Monday, 27 July 2020

Covid and lockdown had a big impact on the lives of the attendees of The Gate.

 Not only was their social life and support network disrupted, but they were also robbed of an ongoing opportunity to express themselves creatively through arts, music and literacy.

All sessions at The Gate came to a halt, leaving attendees isolated, bored and without a space where creative outlet was encouraged and supported. After a period of discussions amongst the arts facilitators and the Service Users of The Gate we all agreed that it was vital to restart the arts sessions, albeit in a different format.

 Since then we have started to meet up online every Wednesday for a couple of hours, mixing chatting with art making, hearing about everyone's ideas and about what they have been creating during lockdown, as well as discussing what they would like to make and where to take future projects.

 Using video call software to connect obviously has its drawbacks: Only one person can speak at a time and there is a visual- and audio delay. Also, some people have to share one device as a group, or the only device available is a phone, which compromises people’s experiences of the call and people may not be able to contribute in the way they would in a real-life setting at The Gate. Despite these hurdles and drawbacks it has been great to be in a “room” together to create art, have a chat and socialise..

 Our current art class group is Leon, Labake, Duane, Ritchie, Glenn, Jackie, Michael, Terry, Roy, Simon and Lena and myself. Seb, Jane, Giovanni and Adam drop in for visits.

 As people might know, Labake is an Avid Sims player and inspired the group to create a video game by and for The Gate. We started this pre lockdown, planning out characters and scenarios on paper, but also using the app to create sprits that we would put in our video game.
As we are now forced to work exclusively online, we thought it would be a good opportunity to focus on this video game. As some of the devices used by our artists don't let them access these apps and the video call at the same time, we had to find creative ways to overcome these technical problems: 

Some attendees who can use these apps will draw from instructions whilst we screen share their actions in real time. Others will resort back to IRL drawings with pen on paper. We will then photograph their work remotely through the computer screen and collage them into the collaborative drawings.
We used the online collaborative drawing tool to collage together our artists’ IRL pen-on-paper drawings and the digital drawings.

Before the Covid crisis we had an exhibition lined up at Peak Gallery in Elephant and Castle shopping centre in London This couldn't happen because of the virus, so we decided to create a socially distant exhibition instead. Visitors and passer-bys walking through the centre will be able to enjoy the exhibition by peaking through the windows of the gallery. Our plan is to print our collaborative drawings on a large format so they fill the entire window and door of the gallery.

There will be peepholes cut into the drawings which allow visitors to look into the gallery where we will have videos looping on monitors. Some of the videos we will be screening include: Quarantine radio hour video - weekly talk radio show made by members of The Gate.
  Glenn Miller's vlogs where they discuss coming out as trans, racial justice and what they eat in a day.

Richies Youtube where he vlogs about football, buffy and quarantine


 Duane aka Mr Amazing’s Tik Tok dance videos and new music from his soundcloud

A slideshow containing all the images from our instagram - Draft of our imagined window installation at Peak Gallery

Our proposal to Peak -

 We propose a poster/vinyl that covers the whole of the gallery window and glass on the door.

The poster would have holes at different heights, allowing people to look into the empty gallery space where we would position monitors showing slide shows of the work made by artists at The Gate.

 As we are in lockdown and no longer have access to The Gate , thus having to work remotely with our artists, we are using online video calls and collaborative drawing software to make art together. 

The picture attached is an example of one of our collaborative drawings using a mixture of collage works people have created, as well as the online digital drawing tools.

 We have been discussing what it means to be a disabled artist in this time and the relationship between the lack of funding to services and the impact of gentrification. We have also explored the disproportionate effects of these problems on black people and other ethnic minority groups in the UK. We have spoken specifically about the future demolishment of the E&C shopping centre and how it would displace poorer communities for the purposes of profiting the rich.

 Through these conversation we came up with some titles and slogans we would use in the poster:

 Is this the world we want to live in?

 What kind of world do we want to live in?

 What about us?

 Its 2020, not 1820

 Grow up

 The Exhibition will happen at the end of August 2020 and run for two days.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Lockdown Lowdown - An Update

Coronavirus and lockdown has had a big impact on the lives of the attendees of activities at The Gate. Not only were the routines of our Service Users disturbed, but a good percentage of them suddenly found themselves in a very isolated position with little contact to the outside world, as well as friends and health - and social care professionals. The Gate has always been a hub for learning disabled artists in the West London area and beyond. It is a place to meet, create, maintain social networks, form relationships with outside agencies, as well as find guidance when it comes to housing and health- and social care issues.

Thanks to a grant from Hammersmith United Charities, secured by Certitude, we've been able to carry on our work for our client base of 20-25 people.

