Lee’s Legacy: Nine Minutes With the Sarabande Foundation

The Sarabande Open Art Exhibition is showcase of works that four artists-in-residence working and collaborating at Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation have created within its Studios from 2016 -17.

The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, works in paper and mixed-media pieces. Sarabande was established to identify and support the UK’s best emerging creative talent through scholarships, studio space and industry mentoring.

After Nyne met the Sarabande Foundation to talk about the exhibition and the wider purpose of this extraordinary organisation.

Tell us about the founding ethos of the Sarabande Foundation.

Sarabande was established to identify and support the UK’s best emerging creative talent through scholarships, studio space and industry mentoring. The Foundation continues Lee Alexander McQueen’s ethos of ‘giving back’ and creates an environment reflecting his open-minded approach to absorbing diverse creative influences and applying them in new and exciting ways.

The employees at the Foundation come from a variety of backgrounds working across both the arts & fashion industries. We also draw on the experience of the many friends of the Foundation who are leaders in their chosen fields.

What have been the Foundation’s highlights so far?

The Foundation has hosted an array of exciting projects including an extensive programme of talks and workshops and events. Highlights of the past year have been our patron events with the photographer Nick Knight OBE, talking about a lifetime of collaboration; Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Andrew Bolton, on the art of curating fashion and the Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons exhibition; and also with Shaun Leane on jewellery, on learning and subverting the craft.

What can you tell us about the Group Exhibition 2017?

The Group Exhibition is a showcase of works from the four artists in residence at Sarabande Studios, all created in the past 12 months. The show features sculpture, paintings, mixed media and works-in-paper by Saelia Aparicio, Thomas Garnon, Freya E Morris and Mircea Teleaga. All very different artists with diverse working practices, but all have found new ways to work and have flourished during their time in our studios. Saelia has taken her brushes directly to our walls to paint new, site specific work, for example, and Freya has also run life drawing classes while at Sarabande, so it’s more than simply providing space. We provide support and opportunities as well and our artists play an active part in the Sarabande community.

How do you select the creatives for your scholarships? What qualities must be present?

The scholarships are chosen by guest judges. Designers and artists have been awarded scholarships by Sarah Burton OBE, Giles Deacon, Katy England, Dinos Chapman, Matthew Stone and Matthew Slotover to name a few. By choosing different judges we ensure that there is additional level of expertise and experience behind each final scholar chosen and we at Sarabande are here to facilitate and support the final selection. Scholarships are awarded based on the creative’s daring approach to their work and their passion in their chosen field. And the scholarships are given on the premise that the scholar would not have had the financial means to attend their course without our help.

Tell us about the exhibition space.

Our show space sits above the 15 studios which form the creative hub and heart of the building. The building is a Grade 2 listed former stables, so it retains its character, however it’s an adaptable warehouse loft space that fulfils a number of uses from hosting talks, to shows for Sarabande’s artists in residence.

What do you feel Lee Alexander McQueen’s legacy to the creative industry was?

Sarabande aims to honour Lee’s legacy by creating opportunities for artists and designers who are creatively fearless. Whether that is through the scholarship programme, the subsidized studios spaces, the events programme or mentorship, Sarabande is here to ensure that those in the creative arts are given the opportunity to succeed.

Can you tell us what the Foundation have planned for 2018?

Sarabande will continue its brilliant series of talks by its high profile patrons and by well-regarded art and fashion industry figures, alongside more practical talks on setting up and growing business. We aim to give young creatives practical advice and help. There will be further exhibitions and one-off artistic happenings.

Sarabande Open Art Exhibition 2017

Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation

9 – 25 August, Mon-Fri 10 – 5pm by appointment

22 Hertford Road, London N1 5SH

IMAGE: Freya E Morris

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