Gallery Kensington & Chelsea

18 October - 18 December 2021

Black History Month 2021

The BHM show marks the long-awaited relaunch of The Civic Gallery at the Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall.

The purpose of the exhibition, to host local talent and organisations during BHM 2021 and celebrate the borough’s diverse heritage. With over half our residents born outside the UK, Kensington and Chelsea is home to communities from all over the world, including European, African, Middle Eastern and Caribbean populations.

Communities have shaped the character of the area and our residents value this diversity. In the absence of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, representing Black History Month at The Civic Gallery is an important junction to promote the strengths and history of this heritage at the heart of our community.

With community engagement and participation as a priority, showcasing artists working and connected to the borough is a valuable tool to inspire dialogue and promote future networking and resource sharing. This is something at the core of The Civic Gallery and through the BHM exhibition, we hope to begin the process for those participating and posterity.

J/M Gallery will participate in the BHM 2021 show with four artists: Junior Tomlin, Banke Jemiyo, Caroline Chi-Chi Chinakwe and Theophilus Tetteh


Caroline Chi-Chi Chinakwe

Caroline Chinakwe, is a Nigerian-born, London-based, mixed media artist. Caroline is known for her colourful, powerful, and unapologetic visuals that captures the beauty found in black culture and style, while addressing social issues that affect people of colour.
Caroline is an alumni of London College of Fashion and started her career as a garment technologist, working for designers and high street brands, before focusing on a freelance career as a fashion designer and stylist.
After 20 years experience working in the fashion industry, Caroline’s recent transition into art, developed from the lack of diversity in fashion when it came to how visuals including black models, were styled and depicted in mainstream media. As a mother of 3 herself, it was also a personal need to create and share images that would inspire and empower her children and the next generation.
As a self taught artist, Caroline’s process in creating her pieces is drawn from her natural creative abilities, her experience as a stylist and designer, working with models, photographers, clothing and accessories, all of which have been brought together and channeled into her works.
Using a combination of various artistic mediums including photography, acrylic painted details, and digital collaging, Caroline’s art has her very unique signature on it, pushing the boundaries of various techniques, combination of textures and exquisite but deliberate imperfect touches. The artist’s images portray the complexities of black women and men, intrinsically woven into their beauty, style, strength and grace. In her pieces, traditional and non traditional head wears and hairstyles are worn with a sassy confidence, on a melanin heavy canvas and adorned in jewellery whilst using makeup and accessories as a form of expressing their identity, individuality and pride in their culture.
Social media has played a huge part in the artists journey, the response received from followers of her pieces, gave her the confidence and drive to launch a debut collection in 2019 entitled ‘This is Me’, which included collaborations with jewellery and accessories designers Moyobybibi, Anita Quansah and hat designer, Maxhatter. Caroline’s art has also been acclaimed by industry influencers including Christene Barberich, co-founder of Refinery29, and Hannah O’Leary, Head of Modern & Contemporary African Art at Sotheby’s and neo soul music icon Erykah Badu.
Still very much surprised and excited by the way her images have been received on social media and especially the support received from the black community, at the beginning of 2019, the artist made the bold move to step away from fashion to devote her time developing a full time career as an artist.
Caroline is currently working on the launch of her new collection ‘Colourism’. This collection was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and social injustice protests of 2020 and looks at the issue of colour and the preference for a lighter skin tone within the black community itself.
“I want my work to have a positive impact and start conversations about the beauty in the diversity of our black skin and the many beautiful shades it comes in.”
In the middle of a world pandemic, Caroline made another bold move, to start working on her lifestyle brand CHINAKWE. The CHINAKWE lifestyle brand will be an extension of her art and will include homeware and apparel products including silk scarves in various sizes and styled in different ways, velvet and satin cushions, satin loungewear and reupholstered vintage chairs. Like her art, these pieces will be full of colour and strong images that will pay homage to her African and Western influences.

Caroline Chi-Chi Chinakwe

Banke Jemiyo

Banke Jemiyo, also known as Oreofe, is a self-taught artist whose love for painting was birthed through sketching portraits, landscapes and still life drawings. Her creative journey truly blossomed in March 2020, during the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. Since then, Banke has diligently studied and developed her craft.
As an artist, Banke works with mediums including acrylic, oil and writing instruments and through contemporary and traditional techniques isn’t shy of marrying vibrant colours and eccentric concepts in her paintings. A linguist by profession, Banke’s work is inspired by different cultures, often taking an Afro dimension and incorporating fashion inspired themes, poignant visual aesthetics
and quirky interiors to create a unique narrative. In the past six months, her works have been exhibited in various galleries including The Brick Lane, Boomer in London and Art Number 23 in Athens [October-November 2021]. Her connection with each painting continues to be recaptured and appreciated worldwide as her creative journey is ever evolving.

