Ant Carver: All Alone in a Crowded Room 7-11th September 2022 Copeland Gallery Peckham Copeland Park 133 Copeland Road Peckham London SE15 3SN
All Alone in A Crowded Room is a moving contemporary portrait exhibition by one of London’s leading street artists Ant Carver, who hopes to empower expressions of grief, especially among young people who may be experiencing loss and bereavement alone.
Combining street art techniques and nuanced, psychological portraiture, the talented 30 year-old artist brings a fresh perspective to the universal themes of loss and grief through 22 powerful portraits of young Londoners.
Ant was motivated by his own personal experiences to explore the subject of bereavement in his paintings following the loss of his best friend, Oli Hilsdon, who tragically died of a brain tumour just before his 27th birthday. Ant didn’t know how to process what had happened. Finding that the subject was often not spoken about and not always knowing the right words himself, he began to find cathartic expression of his feelings through painting.
Incorporating street art and contemporary styles with rich references from art history and European portrait traditions, Ant juxtaposes beautiful symbolic and allegorical elements inspired by the Dutch still life tradition with his distinctive, vibrant style. From traditional emblems such as flowers, dice, playing cards, skulls and empty chairs to the simple power of facial expression and body language, Ant skilfully confronts a subject that often stays hidden in modern culture, inviting viewers to bring their own experiences, and find what they can relate to most.
He hopes that his paintings, which capture emotions and experiences that often go unsaid, will help others feel less isolated and confront, process and talk about grief.
Ant said:“I started producing this body of work as a way to explore feelings of loss that I didn’t know how to express in words. I hope my exhibition will help people discuss grief, a topic that can feel really isolating especially for people who might feel they are facing it alone. This project has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but in the end has really helped me express my feelings, I hope the work can help others come together and express their own.”
Ant is also compiling a book which will combine images of the paintings with written contributions from anonymous individuals, sharing their personal experiences of grief. People will share experiences, feelings and poetry on social media to explore the diverse experiences that often get hidden away. The book will be available to coincide with the exhibition and in support of The Oli Hilsdon Foundation.
Ant is best-known for his bold, large-scale murals including the iconic Brick Lane mural of a woman with a skull and a portrait of a man in a chair in Plumstead, which was inspired by Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Thinker’, (known as ‘The Mourner’). He has also painted two murals in this series of work for Upfest in Bristol, Europe’s biggest street art festival. Thousands of people see these murals each year.