The Hari and ArtULTRA are delighted to announce the forthcoming exhibition of Emmanuel Unaji and Matilde Merli, two artists who have been in residence at The Hari from 26 April to 28 May 2021. After months of lockdown, luxury hospitality and emerging artists have joined forces to spearhead London’s artistic renaissance.
The exhibition will showcase approximately 11 artworks created during the artists’ residency and will be on display throughout The Hari Bar as well as the popular the window at the front of the hotel until November 2021.Presenting the artists
River Deep in Matilde Merli’s inner world
When you look at Matilde’s artwork you are confronted by raw emotion. There is an ebullience in her work, conjuring up the image of a river with strong currents running below the surface. Working on 4 or 5 pieces simultaneously, impatient to capture the energy and images that run through her mind, she constructs her work layer by layer. The results are a set of intense 3D canvases who will leave a strong imprint on the viewer’s mind.
A diminutive figure, soft spoken, Matilde communicates her message through her work with strength and intensity. Matilde has used the residency at The Hari as a period of reflection and exploration, journeying through the past few months to give them artistic expression. The residency is operating as a cathartic release for Matilde; as she acknowledges ‘creating an artwork is my way to open up and talk’. Working with acrylics, as well as found and collected objects, from red bull cans to discarded lentils, a dress, candles or fallen branches, her artworks grab your attention and demand a response.
As any artist knows, the process of releasing their artwork can be liberating and scary at the same time. Letting the public glimpse into her mind, relinquishing all control over what they will think, how they will view and interpret the work is a significant step for Matilde. Will viewers understand her message? How will it land? The exhibition at The Hari will be a crucial moment to open up and let the viewers in.
A voyage into Emmanuel Unaji’s Multiverse
Emmanuel is a polymath, with a background in modelling, a fashion line and an art degree under his belt, and he is not afraid to try new ideas and break new grounds. It is exciting to witness an artist emerging on the scene, unconstrained by the usual categorisations of the art world. Emmanuel sees his career as a wide spectrum, spanning fine and commercial artforms freely. If ever there was a dividing line for him, it is now a thing of the past. Emmanuel’s artworks embellish his garments’ sleeves, backs or pockets.
As a 10-year-old visiting the Sistine Chapel, and all the way through to art school, Emmanuel has contemplated the western canon and questioned his place within it. Today, he thinks of his visits to museums and exhibitions as encounters, in which he enjoys the exchange of ideas, knowing where he comes from and observing how he fits in.
Emmanuel has carved out his own space, at the junction of fashion, luxury, street and fine art, where he enjoys deconstructing the images and identities that the media offer up to us.
Taking as his subjects fashion models, cultural or political icons, he explores the distance between the perception and reality, and asks the question: what is their truth? How do we relate to them? Emmanuel is interested in engaging the viewer in a conversation, and in exploring what lies beneath the images that we consume.
Of the residency, Emmanuel says it has been a great opportunity to dedicate more time to his artistic practice, ‘It’s like being in your own Wonderland, projected into your own world of creativity and given time to explore new ideas.’ With it, he hopes to make a shift in his career, before being swept away by new collaborations.
Art has long been in the DNA of The Hari and the exposed brick walls of the lobby and The Hari Bar host an impressive collection of contemporary works on a curated rolling programme. Following the success of the “Class of 2020” exhibition, where we offered the opportunity for graduating artists from a range of London art schools and colleges to exhibit their artwork in The Hari’s public spaces, we are delighted to show our support to emerging artists once again.
Please see below a selection of their pieces.
For more information about art at The Hari please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.