• Kristina Reingoldt

Happy Birthday, The Old Bank Vault Gallery!

A few weeks back we all gathered together at the Old Bank Vault Gallery to celebrate the first anniversary of the gallery alongside with the opening of the Summer Show!

It has been a busy year for the gallery filled with exhibitions, workshops and panel discussions at the end of which, each exhibiting artist contributed a piece of work for the Summer Show. This resulted in an amazing collection of 35 pieces of artwork, which varyfrom sculpture to original paintings and limited edition prints!

On the evening of the Summer Show opening, we arrived just after 6 o’clock to make sure we had a chance to see the art properly and chat to the founder and creative director of the gallery Sim Takhar before it got too busy! Upon arrival, we received a very warm welcome from Sim and managed to ask her a few questions about The Old Bank Vault. As I discovered this gallery only about a month ago my first question was, how did the idea of a gallery and a concept store come about?

Sim: "My parents bought the place back in 1999 and it was home to their fashion footwear business London Rebel for 8 years. During those 8 years, I spent a lot of timeon Hackney Road and loved it! Being brought up in the suburbs any opportunity to get into London was so exciting even it meant spending the day in a warehouse! I loved the vibe of the area, although, it was a lot different back then. I thought a lot about all the awesome things the place could be used for and, then almost 20 years later the opportunity arose. The tenancy was coming up for renewal and, we decided to take the plunge and open a concept store that would house all the things we loved - art, furniture and flowers! As an artist brought up in a business family it was really exciting to have the opportunity to use my experiences in both fields to curate this amazing space filled with artworks from some of the most talented artists around. It also gave my mum the opportunity to fulfil her dream of opening a flower shop and so The Old Bank Vault was born - a premium gallery and concept store, making people’s homeshappy!"

I couldn’t agree more, the space looked amazing! Beautifully hung art was lit in warm light, which worked really well with the yellow wall. Once again, I appreciated how well the colour worked in the space. It gave the gallery really warm and happy feel. A few pieces of carefully selected furniture and antique glass wear were also on display, giving the space that domestic feel that so many galleries are missing. As we were admiring the art, we were offered delicious Grand Marnier cocktails, while DJ Doug Haywood was setting up the mood for the night playing some old school classics!

We walked around the gallery with Sim talking about other events that have been hosted at The Old Bank Vault throughout the year. Sim told me that the gallery held festive wreath making workshops with the florist Shilpa Reddy, as well as food swaps, where participants bring along something they have made and swap it for something else. Future plans for the gallery workshops also sounded very exciting. Sim said, "We have some other workshops in the pipeline with artists. We are hoping to create the opportunity for attendees to our workshops to experience some of the processes and techniques that artists use to create their work first hand. We are always open to new ideas and love to bring an interactive element to the gallery!"

The collection of artwork at the exhibition was very impressive! It was great to see the work of several familiar artists like Heath Kane, JaysonLilley, Ram Shergill and Benjamin Thomas Taylor and discover so many new names. Every piece of art was so different, yet they worked really well together. It was great to see bold prints with glitter and crystals and next to the intricate hand-drawn abstract maps of London on film by artist Tannaz Oroumchi. Hence my next question to Sim was about the concept that she was following while curating the show...

Sim: "I guess the show was subconsciously being curated throughout the year as we selected artists for the gallery. There were no stringent rules for the summer show - more than anything it was a celebration of all the artists we had been lucky enough to work with over our first year. I did request that all the artists submit an artwork that was either an original or previously unseen, giving our guests the opportunity to see something that had been previously unseen."

As the night progressed the gallery got really busy! It was so great to see friends and family coming together to celebrate this special occasion! The first year is a huge stepping-stone for any project and The Bank Vault has established a very strong presence in only twelve months. I am really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the gallery! Happy Birthday!

Check out The Old Bank Vault Gallery web-site to keep up to date with the latest events & exhibitions

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