Artist's statement

“Bring me the colours of the rainbow and my imagination runs away with me…

I’ve always believed that life is lived more fully in brighter colours grasping inspiration in the most random of places; Iris Apfel’s wardrobe, the Afrofunk archives and Netflix real-life documentaries to name but a few. My artistic journey over the past year in particular has led me to fall in love and develop my craft in the world of portraiture. In a series of works, my inspiration lies in the expression and representation of identity, the conflicting paradigm between the individual and society. My vision is to create pieces
that celebrate cultural difference, promote and honour the achievements of Black and other peoples of African descent. My values for respecting tradition, physical individuality and art movements stands vividly in my heart and to then complement it with my signature explosion of vibrant colours in every painting is a dream!” Banke Jemiyo, October 2021

Banke Jemiyo

Theophilus Tetteh

Theophilus Tetteh (b.1991) lives and works in Accra, Ghana. He studied Graphic Design and Painting at Marimus Art School, whilst continuing to experiment with different media. After finding solace in the pictorial possibilities that Expressionism offered, he found figurative paintings most effective in exploring emotive qualities. His figures which often appear static and singular, are in fact dynamic entities of the local culture. Tetteh has participated in solo shows and group projects across Ghana, notably the Kente Design Project for Kejetia Market (Kumasi, 2017) and National Theatre of Ghana (Accra, 2018). He was recently awarded Artist of the Year (2021) by the BE OPEN Foundation and is also a member of the Ghana Association of Visual Artists (GAVA).

In his work, Tetteh condenses the internal sentiments and tensions of his characters and focuses them, using the eyes as the outlet for expression. In this way, his subjects become independent bodies, bold and daring. By examining the psychological conditions, we as humans are prone to experience, and then exhibiting them through physiological manifestations of that experience, Tetteh’s work is processual in nature, approaching each personality with care and consideration. His experiments are not only in content but in form, colour, and texture, manipulating paint through swift brush strokes and thick impasto.

Artist's statement

“I aim to capture the spirit, essence, and heritage of my subjects…to pull viewers right into the picture, making them suspect the presence of something deeper than what appears on the surface. The eyes have always been very instrumental in saying what the lips cannot or would not say- they reflect the true human self.” Theophilus Tetteh, October 2021

Theophilus Tetteh
represented by
Kensu Oteng | Managing Director
KO African Art & Antiques
+44 7908981615

Junior Tomlin

Junior Tomlin started his artistic career in the computer games packaging industry and moved on to record covers for leading dance labels such as “Space Gladiator” for Renegade Soundwave, ZTT, Kickin’, Vinyl Solution, React and Fashion Records, specialising in reggae. When the rave scene flourished in Britain, he designed futuristic style rave flyers, earning the name of “Salvador Dali of Rave” in London, Japan and Australia, where his early flyers are considered as collector’s items. Founding member of The London Cartoon Workshop, Junior moved into digital media with the advancement of electronic graphic media, working for a computer animation company AMG FX. His film credits include “Nightbreed”‚ the Clive Barker film and “Lost in Space” and “The Fairy King of Ar”. Junior has also worked for companies such as John Brown Jr. Publishing, Titan Publishing, and Marvel Comics, with credits including Action Man, Transformers Armada, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2000AD judge Dredd and numerous collectors cards which for Wizards of the Coast. Junior also worked for Cartoon Network, Audio Rom, Saddlers Wells Theater, IBT.
Junior Tomlin has taught Graphics and Computing at Kensington and Chelsea College and at Westminster College, and is passionate about djembe drumming, cinema and theatre.
In 2020 his book was released “Junior Tomlin flyers and cover art” showcasing the mastermind behind some of the most iconic rave flyers and record covers of the late eighties and nineties its a comprehensive insight into his incredible back catalogue.

Junior Tomlin

Partner Details

EFX www.artrabbit.com/events/combined-efx-pick-and-mix

J/M Gallery - www.j-m.gallery

Isis Amlak - www.portobellopavilion.london/isis-amlak

Glue - www.thetabernaclew11.com/glue

Portobello Dance School - www.portobellodance.org.uk

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