Muralist Ant Carver explores grief in moving new series of oil paintings featuring young Londoners
Mural artist Ant Carver is coming to The Copeland Gallery in Peckham this September with his new exhibition All Alone in a Crowded Room. Featuring 22 powerful oil portraits of young Londoners, this display inspired by street art explores the impact of unspoken loss and grief.
Running from the seventh of September until the eleventh, All Alone in a Crowded Room is Ant's biggest exhibition of oil paintings to date. Best known for his bold, large-scale murals, including the iconic Brick Lane mural of a woman with a skull, Ant's work has recently featured prominently at Upfest in Bristol, where thousands of people flock the see these murals each year.
This iconography is expanded on in All Alone in a Crowded Room. Its paintings feature traditional emblems such as flowers, dice, playing cards, skulls and empty chairs. This mixture of contemporary objects and traditional portraiture gives Ant's work a distinctly modern feel at odds with his medium.
Inspired by the grief he felt after tragically losing his best friend, Oli Hilsdon, to a brain tumour just before his 27th birthday, Ant hopes that the paintings in this upcoming exhibition will encourage other young people to find ways to express their feelings of mourning and loss.
Along with the 22 paintings featured in the exhibition, Ant is also creating a mural in the run-up to its opening day. This mural will be the third in his series and add to the two he created in May for the Upfest street art festival in Bristol. This one will appear in east London and culminate in the exhibition where all 22 oil paintings will be revealed together.
Ant said: "I started producing this body of work 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 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 helped me express my feelings. I hope the work can help others come together and express themselves."
On top of the mural and exhibition itself, Ant is also compiling a book which will combine images of the paintings with written contributions from anonymous individuals. The accounts will document their personal experiences of grief to help further assist people in processing their own emotions. Launched to coincide with the exhibition's opening, the book will also support The Oli Hilsdon Foundation, set up in memory of Ant's late friend.
All Alone In A Crowded Room: Paintings by Ant Carver will run from 7-11th September at the Copeland Gallery, Peckham. Entry is free. Find out more on [Ant's website]www.antcarver.com and on his Instagram.