Here’s a brief update about what we've been up to recently -

We've started twice weekly online art classes via Zoom, with plans to create a Gate video game. Have a look at Duane's Sonic The Hedgehog, pictured below.

We've been sending out packs of art materials for our artists to use whilst in lockdown.

Arts Facilitator Seb has been delivering these packs on his bike

This was covered in an article in The Guardian too.

We put together another activity sheet ,following the sheet about Judith Scott. This one was based on the work of some of our contributors. You can view and download it here

Gate Kicks has temporarily changed into ‘Quarantine Radio Hour’ (christened by Richie) - a trimmer 10 minute-ish version of the usual 30 minute show. You can catch the show on Resonance FM too. Here's the latest two episodes! Depending on who's available, the show is recorded either on the telephone, or via Zoom, or a combination of both.

Leon has been painting & drawing regularly outside of our twice weekly online art classes. He's also been writing stories and playing the bass. Look out for a feature on his painting in an upcoming radio / video show.

This image prompted the creation of an entire character - Polton the Extra-Terrestrial - listen to an interview with Polton here - 

There's been some great fashion designs too from John, Mary and Wayne. The Gate are collaborating with Stanley Picker Gallery / Kingston University.

 Stuart, has been busy writing lyrics for a forthcoming heavy metal project!

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Mr Amazing - Smooth It Over

Duane aka Mr Amazing put this song together in isolation using his guitar, a keyboard and the sounds of his washing machine and microwave. Video is a supercut of his dance moves from his own instagram profile - Co-ordinated on Whatsapp. Everything mashed together using Ableton
Lyrics - "Smooth it all over I swear this life is like the sweetest thing I've ever known It's just what comes with the fame And I'm ready for that, I'm just saying You need to get your shit straight The step in my groove I would give my world to lift you up You got the kind of lovin' that can be so smooth, yeah" DONATE TO THE GATE'S COVID 19 FUND AND MORE HERE -

Monday, 4 May 2020

Quarantine Video Hour - Episode 6 - Richie

For this episode Quarantine Radio Hour becomes Quarantine Video Hour as Richie discusses some of the TV programmes that have been preventing boredom setting in too much, enjoy:

In order to access cash and continue working with Gate artists while the gate is closed and they are locked down we have set up a gofundme to purchase materials - please click following link if you would like to contribute -

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Labake isolation art and profile.

Labake's garden.
This time round the focus is on Labake. Labake has been coming to the Gate for around ten years, she is a key person in the group and likely the first person you'd come across on a visit as she loves meeting new people and making them feel welcome, often with a song if you happen to have visited in a group big enough to constitute an audience.

Living room.
One thing Labake really loves to do is sing and she can often be heard wandering round Shepherds Bush singing her songs at the top of her voice. Usually her songs are autobiographical and reflect some aspect of her life or often they have a social theme like the anti knife crime song in the video below (filmed by ace photographer Harley Weir on a recent photoshoot we attended for The Face Magazine) which on a recent trip to Scotland Yard Labake sang to the police commissioner Cressida Dick. 
Dining room.
Generally though they're more directly autobiographical, songs about her experiences as both a physically  and learning disabled mother of two or her or her Nigerian heritage, and often these themes also inform her visual art too. Under normal circumstances she can usually be found during gate art sessions constructing large sculptures out of cardboard boxes, or found objects (often toys like the dolls that she painted black and gave braided hair too), but since the isolation period began she has been busy drawing pictures of the home she shares with her family, examples of which can be seen here.


Front room.

In order to access cash and continue working with Gate artists while the gate is closed and they are locked down we have set up a gofundme to purchase materials - please click following link if you would like to contribute -

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

John Isolation art and profile

John's bed
John is one of the newer members of the Gate and has only been coming to the centre for the last couple of years or so. He's a thoughtful, contemplative guy who can often be found in the "chill out" room at The Gate quietly observing the decidedly unchilled chaos around him. The artwork John creates reflects this close observation and often take the form of depictions of objects around him such as the pictures shown here drawn whilst isolating of his bed and his beloved IPad.
John's IPad.

It was John's Ipad which facilitated his Art book Food, a collection of the food photography which we produced with him in 2018. The book is a collection of some of the thousands of images  John has taking over the last few years documenting his eating habits. John literally photographs everything he eats, meticulously and painstakingly arranging every meal or snack and then photographing but only after very careful consideration and often with much rearranging when the shot doesn't suit. The book was produced in an edition of 200 with an introduction by art critic Kari Rittenbach for the ICA's independent book fair which John attended and was a great success; we returned with only a handful of copies and it's probably overdue a reprint.

John's Book at the ICA Small Publishers Fair 2018

In order to access cash and continue working with Gate artists while the gate is closed and they are locked down we have set up a gofundme to purchase materials - please click following link if you would like to contribute -