In conjunction with Freshfields’ move to 100 Bishopsgate Art Acumen devised a multifaceted art programme with the following aims:
A key facet of the art programme is the annual exhibition consisting of over ninety works on paper across Freshfields’ eleven working floors, designed to support active engagement and evoke discussions around themes such as mental health, race, women’s rights, LGBQT+, climate change, digital technology, modern culture and more. The art selected facilitates opportunities for discussion, personal reflections and growth.
Art requires an emotive interaction from the viewer, meaning that engagement happens at a deeper level, opening oneself up to new perspectives through the narratives within artworks. Art thus can act as a vehicle to evoke empathy, to carve out a greater understanding of ourselves, others, and the bigger picture.
“We believe that a stimulating, diverse and inclusive working environment fosters discussion, stimulates thought and creativity, all essential elements of any forward-looking law firm’s toolkit. Our art programme has been devised to nurture creativity, open mindedness and empathy” Freshfields
Each artwork is accompanied by a QR code that take the viewer to an online catalogue on SharePoint, which includes artist statements, interviews, and short films. In addition, we have set up artists’ talks, creative workshops and virtual tours. The engagement programme was created in collaboration with the internal communication team and HR to maximise the opportunities for conversation and contemplation.
See below a detailed look at some of the exhibited artwork
Alia Ali is a Yemeni-Bosnian-American artist based in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Marrakech. With a practice spanning photography, video, and installation, Ali’s research into language, diasporic identities, geopolitical histories, and imperialism translates into compelling expressions of Yemeni futurism.
“I come from two countries that no longer exists: Yugoslavia and South Yemen. My parents are migrant linguists; speaking seven languages between them, they share only English.”
Alia Ali’s photography places emphasis on pattern and textiles, the visual language she creates with vibrant colours and patterns transcends spoken word and encourages the viewer to see the world from a new perspective. As a female artist who exists on the borders of identifying as West Asian/Eastern European/North American and culturally Muslim/spiritually independent, her work explores cultural binaries and challenges culturally sanctioned oppression.
Leslie Nichols uses a variety of found and original text to create images, often using a manual typewriter. The selected works from the Textual Portraits series, portrays intimate images of contemporary women. The portraits are made by layering text to create depth and tone, the chosen texts have relevance to the individual and their lives, adding a richer narrative to their visual representation.
The series encompasses the historical context of American Women’s lives and conveying a sense of social heritage. This interlocking of historic words and the contemporary imagery conveys the context of time and place, the portraits emphasise the weight of the words and allude to the idea that our lives are the creations of our minds and social constriction.
“I believe in the power of creativity. I believe that you must first know the rules before you can break them. I believe that artists that become complacent are at risk of failing themselves as much as the viewer.”
Mark Rebennack’s Exhale series consist of free hand drawings which create an air of tranquillity and encourage the viewer to stop and reflect. Each line is conducted for the length of one exhale and mimics the previous line. The “waves” begin to take shape as minor imperfections or bumps in one line are exaggerated through the following lines. One at a time: no jumping ahead and no going back, but always moving forward. Exhale was evolved during a difficult period for the artist, battling a creative block and insomnia. Through daily running, cycling and meditation he began to heal, leading him to his first attempts to “draw the breath”.
“Africa is not striving to be modern anymore, that has already happened. It is modernity that is striving to be African. I am part of a new generation of autodidact photographers from West Africa with at the core a desire to offer the world a new window to the creativity of the African continent in our own form. The core of my work uses the nuances of our cultures in order to have a profound impact on the viewer’s self-perceptions.”
Alun Be strives to portray African modernity by creating captivating images which distinguish themselves through profound expression in high contrast. He photographs aspects that are often hidden or misrepresented, with a focus on dismantling stereotypes, and evoking empathy.
And in these unprecedented times, a creative culture is more necessary than ever.
How can the side effects of significant workplace changes be overcome? And what benefits can a creative culture bring?
After explaining why a creative culture in a post-pandemic world is so important, we draw on extensive academic and industry research to illustrate the benefits of a creative workplace culture, and introduce our new Cultivate™ art programme. Inspired by the needs of post-pandemic organisations.