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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

North, South, East and West

Exhibition review, Illustrations by Thomas Ronson

Written by Chloe Stead

In case you missed it, healing visit web everyones favourite nostalgic treat – Cadbury’s Dairy Milk – is moving with the times and going Fairtrade. Last week, cost Cadbury’s announced that from the end of Summer 2009, nurse it will receive Fairtrade certification, a move which will triple the amount of Fairtrade cocoa sold in Ghana (where Cadbury sources its cacao beans). Cadbury’s believes that this will also open up new opportunities for farmers to benefit from the Fairtrade system. It is a worthy – and savvy- move for a food item which, at least in my mind, is so rooted in the past. In recent years the general public have moved away from the old-school confectionaries and embraced the more ethically produced chocolates; Green and Blacks, Fairtrade’s own Divine chocolate to name a few. While Dairy Milk always maintained a strong foothold in the market – with 300 million bars sold annually in Britain and Ireland – Cadbury’s clearly see that the current zeitgeist is ethical, ethical, ethical and wants a piece of this pie too.

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Am I a dissenting voice here? Is it bad form to rise a cynical eyebrow over what appears to be a good deed? At the end of the day, whether this is a PR exercise or not becomes irrelevant because there are thousands of farmers who will be better off regardless of Cadbury’s motivations. Still, while the response has been generally warm, some issues have been raised. The publics general idea of a Fairtrade business is a co-operation or small business – which Cadbury certainly is not. And while we would be forgiven for thinking that when an food item is bestowed the coveted Fairtrade status, it must be 100% Fairtrade. Not quite. Especially when it comes to something with as many ingredients as a choccie bar.

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The key components of a humble square of chocolate are cocoa beans, sugar and milk. So the cacao is covered, what about the other ingredients? Wanting to do a bit of journalistic digging, I went onto Cadbury’s blog and was reassured to see that the general public remain an inquisitive and suspicious bunch. There were enough people asking about the origins of the other ingredients to warrant a response from Cadbury’s PR in the form of a written explanation and a live web Q+A. So here’s facts. The sugar is also Fairtrade certified, but the milk is not. The milk comes from British farmers, who Cadbury’s are keen to continue a relationship with. So there is a little bit of a percentage issue arising here. Barbara Crowther from Fairtrade defended this slightly tricky situation, saying

“For ingredients like cocoa and sugar which primarily grow in developing countries, our rules say that anything that can be Fairtrade, should be – 100%. Also, if a product (like chocolate or cakes) has lots of different ingredients, there must be at least one that makes up 20% of the product. Ideally, the total combination should be 50% or more (this isn’t always possible if only one ingredient can be Fairtrade. Otherwise we agree, there’s not enough Fairtrade content there to justify the FAIRTRADE Mark.”

So there you have it; some might say that Cadbury have slipped through the net with this one. The concept of what constitutes a product being Fairtrade was always fixed in my mind; perhaps I need to adapt my pre-conceived notions a touch. Still, once it gets its certification, I look forward to picking up a Dairy Milk for old times sake.
If the thought of leaving zone one gives you a nose bleed, sick it’s time to get out of your comfort zone as I profile my favourite galleries that are just that bit out of the way.

South East.
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Illustrations part of a project by Thomas Ronson

Living in New Cross since the closure of the East London line I know that South East London isn’t the most easily accessible place. The great thing is however, viagra sale once you’ve made the journey there’s so much to see. I’ve heard the term ‘the new Shoreditch’ a few times in relation to New Cross recently and while this isn’t a label I particularly care for, pills there is a definite buzz in the area at the moment.

Art collectives such as The Sunday Painter, LuckyPDF and Friendly Street Gallery all have artist-run spaces in the Camberwell/Deptford area. Off Modern also have a monthly installment of art and music at Corsica Studios. These are all really new projects so they’re worth going to in order to get an exciting first look into still developing gallery spaces. These venues fit in nicely with long running galleries such as APT in Deptford. The next Apt show takes place 19th March – 5th April and is a group show of six artists with works in ceramics, paper and in print.

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Bargain hunters check out Deptford market, which is just by the station, on the way. It’s on pretty much everyday of the week and the stuff ranges from the fantastic, antique furniture for under a tenner, to the downright disgusting, an Amelia’s intern once spotted half a tube of foot cream for sale!

North East.
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Ok so Hoxton is hardly out of the way, but to get to Limoncello you need to head away from the White Cube and the vintage shops and up Hoxton Sreet towards Greggs bakers and Peacocks. Although the space is only small Limoncello has 11 diverse artists that usually have a month long show each a year. The next artist to show is Jack Strange, if ever an artist was named for greatness it was him. The exhibition opens Friday 27th March and will no doubt have the same charm and wit as his previous offerings.

Once you’re done at Limoncello head over to 17 Kingsland Rd to the slightly less imaginatively named SEVENTEEN. As you enter the gallery you’re first faced with the standard white cube, but to get downstairs one has to pass not only the gallery ‘office’, but also the staff kitchen. Something really excites me about the transparency of the gallery allowing you to see all the bits they usually keep hidden. Downstairs they’ve completely dispensed with the usual modernist aesthetic of – ahhh keep out the rest of the real world lest it contaminate the art! It’s dark and dingy and it’s usually where they show the videos, which you can sit and watch on chairs that look like they’ve been picked up from the side of the road. The next show opens on 18th March; the artists Mike Harte and Jamie Shovlin will be occupying the basement of the gallery for seven evenings leading up to the exhibition. Every night they will drink a different branded bottle of Bourbon and, using the Bourbon as their medium, create a single painting of the word joy.

I once went to see a friend’s band in Leytonstone before I moved to London. Such was the fear induced in me from walking those streets in the early hours of the morning, that I made an unofficial pact with myself never to go further North on the Central line than Liverpool Street. Despite being between Liverpool Street and Leytonstone, Mile End is a surprisingly nice setting for Matt’s Gallery. Walking through the park to get there I could completely imagine taking a picnic and refuelling on peanut butter sandwiches before seeing some art. After arriving at the gallery the advantages to being further out of central London are immediately obvious. For an artist-run space it’s huge. Being that bit further out means that rent is much cheaper, because it’s not as high in demand and exhibition space can be much bigger.

Their current show is It has to be this way. by Lindsay Seers, who currently has one of the best pieces in the Altermodern exhibition on at Tate Modern at the moment. Seers uses as material for her art personal narratives that are so insane you’re never really sure whether it’s the truth. “These narratives are punctuated by incredible plot devices – stalkings, burglaries, shipwrecks – that mimic the rupture at the heart of image production, creating a dramatisation of selfhood in all its melancholy and failure.” This body of work centres on the artists stepsister Christine who had an accident that left her with severe memory loss in 2001 before then going missing in 2005.

South West.
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Studio Voltaire boasts that it’s the first and only artist-led gallery and studio complex in South West London. This is a bit annoying because it means there are no other galleries to look at in the area, but they do get big enough artists showing there to make it worth the trip. The next artist to exhibit is the rather newly famous figure of Cathy Wilkes. For a chance to check out the work of a Turner Prize nominated artist in a more intimate setting make your way to Clapham between 11th April and 24th May.

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